Melissa Joan Hart, aka Sabrina the Teenage Witch, was herself enchanted by the baby shower thrown by good friend Amanda K. Ruisi on Sept. 5 in NYC. Ever eager for pro party planning insight, we picked Amanda's brain to discover the hostess' secrets and suggestions for making baby shower magic.
SheKnows: Trying to create the perfect baby shower for a friend can be all consuming — in the end, it can feel like you're the one giving birth! What's a good strategy for making the process less laborious?
Amanda: The best strategy, I think, is to find a great location that has an event planner as well. Make Meaning, which is repped by Alison Brod Public Relations, had the best staff who were able to execute all of our ideas — they really helped pull everything together. It's always great to team up with people on an event. If you are planning the party yourself, though, make sure you keep a list of everything you will need and be sure to cross off each item as you get it so you are not scrambling the day of [the event].
SheKnows: I love the idea of doing activities as opposed to the standard shower games — who wants to taste baby food while blindfolded anyway, right? Any ideas for activities that can easily translate into any theme?
Amanda: Food-related activities are always easy to translate into any theme, i.e., cake decorating, making ice cream sundaes, cupcake decorating, etc. Or simple crafts like painting picture frames or each person making a page for a scrapbook for the mom-to-be can also be geared towards any theme. My personal favorite, though, is painting pottery!
SheKnows: When it comes to the menu, would you recommend going all savory, all sweet, or should you simply consult the hormonal pregnant woman who may devour you if her favorite foods aren't represented?
Amanda: I think the food choices really depend on the time of the shower, but I don't think you can go wrong with always having sweets on hand. I do, however, think it is very important to have the mom-to-be involved with the menu choices, because — after all — it is her shower.
SheKnows: This super sweet shower was made even sweeter by the fact that it helped support a children's charity — something Melissa's L.A. baby shower also did. How important was it for Melissa to use this event as an opportunity to give back?
Amanda: Melissa is very blessed with her career and her family. She has always and will always be very philanthropic, and any chance to incorporate that aspect into any event she has is very important to her.
SheKnows: Melissa opted not to find out the sex of the baby, so the gender is going to be a big surprise! What are some other solid suggestions for neutral baby showers that still offer loads of personality?
Amanda: Really anything that focuses more on an activity offers a lot of fun. I also think another alternative is to focus on the mom-to-be and on her friends with a day of pampering for all the ladies, versus the typical baby shower games that are gender specific.
SheKnows: Now that sounds like our kind of baby shower! Well, everyone — especially Melissa — seemed to have a blast at this one. Any chance you'll be throwing her another shower in a few years?
Amanda: I would be more than happy to! I know she wants a big family.
The sweet "deets"
The Hostess: Amanda K. Ruisi, owner of AKR Public Relations (and good friend of the baby mama)
The Venue: Make Meaning, a creative event venue on the Upper West Side of New York City
The Guests: 20 of Melissa's closest friends, such as Lucy DeVito, actress and daughter of Danny DeVito
The Theme: Carnival... think bright & festive!
The Fun: Cake decorating, crafting, and sparkly faux tattoos
The Sweet Spin: Guests brought piles of diapers in lieu of presents, which were donated to Baby Buggy — a charitable organization that helps kids in need.
Can't get enough of Melissa? Catch the cute mommy on ABC Family's hit Melissa & Joey!
Photo credits: PhotoOp NYC