A boom in baby showers at a Shropshire hotel has seen more people than ever celebrating their impending arrival.
The trend, which originated from the US, has proved extremely popular in the UK and The Best Western Valley Hotel in Ironbridge has seen a huge increase in bookings recently.
For some, it is an opportunity to host a small gathering of their closest friends for an intimate afternoon tea while others go all-out with a large guest list, games, party favours and music.
The team at The Valley is also seeing an increase in gender reveal parties, where guests might be asked to guess whether they think the baby is a girl or a boy before a cake with either pink or blue sponge is cut into, or a balloon with coloured confetti inside is popped to confirm either way.
Some parents even opt to find out the gender themselves at the party, passing the results of a gender scan in a sealed envelope to a trusted friend or family member who then prepares the cake or confetti so all can be revealed.
Paige Wellings-Kendall, food and beverage supervisor at The Valley, said: “There are of course many reasons why baby showers and gender reveal parties are increasing in popularity.
“They are no longer seen as an American thing and we’re seeing more people than ever choosing to get together before the birth to celebrate the pregnancy – whether they know the sex of the baby or not, whether it’s their first child or their fifth and whether they want a big formal party or an intimate relaxed afternoon.
“The great thing about baby showers is they can be as big or small as the mother-to-be wants.
“We’ve hosted many here which have been in the form of an afternoon tea for a few friends, while others have been on a similar scale to some of the weddings we organise.
“Now that it’s becoming more normal for men to be invited to showers too rather than it being an all-female event, it can be seen as a great way to get both parents’ families and friends together before the birth – and a good time to introduce extended families to each other if they haven’t met before.
“For some, the baby shower has become an alternative celebration if they are choosing not to get their child christened.”
For more information about booking a baby shower at The Valley, visit http://www.thevalleyhotel.co.uk/social-functions/christenings, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01952 432247.