Perhaps you just found out that no one is throwing a baby shower for a friend. Perhaps things got left to the last minute. Or, perhaps there was an emergency that meant the shower had to be moved up. Whatever your reason for throwing a last minute baby shower is, you really can throw a low stress, fabulous baby shower in a short amount of time. Here's how.
First, you'll need to start thinking about invitations immediately. Generally you want to have invitations in your guests hands at least two weeks before the event. If you have two weeks or less, consider calling the guests to invite them. Let them know that the shower is coming together at the last minute and thus you do not have time to get invitations out, but you would really like them to attend. If you know a few of the guests well enough, ask them to help with the calls. If you have more than 2 weeks, you can get your invitations out. If you are pushing up on the 2 week mark, consider just doing a simple invitation printed on some pretty paper, and mailing that out. It will save time, and still make sure everyone knows about the shower. If you have 3 or more weeks until the shower date, you can safely order invitations and have them in time to send out for the shower. Order pre-printed shower invitations so that all you need to do is address the envelope and send it out. This will save you a lot of time and ensure that you can get them out on time.
Once the guests are invited, you'll need to think about food and tableware. You should order your cake right away, as many good bakers need at least a week, if not a couple of weeks notice. After the cake is ordered, you can begin thinking about what foods and beverages you will serve at the shower, and what you will serve them on. Since you are going to be very busy getting everything ready for the shower, plan foods and beverages that you can either purchase pre-made or that are fairly simple to make. Then, consider what you'd like to serve your guests on. If you have a few weeks, then you'll have time to get themed partyware in if you desire. If you have less time, consider purchasing some nice clear plastic plates from the grocery store. They are much more elegant than paper, yet disposable, so you will not have a ton of dishes left to wash. You can also serve on your own dishes, which can add a very elegant feel.
The rest of the shower planning will be fairly routine. Choose games that do not require a lot of work ahead of time. Prizes can easily be purchased at a local store. Lotion packs, soaps, and other little packs make great prizes and can easily be picked up while you are out at the story anyways.
The biggest key to planning a last minute baby shower is to enlist help. Do not try to do it all yourself. Enlist friends who also know the expectant mom to help get everything done. You may even have more fun planning the shower in a rush than you would have if you'd had more time! And remember, simple is beautiful.