Boy or Girl? Host a Party to Reveal Your Baby’s Gender

Photo courtesy of Lindsey Laughlin Photography
Brittany and Billy Ray Rutledge of Raleigh asked Party City to fill a box with either blue or pink balloons, depending on what their baby's gender was.

Once upon a time, friends and family would gather at the hospital awaiting a baby’s arrival. Finally, the proud father would come out to the waiting room and announce the birth of his son or daughter. Everyone would celebrate the news together, at the same time.

These days, loved ones can celebrate together, and at the same time, earlier than ever before. Advances in medical technology, greater geographical distances between family members and society’s increasing use of social media have changed the way expectant parents share the news of their child’s gender. So how, exactly, are modern parents blending technology with tradition? The gender reveal party.

The first gender reveal video was posted to YouTube in 2008. Since then, gender reveal parties have grown in popularity. Here’s how to host one for your friends and family.

1. Schedule an appointment to find out your baby’s gender. Ultrasounds usually occur between weeks 16 and 20. Another gender-revealing option to discuss with your doctor is a cell-free fetal DNA test, which requires a sample of the mother’s blood. Here’s how it works: During pregnancy, small fragments of the fetus’ DNA shed from the placenta into the mother’s circulation. Around week seven of a pregnancy, cell-free fetal DNA tests may be able to detect Y chromosomes in the blood, which means the fetus is male. If no Y chromosomes are present, the fetus is female. (Keep in mind that neither an ultrasound nor a cell-free DNA test is 100 percent accurate.) Request that the doctor or nurse write down the gender and seal it in an envelope, to be seen only by someone you trust (see step 2).

2. Choose someone trustworthy to keep your secret. He or she will keep the gender information hidden from everyone, including the expectant parents, and arrange the appropriate pink or blue reveal moment details.

3. Choose a theme. If you type “gender reveal” in the YouTube or Pinterest search bar, you’ll be inundated with videos and websites offering tips and ideas for how to make your gender reveal moment personal and memorable. You might choose a theme that reflects hobbies of one or both parents, for example. Here are a few themes to consider:

• “Twinkle, twinkle little star, how we wonder what you are.”
• Prince or princess?
• Team pink or team blue?
• Lashes or mustaches?
• Touchdowns or tutus?
• Rifles or ruffles?
• Buck or doe?
• Boots or bows?

4. Choose how to reveal your baby’s gender. The moment of reveal is really the reason everyone is attending. A common choice is to serve a cake or cupcakes filled with pink or blue icing to signify the gender. Some people choose a method that reflects the parents’ interests. If Dad likes to hunt, for example, you might set up a neutral-colored balloon filled with pink or blue powder balloon on a target and let him shoot at it to reveal a cloud of colored powder. 

Other reveal ideas include:

• Confetti falling from a box
• Helium balloons floating out of a box when opened
• Smoke bombs
• Confetti cannons

Assign someone in advance to capture this moment in photos and video. You might even consider hiring a professional photographer.

5. Invite guests. Try to come up with a date that works for everyone, which can be difficult. Consider tying the party into a holiday celebration or other big event, such as the Super Bowl. Choose from a variety of themed electronic invitation programs available online, such as Evite or Punchbowl.

6. Plan your menu. Host a “Baby-Q” and grill small sliders or baby back ribs, then incorporate other themed foods like baby vegetables. Anything that comes in pink and blue is appropriate —  cotton candy, M&Ms, pink lemonade, berry blue punch, dipped pretzels, strawberries and cookies are a few examples. Another option is to create “craving” stations with the items Mom has been craving during her pregnancy.

7. Host party games. Games can range from simple ideas such as asking guests to wear pink or blue to match their prediction of the baby’s gender, to creating a due date pool for people to guess when baby will arrive. Make a list of gender-prediction myths guests can use to determine the gender. You can also request that guests mail or email their own baby pictures ahead of time so everyone can try to guess who is who.

Other game ideas include:

• Guess the baby food by how it smells
• Guess how many pacifier candies are in a baby bottle
• Diaper-changing challenge

8. Offer party favors. Thank guests for coming by offering party favors. Ideas include:

• Hershey Bars with “HE” and “SHE” colored in pink and blue
• Pink and blue cotton candy ice cream cones
• Pink and blue Hershey’s Kisses or M&Ms
• “Ready to Pop” popcorn
• Baby Making Potion (small single-shot bottles of liquor covered with a custom label)

Host a Private Reveal

If a big party isn’t your thing, consider a private reveal, where just the two of you discover your baby’s gender together at a specially chosen moment.

Brittany and Billy Ray Rutledge of Raleigh created a private reveal, since their families live out of state. They asked their ultrasound technician to put the gender in a sealed envelope and gave the envelope to the staff at Party City so they could fill a box with pink or blue balloons. Billy Ray had painted the box in a festive gold. A photographer was there to capture the moment when the couple opened the box. They used those images, set against the Raleigh skyline, as the backdrop for their pregnancy announcement. Photos showing blue balloons bursting out of the box announced the future arrival of their son, Archer Gabriel.

The key to a successful gender reveal is simple: Make it personal. Whether you choose a large party or more intimate setting, remember that it’s all about celebrating that new, little life joining your family, and embracing the technology that allows you to find out the gender earlier than ever before.

Maureen Churchill lives in Durham with her husband and son. Learn more about her at


Categories: Baby, New Parent, Parenting, Pregnancy