Moroccan party theme - thumbnail image

My sister-in-law, Rachel, just had her first baby – a girl! I'm so excited to finally be an aunt. But before the blessed day, I threw her a baby shower like no other. I'd love to tell you about it.

Rachel was having two other showers so I wanted the one I gave with a couple of her friends to be really different. Rachel is petite and her pregnancy found her all stomach. I mean her belly was out to here. People even asked her if she was having twins. Toward the end of her nine months she became very conscientious about her stomach, so since that's all she was thinking about, we decided to focus on “the belly” for her shower. I suggested a Moroccan restaurant for the location and thought a belly dancing lesson for the guests would be fun and hopefully make Rachel laugh while she watched.

The invitations we mailed out were on thick cranberry colored cardstock with the party details on vellum paper attached with large round pink gemstones in each corner of the paper. The invitation was simply written because we didn't want to give away any of the fun details.

The restaurant met our every request and we were given a private area in the back of the establishment for the party. There was little decorating that needed to be done. Low tables and couches with pillows were tastefully arranged, but we did bring a few extra pillows for Rachel to lean back on. Going along with the décor of the restaurant, we brought small vases we embellished with jewels and filled with short-stemmed red and pink roses for the tables. There was no need for place cards since everyone would be comfortably close on the couches. We did include several disposable cameras so that guests could take pictures of themselves and the belly dancing.

Once everyone had arrived, we sat down to a wonderful Moroccan feast. The best part is eating with your hands and feeling like you can really enjoy your meal. Rachel was thrilled she didn't have to lean over a plate to cut her food and sat back, bringing everything to her mouth (over that wonderfully big stomach of course). Once everyone had finished eating the five course meal and felt full, it was time for our first game.

We asked Rachel to stand up so everyone could get a good look at her. Then we passed around a ball of string and a pair of scissors and asked each friend to cut the string to the length they thought would fit around Rachel's middle. Think of it like a belt, I said. When all had cut, we had Rachel stand again and we took one string at a time and put it around her stomach. Some didn't make it around and some had plenty to spare. The string that came the closest to fitting, string ends touching, won. It was a really fun game that had everyone laughing, cheering, and jeering.

Now it was time for our belly dancing lesson. Everyone was so surprised when a beautiful belly dancer came out and asked us all to stand and spread out for instruction on belly dancing. Rachel applauded while we all tried moving in ways that aren't very easy. And she took plenty of pictures with the disposable cameras. After about 20 minutes, another woman brought out a basket of castanets and we all grabbed a pair, one for each hand. She then helped us with our arm movements, trying to get us to coordinate our hips with our arms while making sounds with the instruments. It was quite a sight. So much so, that people from other parts of the restaurant came to check us out. Although embarrassing, it was so much fun and all of us enjoyed it. Rachel loved the show.

We sat down, rested and drank, and then played another game. I handed out one piece of Bubble Yum bubble gum to each person. I asked everyone to unwrap their gum and set it on the table. With a time limit of 3 minutes, I told everyone to sculpt a baby out of the gum (see, those days of Play-dough weren't for nothing). The person who created the best baby would win. Rachel got to play this game too and did pretty well. However, when time was up, there was a clear-cut winner.

Rachel opened gifts next and then we had dessert. I found a bakery that makes specialty cakes and my request was an easy one for them. The waiter brought the cake out on a large tray. It was shaped like a “belly” – a huge dome, at least 12 inches high, and rounded just like a pregnant stomach. There was even a belly button on top. Around the sides well wishes were written. It looked fantastic and tasted incredible!

As everyone said goodbye, we sent them home with their own castanets to remember the occasion. Rachel couldn't thank us enough for such a special baby shower and we couldn't resist rubbing her belly one more time.