When booking your spot at the Big City Moms Biggest Baby Shower, you might be curious about the advantages of the highest ticket tier. Spring 2013, my husband and I attended the Biggest Baby Shower in NYC. We were Ultimate Ticket holders. And, for the good of interested parties everywhere (Big City Moms hosts events in NYC, Los Angeles, Miami, and San Francisco) I’m going to spill the beans.
But first, allow me to explain how I’m looking at the Biggest Baby Shower event, which is likely a much different lens than most expectant mommies. From my point of view, Big City Moms is a business. They want to make a profit. And they do. This event churns a giant profit for Big City Moms. Assuming every attendee only purchased the basic ticket at $80, and each vendor paid a modest $500 to have a booth, Big City Moms walks away from this event as the biggest winner. So, my evaluation is based on the question: for all that Big City Moms gets out of the Biggest Baby Shower, do Ultimate Ticket holders receive an equally impressive take away? Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide. In this article, I’ll go over every part of the event. At the end, I’ll give you my tips for attending. This way, if you choose to attend the event, you’ll know exactly what to expect, and with that knowledge, hopefully you’ll have a great experience.
What’s the Biggest Baby Shower like?
Let me just preface this by stating I can only speak for the atmosphere at the NYC event. The Big City Moms NYC Biggest Baby Shower is hosted at The Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea. It’s a big, open venue with plenty of space to move around. But keep in mind that this baby expo is filled to the brim with waddling, pregnant ladies who need to sit down and walk slow. To be honest, the event feels very crowded, especially when specific vendors have raffles throughout the night. Gathering around a vendor’s table to listen for your ticket’s numbers will leave you sweaty and dehydrated. It’s less than ideal. But, really, would you expect an event where everyone is sober and squashed into a room to be enjoyable?
Big City Moms has a very active social media base, and if you interact on Twitter or Facebook with the group, you’ll get the impression that these women are fun, friendly, and helpful. In person, these ladies are anything but personable. The Biggest Baby Shower is more of a trade show for the baby industry than a cozy, exciting night for expectant moms. If you’re not a fan of talking to every vendor in the room, you’ll be less than thrilled with the BINGO card Big City Moms provides. In order to receive your BINGO prize, you’ll have to visit a minimum of 25 vendors. Or so they told me. So, my husband and I went crazy walking around, standing in line, getting signatures from vendors who consistently solicited us for personal information to add to their email marketing lists. At the end of the night, no one checked the BINGO cards. Everyone got the prize.
What kind of products were in the gift bag?
Ah, the gift bag. The infamous Biggest Baby Shower swag bag. Rumored to be stuffed with expensive, retail-sized goodies like Mama Mio lotions, Earth’s Best organics, chocolate treats, and so much more from upscale vendors. There’s no easy way to say this: the majority of gift bag items were totally bogus. Many of the toys were hazardous and not approved for children under 3. Many items were gender-specific (my little one is a boy; most of the items were pink). And everything was sample-sized. As in single use only sample size – not even travel size. The collection of samples were a complete mess of nonsense. Did I really need a free sample of an Always Overnight pad? The bag also contained enough sugary treats to send any pregnant lady into a diabetic coma (yeah, even those without gestational diabetes). I kept three things from the gift bag: Tummy Butter and Boob Tube Mama Mio lotion (in a disappointing, stingy sample size) and baby purees from Ella’s Kitchen (which I ate as snacks during my pregnancy). The rest of the bag was filled with hazardous toys, gender-specific items, and perishable food. My ticket included a Beco Soleil baby carrier (which I kept, and I love) and a free Britax B-Ready Stroller in single or double. I paid $400 for my ticket so I chose to get the double stroller, which I sold because someone else had already purchased a stroller for me the week before.
Are the raffle prizes fantastic?
Yes. If you’re lucky enough to win one of the vendor’s raffles, you will not be disappointed. I won the Bloom Coco Lounger from Sprout San Francisco. It’s stylish and a welcome addition in any modern home. My son loved the lounger, and we put him in it almost daily for the first two months of his life. In fact, if I knew how great the lounger was, I would have put it on my registry. I should mention that you can buy the Bloom Coco Lounger from many vendors, so if you’d like to see it in person, you can visit your local baby boutique. That wasn’t the only great raffle prize. Vendors with strollers and breast pumps also raffled off large, big ticket items, and plenty of mommies-to-be walked away ecstatic.
What about the seminars?
With hardly enough seating for everyone interested, many pregnant ladies were left standing through an hour long sales pitch disguised as an “information session”. A particular seminar on baby’s first foods was filled with completely inaccurate information that went against all scientific research. No, you should not be adding cinnamon to your baby’s first sweet potato puree. Medical professionals do not advise adding herbs or spices to infant diets until at least eight months of age. Furthermore, when you’re introducing solids, you need to do so one ingredient at a time. Mixing up a flavorful combination of butternut squash and rosemary-garlic sweet potatoes may sound appetizing to you, but it can mean a trip to the emergency room if your baby has not been introduced to these ingredients individually.
How was the food?
There were “complimentary” snacks and drinks available throughout the entire event. However, all you’re provided is sponsored samples of beverages and foods. Yes, even the caterers were advertising their services. Because after you have a baby, you’re going to host a sip & see for 300 people, right?
Bottom line: was the Biggest Baby Shower worth the price of admission?
Honestly, it’s up to you to decide. Although writing this made me realize I did walk away with a bunch of big ticket items, if you want the true, from my gut response to the question? I would say attending the Big City Moms Biggest Baby Shower is not worth the price of an ultimate ticket – unless you don’t expect to receive big ticket items from your own baby shower. If the baby carrier and the stroller are items you know you’re going to need, the quality of the items is fantastic. If you have expendable income, and you want to see the latest and greatest baby gear, the Biggest Baby Shower is a great event. If you want to have a nice night out with your husband, it’s can be a lot of fun. However, my advice? If you have a stroller or expect to receive one as a gift, the Ultimate Ticket is not worth the price of admission.
If I had to do it all over again, I would opt for the Couple Super Pass, which is the best value. You get a baby carrier worth upwards of $125, the swag bag, and possibly some other bonus gifts. The standard pass only guarantees you a gift bag and BINGO gift. Some lucky BINGO winners were given great prizes, like a high chair or diaper genie. I received an ugly insulated bag and a recipe book. I know the gift is supposed to be “random”, but I was wearing a bracelet that indicated my ticket status, and I did feel jilted by a BINGO gift that was worth less than $35 when others were walking away with $300 high chairs.
My husband was smart enough to create a new email for us before going to the event. We used it at all the vendor tables. It’s been months, but the vendors still send multiple emails a day. Also, a majority of vendors required a phone number so you could be notified of raffle winnings. Or so they told you. What actually happened was cord blood banking and college savings plan salesmen called my husband nonstop for the next three months. It was obnoxious. Another thing that irked me was the Big City Moms staff. I don’t know if they’re paid or volunteer, but they were not particularly nice or friendly. And, since I was pregnant, I felt particular sensitive to their brash, dismissive tone. I understand the ladies were busy, and it was a madhouse in there, but asking for directions to the nearest ladies room shouldn’t warrant a snippy “just follow the signs” response.
If you have a close relationship with your husband and you don’t feel like breaking your back, I recommend you bring him along to the event. He wasn’t the only man attending, but there were definitely more expectant mothers than fathers. Which is pretty unfortunate, because the men who did attend would have loved to be included and appreciated in some way, too. However, most men we spoke with were really happy to be at the event and definitely enjoyed learning about all sorts of baby items. My husband said the event put the whole baby thing in perspective for him (like how much stuff a baby really needs).
Overall, the Big City Moms Biggest Baby Shower swag bag contained nothing I couldn’t live without. With all the hype surrounding this event, I really expected to be blown away by the gift bag I received and the experience of the event itself. Instead, I was underwhelmed – but that doesn’t mean that you’ll feel the same way. A lot of ladies really enjoy the Biggest Baby Shower and feel that it was worth their money; honestly, I think it’s because most ladies purchase a lower tier ticket. If I had spent $200 instead of $400 to attend, I feel that I would have found the event much more impressive.
If you do attend a Biggest Baby Shower event, here’s what I would recommend:
- Do not purchase the Ultimate Ticket. It’s really a ripoff, and you don’t get anything extra compared to the Couple Super Pass (unless you really want the stroller. But, keep in mind the stroller is not a travel system, and you will still need a carseat).
- Make a separate email account for the event. If you don’t, your email will be spammed for all eternity with useless solicitations and parenting newsletters.
- Fill out the vendor cards legibly. In the event your card is selected as a raffle winner, you’ll want the vendor to be able to contact you. To make the most of this event, fill out every vendor card.
- Bring help. Chances are if you’re attending this event, you’re pregnant. If your husband/significant other is free, bring him. If not, bring a friend. Although there were not a lot of man-friendly things to do, my husband really did enjoy coming to the event, helping me fill out cards, and learning about all sorts of baby toys and gadgets. For my husband, the Biggest Baby Shower really got him excited about getting things for the baby (he was already overjoyed, but the event definitely amplified his interest). But, like I said, if your partner isn’t free, definitely bring a friend. It’s nice to have company, and I didn’t see anyone without a companion of some sort.
- Eat beforehand. There are refreshments at the event, but there were few healthy options. Also, at 6 months pregnant, I was not content with a sample bowl of mac and cheese and a bite-sized burger. I would have enjoyed the event a lot more if I had the sense to eat a nice salad beforehand.
Bonuses Big City Moms and the vendors don’t want you to know about:
- Joovy. I don’t know if this is always a thing, but I know it was kept quite hush-hush: if you stop by the Joovy table, they give you an exclusive code to buy things from Joovy online, and you get 40% off your entire purchase. My husband was the one who found out about this and got the coupon code. Also, Joovy was giving away its 5-ounce Boob Bottle.
- Babies “R” Us. The ladies at the Babies “R” Us table gave me a stack of $5 off coupons. Buy Buy Baby accepts competitor’s coupons, so I’ve been able to use these at both stores.
- Graco. Graco had a giveaway wheel. I ended up walking away with a free onesie, but everyone gets a gift, and some lucky ladies walked away with carseats, strollers, and high chairs.
- Britax. Everyone wants a Britax or BOB stroller, and the company was generously raffling off several items throughout the evening. There was a chance to win a few carseats, travel systems, and accessories. You have to enter the raffle at their table; simply purchasing your ticket to the event does not enter you in the extra raffles.