When I was pregnant with my first child, my husband and I decided to go for the big surprise and not find out her gender until she announced it herself to the world. But when I was pregnant with my second child, we decided to find out the gender to better help big sister prepare. The three of us went to the ultrasound, found out the gender and then called friends and family to let them know. How boring! If I had known then about all of these fun new ways that couples are announcing their new baby's gender, I definitely would have been on board!

Gender reveal parties are the latest trend in the baby world, embraced by couples as the fun new way to announce the exciting news. And the best part is that it's not the couples doing the announcing. More often than not, they are just as surprised as their guests to learn the news!

The traditional color choice for a gender reveal party is pink or blue, but feel free to go with whatever two colors you choose to represent your baby's gender. Ask guests to cast their ballot by wearing one color or another or hand out pins, beads, leis, temporary tattoos, or hats to let them show off their choice. Then it's time to reveal the surprise...

Here's how to pull off a fun gender reveal party that's sure to have a surprise in store for everyone.

A sweet surprise. Gender reveal cakes, cupcakes, and cake pops are a popular choice for gender reveal parties. Ask your ultrasound tech or OBGYN to write down the baby's gender and place it in a sealed envelope. Then take this envelope to your favorite baker. Ask him to bake a cake that's gender neutral on the outside with a creme filling that matches the color you chose to represent your baby's gender.

Floating on air. Take your gender-info envelope to your local party store and ask the clerk to fill up a dozen balloons of the appropriate color and box them up. This is a great idea for parents with other children. They will be more than delighted to open the box at the party and reveal the surprise!

The clothes make the man? Another cute idea is to head to the baby store and pick out two outfits - one for a girl and one for a boy. I know it sounds like gender stereotyping, but it doesn't have to be a pink frilly dress and a manly three-piece suit. The outfits could simply include t-shirts in the colors you have chosen to represent each gender. Take the outfits to the cashier and hand her the envelope. Ask her to box up and wrap (in gender neutral colors) the appropriate outfit.

Have you ever been to a gender reveal party? How did the couple share the news?

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