By all means, shower the mama-to-be with gifts and love… just remember your manners. Confused by the tricky etiquette of baby showers? We’re here to help with these tips brought to you by Evite in partnership with Huggies.
Q: Who hosts a baby shower?
A: As a rule, a close friend, cousin, aunt, sister-in-law, or co-worker of the mom-to-be should host. Traditionally, the expectant mom’s sister, mother, or grandmother should not, since it might look as if they’re trolling for gifts for their loved one. However, today it is considered acceptable under extenuating circumstances — for example, if the mom-to-be lives across the country from a close family member who wishes to host a shower for family friends.
Q: When should a baby shower be held?
A: Baby showers are usually planned for four to six weeks before the due date. However, it’s also fine to throw a shower a few weeks after the baby’s birth. Baby showers for adoptive moms should always be thrown after the child’s arrival.
Q: Should you send shower invitations to people you know can’t make it, such as people who live far away?
A: People who don’t attend the shower aren’t obligated to send a gift, so it’s not selfish, but rather polite, to extend the invitation.
Q: Does the dad-to-be attend the baby shower?
A: Trends have changed significantly in recent years. Some people feel that a couple’s party is more appropriate in our equal-opportunity world. However, if the mom-to-be prefers to have a ladies-only party, that’s fine too. Or you may consider having the father-to-be show up right before the expectant mom opens the gifts.
Q: What kinds of activities should be planned for a baby shower?
A: There are many games, both traditional and trendy, that can make their way onto the shower itinerary. When planning your event, keep your audience in mind. Is a particular activity too juvenile? Too slow-paced? Ask the bride what kind of shower she’d like, and look to the showers of other guests in the social circle to see what went over well with the crowd. You can never go wrong keeping it short and simple: If it’s a bust, it’ll be over quickly; if it’s a win, you’ll be following the old entertainment adage by keeping them wanting more.
Q: Is the mother-to-be supposed to register for her baby shower?
A: It is perfectly acceptable to register for a baby shower, and very few moms opt not to do so. If you do create a registry, be sure to do so before the shower invitations go out.
Because they are not the ones for whom the gifts are intended, hosts can rest assured that including registry info with the shower invitations (but not on them) is perfectly within the boundaries of etiquette.
When setting up a registry, expectant moms should keep in mind that gift options should cover a wide range of price points so that all guests can find an option within their spending limits.
Q: Is it okay to ask guests to help pay for a baby shower?
A: No. If cost is a factor, the host can enlist other co-hosts, who can be asked without embarrassment to help with the payments. Just be sure that you’re asking close friends so that it doesn’t look like you’re just using them to offset your costs.
Q: Is it okay to have a shower for a second (or third or fourth) baby?
A: Yes, but keep the guest list to very close family and friends.
Q: If you’re invited to a baby shower and can’t attend, are you still obligated to purchase a gift?
A: If you do not attend the shower, no gift is required. However, it’s always a lovely and appreciated gesture, particularly for a baby shower where giving gifts is the main event.
Q: If you’re throwing a baby shower, are you still obligated to get the guest of honor a gift?
A: Just like any other guest, you should get the expectant mom a little something to help start her off as a new parent. It doesn’t have to be big (you’re footing the bill for the shower, after all), but even a small gift will show the mom-to-be just how much her friendship means to you.
Q: How should a shower be handled for same-sex couples?
A: The rules for same-sex couples are the same for those of couples of the opposite sex.
Next: Don’t miss all our baby shower ideas!