A baby shower celebrates the impending arrival of a new life. It’s an opportunity for friends and family of the expectant mom (and dad!) to come together to “shower” them with gifts, words of wisdom and to share in the excitement of soon-to-arrive baby.
Baby shower etiquette rules are no longer rigid regarding who must host, attend and when the shower must be held. Modern society allows shower styles to fit best the personality and needs of any expectant parents.
Types of baby showers
- Traditional: women only
- Co-ed: women and men
- Post-birth: shower held after the baby is born with baby and both parents in attendance
Baby showers are held about four to six weeks before the baby is born, unless the expectant mom has requested she’d prefer to wait until after the baby’s birth. A post-birth shower may be appropriate and preferred if the mom is experiencing a difficult pregnancy, is on bed rest or has other medical/personal conditions. Planning a surprise baby shower may not be the best choice — an expecting mom has days when she doesn’t feel at her best.
In days past, baby shower etiquette has dictated the expectant mom’s siblings or mother not host the baby shower as this could seem as if the family was soliciting gifts. Today, baby shower rules are flexible. Anyone can host the baby shower and a first-time expectant mother can be the honoree at multiple showers. Showers can be hosted by family, co-workers and neighbors but typically are not hosted by the expectant mom.
During the shower, the host should assist the mom-to-be by keeping a list of gifts received from each guest to make it easier for thank-you cards later.
Guest list: who decides?
It’s considerate to coordinate with the mom-to-be regarding the guest list. However, because the host is responsible for the baby shower expenses, it’s okay for her to suggest the guest list number based upon budget and party location space. The guest list should include the parents of the expecting couple, siblings and other close family members and friends.
If hosting a baby shower for a co-worker, include her closest office friends and even the boss if she has a good relationship with her or him (if planning a co-ed baby shower.)
Baby showers often are intimate gatherings, held in your home or a room at a local restaurant. Whatever the location, be sure it can accommodate everyone comfortably. Twenty-five guests crammed into your apartment’s living room will not be comfortable. The host must provide enough seating for each guest as well as room for the food and gifts received.
Does the shower need a theme?
Choosing a theme for any party makes selecting invitations, decorations and other party elements easier than just randomly choosing this and that. If the expecting parents know and are willing divulge the sex of the baby, center the theme on girl or boy decor. Non-gender specific themes include teddy bears, pastels, balloons and rubber duckies. Consider centralizing the theme based on how the nursery is decorated.
You don’t have to serve a full sit-down meal at a baby shower unless it’s part of the theme — an outdoor barbeque co-ed baby shower. However, many hosts choose to serve a light luncheon if the shower is scheduled during the late morning or early afternoon. Light sandwiches (avoid gooey, sauce-dripping monsters), salads (pasta, veggie, couscous) and a variety of vegetarian options offer tasty and healthy options. When serving a meal, include a note on the invitations asking guests to alert the host of any food allergies.
Games and party favors
Baby shower games should never embarrass any of the guests or the expectant mom. Games and party favors should be appropriate for all ages and genders of guests. Keep games to a minimum of two or three and none should be overly difficult. Keep the shower atmosphere light and cheerful, and everyone will have a great time.