Proper Baby Shower Etiquette
By Anne Clarke
The rules of baby shower etiquette are continually
changing, but some timeless principles still
apply. If you are considering hosting a baby
shower, following are the basic rules of baby
Who should host the baby shower?
Traditionally, friends or co-workers have
held baby showers, but it is becoming more
and more common for close family members to,
as well. The rule of thumb is, if you want
to throw a shower, go for it! This applies
to everyone except for the parents to be.
Should fathers and men be invited to the
Traditionally, baby showers have been held
for women, but there is no baby shower etiquette
rule that states that men cannot come, too.
Fathers enjoy opening presents, too! Of course,
if you do decide to invite males, try to stay
away from games that are too cutesy that they
may not like. Try to think of foods and activities
that both men and women would enjoy.
Types of Baby Shower Invitations
It is becoming more and more acceptable
to invite guest via telephone or e-mail. Of
course, the preferred method is still a hand-written
invitation sent through the mail. Most people
appreciate this method better, and the invitation
itself can serve as an extra reminder as to
when the special day is.
When should I hold the baby shower?
Baby shower etiquette generally dictates
that the shower should be held 1-2 months
before the baby is due. This gives the parents
enough time to go out and shop for important
items that they did not receive at the shower.
You do not want to hold the shower too close
to the due date, in case the baby comes early.
It is becoming more common to hold a "welcoming"
baby shower 1 to 4 weeks after the birth of
the baby (just make sure that you give the
guests enough notice). You obviously will
not be able to plan the date of the shower
until the baby is born. This type of shower
is great for parents who did not want to know
in advance the sex of their baby
will know whether to bring gifts for a boy
or a girl. It is also good to hold a "welcoming"
baby shower so that family and friends who
are coming into town for the birth of the
baby can attend, as well.
Is it okay to sign up for a baby registry?
Old rules of etiquette would say that it
is a definite no-no to tell your guests what
to bring (besides assigning a certain theme).
But baby gift registries are becoming more
popular. Ask the mother how she feels about
a baby gift registry. If she gives the green
light, go ahead and set one up. You can include
a note in the invitation that says where the
baby is registered, but it is best to communicate
this by word of mouth. Be sure there is a
wide range in the cost of the items. You can
also propose that guests chip in for one,
You can also find lots of ideas and products online for baby shower supplies
Thank you notes
The mother/parents of the baby most definitely
need to send out thank-you notes for all of
the gifts. While the mother is opening the
gifts, ask someone at the party to be a scribe
and write down everything as she opens it.
A host may even choose to print out in advance
a list of the addresses of all of the guests;
then the gift that each person gave can be
written right next to the name, making it
easier for the mother to send a thank-you
note. A benefit to getting out thank-you notes
early (for showers held before the baby is
born), is that the mother will very busy once
the baby is born. For mothers - a thank you
note and even a small gift of thanks should
be given to the host of the shower.
Refreshments for baby showers
Part of good baby shower etiquette is making
sure that the guests have a good time. After
all, they deserve to have a little fun as
payment for the great gift that they are giving.
What you give the guests does not matter so
much as the fact that you should give something.
Be sure to have plenty of food and good drinks
at the shower. You can send each guest home
with an additional party favor as well. You
can also have some lovely gifts as prizes
for baby shower games.
What about showers for a second baby?
It is perfectly acceptable to host a shower
for a second baby. After all, the parents
will need a few new items. However, proper
etiquette states that only family members
and very close friends should be invited to
the shower of a second child, although you
can invite people who did not attend showers
for the first child.
Anne Clarke writes numerous
articles for websites on gardening, parenting,
fashion, and home decor. Her background includes
teaching and gardening. For more of her articles
on gifts and baby showers, please visit Distinct