I experienced my first baby shower as the guest of honor last weekend, and although normally that sort of situation would force me to break out in hives (the center of attention is not a center I love), the atmosphere was just so loving and charming and perfect. I happen to have two amazing older sisters with equally amazing children, so they’re well versed in this business. Me? I’ve still got my training wheels intact for when I inevitably crash and burn at this whole parenting thing.
But today? Today we’re talking about baby showers. Shiny and happy baby showers. My aforementioned sisters threw me a beautiful backyard patio shower complete with fresh flowers, handmade baskets and a freshly-laundered clothesline of onesies, socks, accessories and the cutest diaper covers I ever did see.
It was perfect for me in every way, and having a circle of friends and family gather around me to welcome this little bundle of joy was just so moving. I loved every second.
But some ladies are far less fortunate…
I kept thinking of the story my girlfriend told me where she received 1,013 swaddle blankets and nothing else. Or her cousin who had to usher out a drunken aunt after she face-planted into the three-tiered diaper cake. Or her cousin who spent her entire shower defending her decision to register for the fancy hands-free breast pump, rather than the affordable manual pump that “worked just fine” for the other mothers in attendance.
And although I can’t very well offer advice to avoid alcohol-induced flounders and guest etiquette tips, I can give a few tips on how to master the art of registry to ensure you don’t wind up opening 58 baby monitors on your big day:
1. More is more. I started off with a really minimalist registry full of the bare essentials before I realized that some guests? Some guests just want to gift you pretty things. So in addition to the necessary items I registered for (diapers, health/safety needs, basic onesies, hangers, car seat and more), I added in a few “just for fun” finds so guests could have a roadmap to the type of baby style I loved. Not surprisingly, the striped dresses, polka dot leg warmers and quirky decorative items were the first purchased and gifted, while the diapers? No takers, ma’am.
2. Get strategic. I was lucky enough to receive four showers from four different areas of my life, and I ended up registering specifically for those groups of people, rather than simply choosing the stores I liked best. Because one of my showers was thrown in a small town with only a Walmart available, I gave the hostess my Walmart registry list (with items from every price range) to make it easiest for the guests’ shopping. For my online shower, I used a universal registry (Amazon has a great one!) so I could include a variety of different sites, and because my online friends are big online shoppers. Having separate registries required a bit of planning, but meant that guests could shop easily and I was more likely to receive the items I truly needed and loved. Win/win!
3. Consider an alternative. If you’re a minimalist and can’t handle the thought of unnecessary baby clutter, consider an alternative shower, like a book shower to build your child’s library, or a restaurant gift certificate shower for pre-and-post baby meals.
4. Finally, brush it off. If the gifts you receive aren’t your style or are far from useful, smile and breathe deeply. Guests love giving gifts that reflect their taste, too, so you might wind up with a few oddities. Rest easy knowing that the important thing is you have their support and love for this new baby. (And rest easier knowing your great-grandmother will never find out that the six-foot tall stuffed dinosaur she gifted your future daughter is now happily insulating your attic.)
Happy baby showering, friends! And if you have tips of your own to share, I’d love to hear (although secretly, I’m dying to hear a few of your baby shower horror stories, as well…)!