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Baby Shower Etiquette: Giving the Shower

If you’re considering throwing a baby shower or are pregnant and hoping for one, what is etiquette? Who is supposed to host it? Let’s see what the experts have to say.

Baby Shower Hosts

Does it even matter who hosts the baby shower? “These days, anyone affiliated with the mom-to-be can give the shower,” says Oliver Mims, an etiquette and manners expert. “Traditionally, close female friends and family (sister, best friends) host.”

Nowadays, it is increasingly common to have more than one person give the shower. “It is a great way to share the burden of cost and delegate tasks,” Mims says. He does suggest that if you decide to throw the shower with others, be sure to discuss a budget and responsibilities before you begin planning so that everyone is on the same page.

Emily Miles Terry, coauthor of Nesting: It’s a Chick Thing and columnist for Disney’s Family.com, says there are no real rules on who should host the baby shower, “though typically family and/or your closest friends get the ball rolling,” she says.

Who Should Not Host

Colleen A. Rickenbacher, a business etiquette expert and author of Be on Your Best Business Behavior, does not agree. “Mothers and sisters should not give the shower because it gives the impression that they are asking for gifts for their daughter or sister,” she says. “They can always help with the shower but should not initiate or send out the invitations.”

And if someone whom you’ve had issues with in the past offers, or someone who can get your blood boiling on a good day, think hard about letting them host the event. “I would recommend against girlfriend-you-had-falling-out-with-and-recently-made-up-with (now is not the time for her to prove her friendship to you),” Mims says. “In-laws of any type are touch and go. If you are legitimately close to your sister-in-law then by all means have her throw you a shower, but remember, baby showers are not the time to allow her to finally get even for something that may have happened at your wedding. Bottom line: The shower should not be thrown by anyone that might trigger mom-to-be’s hormones, bring up old grievances, or create new ones. It is her day and she should be happy.”

Mims adds one more person to this list: the mom-to-be. “The shower should be thrown for her, not by her,” Mims says.

Too Many Offers

Another issue that many moms-to-be face is when more than one person wants to give a shower. “If your best friend and family are already teaming up to throw you a splashy shower and another friend or family member who lives nearby (and would be inviting the same pool of people) asks to throw you another shower, it’s a good idea to team that person up with the other group rather than throw another shower,” Terry says.

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