Baby Shower Etiquette (for Moms-to-Be)

Image Source: Thinkstock
Image Source: Thinkstock

While I was doing some research for a post that I’ll be doing next week, I hit upon this one: baby shower etiquette. When should you have it? Where? Who should throw it? Who should attend? What shouldn’t you do?

Apparently there is quite the etiquette to throwing baby showers (or any showers). And while I think some of the rules are a little silly, others are definitely important.

So, let’s start.  What should you do at a baby shower?

1. Allow friends to host.

It’s definitely tacky to throw your own shower. Just don’t do it. Some say it’s tacky for family to throw it, too — although that’s up to you I didn’t have any “mommy friends” yet, so my mom threw mine with some friends’ help.

2. Create a registry with a wide variety of items and prices.

Most people will probably spend in the $10 to $30 range, but ome can’t afford that much, so include some small items too (like washcloths, onesies, etc.). On the other hand, very close friends or famil, may choose to buy big-ticket items or a group of people may choose to go in on one, so include a few bigger things too (but please, not super-high-end designer stuff that costs $2000).

3. Plan the shower for early in your third trimester.

Too early is unnecessary — unless you’re high-risk or avoiding holidays — and too late and you risk having to cancel it last-minute.  Aim for something between 28 and 32 weeks.

4. Send invitations to people at least three weeks in advance, all at once.

That is, don’t have “round one” guests, then send out extra invitations as people decline. Just assume around 20% will decline and send invitations to all the people you want to be there. Make sure the invitations go out in plenty of time so that people can plan for the shower.

5. Include RSVP information and registry information.

RSVP should be fairly prominent so people can know exactly who to call (and that they need to).  Registry information should be on a separate card or in small letters at the bottom. Making a big deal about the gifts is tacky; everyone knows that’s what showers are for!

6. Don’t discuss gifts, unless asked.

If someone asks you what you need or want, you can share this with them —  perhaps they want to know which item off your registry you most need — but don’t tell people, even “subtly” what to buy for you. Most people don’t do this, but I just read too many stories where they did, lol.

7. Plan food.

Showers should have, at a minimum, a cake and a few snacks.  If it’s a longer shower or during a meal time, consider a light meal too. Don’t plan it potluck-style!  (Not for a “real” shower anyway; perhaps that’s okay for a “sprinkle” with a later baby but even then, be careful.) It’s nice, but not required, to ask guests if they have any food allergies or other limitations.

8. Offer games and/or favors.

You don’t have to play games, but they’re nice and favors are also very nice.  These don’t have to be fancy (a few pieces of candy and/or a small candle is just fine); it is the gesture which matters.

9. Thank people for their gifts.

Open them all, and be grateful for them all even if they weren’t on your registry, are duplicates, are not the item you would have chosen, or are downright weird. If you need to, you can always quietly exchange any present later.

10. If you are having a second shower, go small.

If you are having your second (or later) child, and there are not extenuating circumstances (with a new husband, a decade after your last baby, etc.), it is not good to ask for “big-ticket” items.  Think about ‘alternative’ showers, or ask for small presents (towels, clothes, toys, etc.).

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