Baby shower planning and etiquette

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pregnant woman smiling at party with others in the background

Baby shower planning and etiquette

Who should host the baby shower?

It used to be considered bad manners for a family member to throw a shower because it might seem like you’re asking for gifts. But these days, just about anything goes. Any relative, close friend, or close co-worker should feel perfectly okay about planning a baby shower.

When should the baby shower be held?

There’s no hard and fast rule, but many baby showers happen one or two months before the baby’s due date. Throwing the shower sooner is fine, too; maybe there are scheduling constraints or concerns about the baby arriving early, for example. If it’s best for cultural or logistical reasons to throw a shower after the baby’s here, no problem. The point is to celebrate the addition of the baby to the family and to shower the parents-to-be with love and support – and some of the stuff they’ll need.

When scheduling the party, first talk to the parents-to-be and settle on a date and time that will work for them. You may also need to work around the schedule of any VIP guests, like the baby’s grandparents.

Once the shower date is set, the guest or guests of honor should create a baby registry (if they’re planning to use one) at least a couple of months before the party. Figuring out what to register for can take a while. And it’s a good idea to give guests several weeks to shop for a gift.

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One benefit of creating a baby registry at Amazon: The parents-to-be can register for items not only from Amazon but from anywhere online. Easy for them, easy for guests. (Registering through this link earns BabyCenter an Amazon commission. Thanks for supporting us!)

Who should be invited to the baby shower?

If you’re hosting the shower for a close friend, you may have some ideas about the guest list already. It’s best to consult with the guest (or guests) of honor before finalizing your list, though. That way, you won’t accidentally leave out someone important – or invite someone they would rather not include.

If the parents-to-be have close friends and family who live far away and can’t make it to the shower, consider setting up a time during the event when they can be included through FaceTime or Skype. Make sure they get an invitation with all the details!

What about hosting a shower for the expectant mom and dad?

Although many baby showers still follow the “women only” tradition, baby showers for both women and men are also popular. Some dads even have their own baby shower. It all depends on what sort of gathering the expectant mom or parents prefer.

Is it okay to throw a baby shower for a second child?

Showers for a second or subsequent baby have become more common and are considered appropriate. Parents whose children have a large age gap may be especially appreciative. There’s always reason to celebrate a new baby, whether it’s a large or small affair.

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For parents who prefer a smaller event the next time around, consider throwing a “baby sprinkle,” which is a scaled-down version of a full shower. For example, the gathering could be an afternoon picnic or a simple pancake breakfast, with or without games. There may be only a small registry or no registry at all.

Is a surprise baby shower a good idea?

Think long and hard before choosing to throw a surprise party. If your guest of honor doesn’t like surprises or was really hoping for a specific type of event, you could put her in an awkward position. On the other hand, if you let the future parents in on the arrangements, you can be confident that they’ll be pleased with the outcome.

What kind of invitations should I send?

You can send invitations by mail or email, or by scheduling an event on social media.

In addition to all the basic information (who, what, where, when, and RSVP instructions), it never hurts to let people know the theme of the shower if there is one. If the expectant parents are registered anywhere for baby gear, it’s fine to mention that too. (Or you can give guests the registry information when they RSVP.)

When should I send the invitations?

Send invitations early enough to give the guests four to six weeks’ notice: That way everyone has enough time to put the shower on their calendar and shop for the perfect gift.

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What should we do at the baby shower?

Keep your guest of honor’s preferences in mind when it comes to activities. Some moms- and dads-to-be dislike shower games and would rather spend time socializing with guests. Asking about these kinds of things before you start planning ensures that the shower will be fun for everyone.

There are many things to consider:

  • You may want to select a theme to tie everything together. It’s certainly not necessary, but it can help you make decisions about elements of the party, and it’s often fun for guests.
  • Plan to serve some type of food and refreshment, depending on the time of day, your budget, and how fancy (or informal) the shower will be.
  • Some people like to play fun or silly baby shower games, but there are plenty of other festive activities to keep guests entertained.
  • It’s customary to give favors to everyone who attends the baby shower. Or you can offer prizes to the guests who win games instead.

Aside from socializing and honoring the parents-to-be, the main event at a baby shower is often opening the gifts. If there’s no registry and guests need help figuring out what to bring, have them check our list of top baby shower gifts and our roundup of readers’ favorite baby shower gifts.

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65 shares, 46 points