Baby Shower Etiquette

Believe it or not, today's baby showers are a product of a long history of women's gatherings in celebration of the momentous arrival of a baby girl or boy. Much of baby shower etiquette has its roots in these old cultural traditions, which can be traced back to the late nineteenth century, beginning as a teatime gathering of women at high noon. From baby shower invitations, food ideas, and gift-giving etiquette, here's what you need to know about the somewhat less rigid rules of the modern baby shower.

Hosting a Baby Shower
Modern day etiquette still upholds the strict rule that neither the mother nor the father should be hosting or planning a baby shower. This tradition may stem from the basic principle that a baby shower is aimed at "showering" the mother with gifts, love, and support. In addition, some people believe that hosting your own baby shower, or a baby shower for a family member, gives the impolite appearance of asking for gifts.

Luckily, the modern baby shower is proving to be a bit more lenient and it is not uncommon for a family member, such as a sister, to host a baby shower. The most common hosts of a baby shower are typically a best friend, aunt, sister, coworker, a cousin or entire groups of friends or fellow church/temple friends.

What About Men?
The traditional baby shower started off as a gathering reserved only for women. However, nowadays co-ed baby showers are becoming increasingly popular, allowing the father-to-be, brothers and dads, close male friends, and couples to all share in on the baby celebration. If you are planning a baby shower, you may want to take this into consideration and plan events, food, and baby shower themes according to what you feel everyone will appreciate- both men and women. If a traditional female-only baby shower is your cup-of-tea, that is absolutely acceptable in the modern rule books too.

Baby Shower Invitations
As a baby shower host, you may be wondering what etiquette tells us about the types of guests to invite to a baby shower. Traditional baby showers were only held for the first born, making it a rare occasion that required rigid planning to ensure that all the most important people in the mom-to-be's life were present. However, the modern day baby shower is a bit more fluid. Nonetheless, baby shower invitations are important and the following host etiquette tips can help guide your guest list:

  • Consult the mother-to-be's parents or other family members about important guests that you may not be familiar with
  • Before sending out invitations, make sure there are no scheduling conflicts with the most important guests (such as a sister, parent, or mom)
  • Baby shower invitations should be sent several weeks in advance in order to give guests enough time to purchase gifts and make any necessary arrangements

When it comes to baby shower invitations, a variety of styles and themes ranging from casual to classic are available at varying costs. Ideally, the following information should be provided in a baby shower invitation:

  • Name of mother-to-be and host
  • Date and location
  • Directions
  • Contact phone number
  • RSVP
  • If chosen, the baby shower theme

If the mother-to-be is registered for gifts, you may want to indicate this information in the invitation; however, some might advise that this be disclosed only when a guest calls to respond. You may also choose to follow up with guests by e-mail.

Baby Shower Gifs and Cost It is customary for the host or hosts of a baby shower to pay for the party; this is also considered the baby shower gift given by the host.

Baby shower gifts can range from all different types and prices. Some people might spend a few hundred dollars on a gift, while others may spend five dollars. Traditionally, since baby showers were held for a new mom, practical gifts as well as handmade ones were customarily given to the expectant mother. However, baby shower gifts will largely depend on the type of baby shower that is taking place

  • Practical gifts such as diapers, blankets, and pacifiers may be helpful for expectant mothers having their first baby showers
  • A mother-to-be expecting her second child may allow more spontaneity or luxury in a baby shower gift
  • The baby shower invitation may provide you with gift ideas based on a theme or the mother's registry
  • Ask the expectant mother's sister or the baby shower host for gift ideas
  • It is completely acceptable as well as common for guests to pitch in money and a but a more expensive gift together

Baby Shower Themes, Times, and Locations It is customary to hold a baby shower before the birth of a baby, and this should typically take place about one to two months prior to the expectant mother's due date. This will ensure that new parents have enough time to prepare for the arrival of the baby, and buy any items that were not received at the baby shower, or build ones that were (such as a crib).

Although less common, a welcome baby shower may take place a month or two once the baby is born. This will give guests who could not attend the first baby shower a chance to celebrate the new arrival, as well as create a new gift registry of items that the new mom is still missing. If you are planning a welcome baby shower, make sure that the new parents have had time to adjust to the changes in their lives, and are not too overwhelmed to enjoy the baby shower.

A traditional baby shower will take place in someone's home of either the mother-to-be, a close friend, or family member. However, many modern baby showers take place in country clubs, restaurants, or even overnight spas; it all depends on the preference, cost, and season. Food is traditionally served at a baby shower and can range from light snacks to full course meals depending on the time of day, the length of the baby shower, and the baby shower theme. For more baby shower ideas, follow this link.

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