Monday, February 10, 2014

Baby shower etiquette

This spring, I'm hosting a baby shower for one of my good friends. I've thrown myself into planning because a) I'm trying not to get behind and b) I love a good party.

When I was pregnant, baby showers were always a hot topic on the birth boards. It seems everyone has an opinion on who deserves one, where it should be, who should pay for it and on and on. So I've put together a few etiquette tips. Agree or disagree, this is what I feel is appropriate.

Who gets a shower?
This always seems to be a hot issue. Some say you should only get a shower for your first baby. Others say you should get one if the gender is different the second time or if it's been a significant amount of time between babies. Let me save you the trouble of choosing a camp and tell you the right answer. It's not really about who "deserves" a shower because every baby should be celebrated. It's more about who is willing to host a shower. Your babies are only 12 months apart but your friend wants to throw a second shower? Sounds good! You had two boys in a row but your sister wants to host a shower anyway? Awesome! Now if the mom-to-be is actively asking people to host a shower that's a different story. If I really wanted one I'd probably ask my mom or my sister, but beyond that it gets a little tacky.

Who should host the shower?
Etiquette rules are hard and fast when it comes to hosting baby showers. Typically, the rules don't approve of any family member acting as the host. It's seen as asking for gifts. However, I find this rule to be outdated. Baby showers are a chance to celebrate the mom-to-be, the baby and yes, to receive well-wishes and gifts. I don't think it matters if the host is your mom, your sister, your best friend or your co-worker. The only person that shouldn't host is the mom or dad-to-be. 

Who determines the invite list?
Definitely the mom-to-be. However, the host should have the final say on numbers since they're paying for the event. The host also gets to decide if it's going to be a shower for couples or a women-only event. 

Should there be games? 
This should be a joint decision between the host and the mom-to-be, but the host has the final say (muahahahaha). Hopefully, the host will take the mom-to-be's wishes into consideration. This also applies to arts and crafts. 

What about gifts? 
Etiquette says that if you attend the shower you should bring a gift for the mom-to-be. As for registry information, it should be included on a separate piece of paper with the invite. It may look like a gift grab, but really it's to make things easier on guests. Also, guests don't have to pick something off the registry so remember your poker face, mom-to-be. Oh and it never hurts for the mom-to-be to give the host a thank you gift, hint hint (kidding). 

Should there be a theme?
There doesn't have to be a theme, but it makes it more fun. If this isn't for the first child, the theme also helps narrow down the expectations. For example, having a baby sprinkle where you ask for diapers and wipes as opposed to a full on shower. 

What about food?
This is up to the host. If you don't plan on providing lunch, don't schedule it at noon. There's an expectation for cake (who doesn't want cake?), but it's up to the host if they want to provide anything extra. 

Thank you notes? 
Yep, you still need to send these out within two weeks of the shower (unless you have the baby, then there's a bit more leniency). Don't wait and combine your thank you with the birth announcement. Also, don't send an email. This type of gift requires a handwritten note. 

In the end, there are a few simple rules that everyone should follow:
- Be gracious
- Be polite
- Have fun
- Don't complain
- Be glad you aren't going into labor anytime soon (sorry, mom-to-be!)

Did I leave anything out?


PS - To my friend having the baby: this is not me passive aggressively telling you what to expect at your future shower, lol. I promise I won't make you play games and there will definitely be yummy food! 

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