Baby showers are a festive occasion for all; however, like all parties -- the planning and expectations can get overwhelming. Fast.
Who's allowed to come? Who's supposed to host the party? What's the rule for baby showers when the couple has a second (or third) child?
If you're worried about etiquette, we've got the low-down. Here are frequently asked questions about baby showers.
Who should host the baby shower?
Traditionally, a shower is hosted by a distant relative or friend of the Mama-to-be. This is to prevent the party from appearing like a ploy to get gifts (although, let's be honest -- who doesn't like that part!).
However, the rules have changed a bit these days. It's not unusual for a close relative (sister, mother or mother-in-law) to throw the bash. Hosting your own shower, though, is a big no-no in Miss Manner's handbook.
When should you throw a baby shower?
Baby showers can be thrown any time (in some cases after the baby arrives); however, the event usually occurs in the latter stages of pregnancy (everyone loves admiring a big belly bump!). Consult with the guest of honor to work out scheduling conflicts and make sure VIP guests (such as grandparents, best friends or siblings) will be able to make it as well.
Who's invited to the baby shower?
Consult with the Mama-to-be on who she'd like to have at the shower. Family members and close friends commonly make the guest list, but ask the expecting Mama about people outside those circles (such as coworkers and church members). Keep in mind the size of your venue, as well as your budget.
If the guest list becomes unruly, consider breaking the baby shower into different events. Don't be afraid to have multiple baby showers -- one for close family and friends, and another for your coworkers or church group. It's become increasingly popular for expecting Mamas to have multiple parties (an intimate one for family and friends and another for work colleagues, for instance).
Are men allowed to attend a baby shower?
My cousin recently threw a baby shower that was equal parts men and women. My mother -- a traditionalist -- thought it was strange; however, it's becoming normal to see men at baby showers.
Again, consult with the Mama-to-be and decide which direction you'd like to take it: does she want a traditional baby shower with female bonding (and unadulterated labor talk), or does she want a co-ed experience? This important decision can help you figure a theme, decor, activities and even food choices.
Do you throw a baby shower for the couple's subsequent children?
Miss Manners says, "No sirree!" Since the purpose of a baby shower is to equip new parents, a second shower may appear that you're begging for gifts.
According to Miss Manners, it's more acceptable to throw an informal celebratory party (sans gift registry) for subsequent pregnancies. However, modern parents are going against the grain on this tradition. And we say, "Party on, party people!" Every baby deserves its own celebration.
Gift registry rules
According to Miss Manners, it isn't proper to create a baby shower registry. Her belief is it makes you look desperate for presents, and takes the thoughtfulness of gift-giving away from the giver. However, we disagree on this one!
While it may be bad form to the strictest of traditionalists, we think a gift registry is totally acceptable for baby showers. (After all, it's a waste of everyone's efforts to receive gifts you don't really need!)
If you decide to create a gift registry, make sure to include items at multiple price points. Add sale items, like our Luxe-Mama toxin-free body wash for pregnant moms & babes (now only $16.20). You can find some great baby shower gifts for under $20, shop sales or even include gifts for expecting fathers!
Guest of honor etiquette
As the Mama-to-be, the general rule of thumb is to be gracious and appreciative for the party thrown for her. According to Miss Manners: Don't request lavish accommodations Don't demand a large guest list Don't require gifts be in a certain price range Do write thank you notes for every present received