Baby Shower Etiquette
By: Mikki Perry
The 411 On Baby Shower Etiquette
A baby shower is more than just a party, despite its appearance. The tradition of throwing a baby shower for young mothers is decades old, dating back in America at least until the 1950s. Over time, as you might imagine, a certain amount of formality and custom has crept into the event. When you begin thinking about your baby shower, you might wish to consider some of the following guidelines, to help you prepare for the event and create exactly the perfect baby shower for your new mother-to-be. (Notice we said "guidelines" and not "rules.")
Let a friend, not a relative, host the baby shower event.
There's an old tradition that a friend of the new mother should host the baby shower and not a close relative, out of a sense of family pride. Simply put, having a non-relative throw the baby shower deflects the impression that the family is begging for gifts. In recent times, though, mothers themselves or the mother's sister or best friend have taken to throwing the baby showers, inviting both men and women to the event. Baby showers might also have more than one hostess (or host!), who share and divide the responsibilities on the new mother's behalf.
Figure out how many people you can invite, and plan, plan, plan.
You might already have an idea of how many people you want to invite. Maybe it's within your budget, maybe it's not. But make sure that you stick to that budget when planning the guest list, and that you can afford to throw a sumptuous bash for everyone that arrives. Though this probably goes without saying, have the guest of honor approve the guest list before the invites go out. If she has already had children, you might choose to keep the shower intimate, inviting only her family or her closest friends.
Mailed invitations still work the best. Even though we live in the Information Age of cell phones, email and text messaging, the mailed paper invite still makes the strongest presentation, and encourages excitement about the shower and the upcoming birth. Written and mailed invitations can be costly and time consuming, but they also provide the baby shower's "vital statistics" such as date, location, and time written down as a quick reference.
You can throw the baby shower pretty much anywhere.
A baby shower has the advantage over events like wedding rehearsal dinners and bridal showers in that a fun baby shower can be held pretty much anywhere. While holding the shower in a bar or nightclub might be a little tacky, there's really no other limit to where your imagination can take you. Baby showers can be as formal as a winter ball, or as come-as-you-are as a backyard barbecue. You might also choose to have a themed baby shower, which unites the decor into a single idea or motif. Themed showers hold the advantage in that they create a specific atmosphere for your guests with a minimum of effort. They can also coordinate nicely with the new mother's likes, hobbies, and interests.
Throw the shower at the right time - and don't worry about surprising anyone.
The shower should be held anywhere from one to two months before the arrival date. This allows the new mother time to shop for any items she doesn't receive at the shower, or to return items she doesn't want or need for more usual gifts and supplies. You should also probably inform the mother about the shower itself. She'll be able to plan ahead, even getting dressed and fixed up for the event. A baby shower is in many ways a last hurrah for the new mother before maternity absorbs her free time, so she'll want to look her best.
For extra reference, we also encourage you to see the companion article to this piece, "A Timeline for Planning Your Baby Shower", here.
Corner Stork Baby Gifts offers a wide selection of baby shower favors, baby shower gifts, baby shower games, and accessories to give your baby shower all the elegance and charm needed to create a truly special event. For a complete look at our catalog, including our selection of baby gifts and apparel, visit us online at www.cornerstorkbabygifts.com.