Baby Shower Etiquette

Who Should Host? Traditional etiquette suggests that non-relatives of the mother-to-be host the baby shower, to avoid having it look as though the family is asking for gifts. Today, however, any person close to the parents-to-be can act as hostess, including any relative, close friend or co-worker. The only person who absolutely should not host the shower is the expectant couple. It's perfectly acceptable for more than one person to act as hostess. In fact, it can be more enjoyable to share the responsibilities, expenses and excitement of planning such a fun event.

Where Should the Shower be Held? Showers are often held at the home of the hostess, either indoors or in her backyard. Other venues such as a favorite restaurant, park, or even a rented facility such as a historic home, garden, or banquet hall are perfectly acceptable as well. It all depends on the theme you're trying to create and the budget you have to work with.

When Should you Throw the Shower? The baby shower is generally given the month or two before the baby is born. It's a good idea to give the mom-to-be enough time to unpack the items she receives and buy the items she doesn't receive. Also, you want to make sure that she's still comfortable enough to enjoy herself and that the baby doesn't arrive early and crash his or her own shower! You may also choose to host a "welcoming shower" a few weeks after the baby is born. This will give everyone a chance to buy items specifically for a boy or girl and meet the new bundle of joy. Also, out of town relatives may have an easier time attending if they can coordinate the shower with their visit to meet the newest family member.

How and When Should you Send Invitations? While a phone call or email is acceptable, an invitation sent through the mail is still the best way to invite guests. A written invitation will set the tone for the shower and give a hint of the theme. You can purchase pre-printed invitations from stationary or party stores or online and fill in the information or have them custom printed. If you're feeling extremely creative, you might also want to add a personal touch by hand-making your own unique invitations. Pertinent information to include on the invitation: who the shower is for, the time, date, and location, directions or a map, the theme of the shower (if this is important for the guests to know beforehand), anything that guests need to bring, the RSVP date and where mom is registered. While you still may prefer to pass registry information by word of mouth, it's also acceptable to include this information on the invitation. Last but not least, ask mom if she's comfortable sharing the name of the baby if it's already been chosen. If she gives you the go ahead, include it on the invitation so that people can buy personalized gifts if they choose. Send invitations early enough to give guests a few weeks notice- this way out of town guests can make travel arrangements if necessary and other guests can have a chance to save the date and enough time to shop for the perfect gift.

Who Should be Invited? Invitees can include anyone who's close to the new parents-to-be, including relatives, friends and co-workers. It's always a good idea to compile the guest list as you think it should be and then consult the guest(s) of honor to be sure you didn't forget anyone or include anyone that the honoree(s) would rather not include. Traditionally showers have been thrown in honor of the mommy-to-be and women-only have made up the guest list. Today, however, many daddies-to-be are getting in on the action and including their male friends and relatives on the shower guest list as well. Now, depending on the type of shower you're planning, most men will not enjoy typical baby shower games and oohing and ahhing over candy-filled plastic bottles. However, if the father-to-be wants to share the spotlight, let him- after all, it's his special occasion as well! Just make sure that the games and food are "guy friendly" and try to keep favors neutral. During gift opening, hand gifts to mom and dad so they can trade off opening them. And it's always nice to make sure there's a gift just for dad to open as well.

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