A Helpful Guide to Baby Shower EtiquetteJune 15, 2021
The basic rules of baby shower etiquette have changed significantly over the last few decades. Back in the 1950s—or heck, even the 1980s—baby showers had strict rules like “guests must wear a dress” and “no male attendees allowed.” Thankfully, today’s baby showers are far more relaxed (and arguably more fun) in comparison. Women today have more freedom in their fashion choices, and co-ed baby showers are becoming more popular with each passing year.
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But there is one small downside to the increasing casualness of modern baby showers—namely, that it makes staying on top of baby shower etiquette tricky. That’s where our helpful etiquette guide comes into play. From creating a guest list to picking out the perfect gift (hint: choose baby clothes in a range of sizes!), here’s everything you need to know about modern-day baby shower etiquette.
Who Is Supposed to Throw a Baby Shower?
Traditionally, it was a huge no-no for the expecting parents and their immediate family members to throw a baby shower for the mom-to-be. This rule remains in place today, save for one small detail: It’s now totally fair game for an immediate family member to host the baby shower. So, feel free to let your mom or sister throw you a celebration!
Who Should Be Invited to a Baby Shower?
For a special experience, it’s better to invite only close friends and family members to the baby shower. There are a few exceptions, however. For example, if you work in an office with five people and are close with all but one of them, it’s best to invite that fifth person so no one feels left out. On the other hand, if you work in a large office, you should invite only those coworkers who are also close friends.
Is It Okay to Have Multiple Baby Showers?
Yes! In fact, one possible solution to the work scenario we mentioned above is by having a coworker throw an office baby shower for the parent-to-be. Office baby showers are usually low-key (but still professional) and are a lovely way to acknowledge the arrival of a new baby.
Another acceptable reason to have multiple baby showers is due to an overly-large guest list. In this scenario, you could have separate baby showers for different friend groups and family members. Just remember rule number 1: The parent-to-be shouldn’t throw his or her own party!
Can I Host the Shower at the Parent-to-Be’s House?
If the expecting parent is down for having the baby shower at their own house, then it’s fine. Otherwise, it’s generally best to have the shower someplace else. The reason being that the expecting parent(s) may feel like they’re hosting even though they aren’t. Plus, if you aren’t hosting a co-ed baby shower, it could mean kicking the expecting parent’s partner out of their own home for the duration of the party. Not ideal, to say the least!
What Are Some Good Baby Shower Gift Ideas?
In a few words, anything from the baby registry. Seriously, it’s there for a reason, so don’t ignore it! That said, it’s also acceptable to deviate from the registry in certain situations. If you stumble across some adorable Onesies® Brand Bodysuits that are simply too good to pass up, it’s okay to throw them in with your gift from the registry. It’s also acceptable to make a DIY baby shower gift for the expecting parents, so long as the gift is made with lots of love!
Can You Have a Baby Shower for a Second or Third Baby?
In the past, second and third baby showers were considered inappropriate and “gift grabby.” But due to the increasingly high cost of raising children, baby showers for subsequent babies are becoming more common.
In our humble opinion, every baby deserves to be celebrated. If this isn’t the expecting parents’ first baby, consider throwing a baby sprinkle instead. Unlike a first-time baby shower, a sprinkle party is a more modest gathering where the parent-to-be gets “sprinkled” with basic baby essentials—such as diapers, wipes and a few outfits—instead of big-ticket items that the couple likely already owns.
What Should I Wear to a Baby Shower?
If you’re the guest of honor, you can wear whatever you darn well please. After all, it is your party! But seriously, don’t feel obligated to wear a dress to your baby shower. If you’re more comfortable in a pair of dressy pants and a flowy blouse, then go for it!
If you’re attending as a regular guest, a good rule of thumb is to dress as though you were going to brunch or a luncheon. Avoid blue jeans, ripped pants, graphic tees and overtly sexy attire.
It should also be mentioned that these rules apply to virtual baby showers as well. Putting effort into your attire is a sign of respect and makes the guest of honor feel loved and special!
When Should I Show Up to a Baby Shower? When Should I Leave?
Unless the host says otherwise, you should plan to arrive on time for a baby shower. Otherwise, you may be late for certain activities that the host has planned for the party.
It’s also important to stay until the end unless you have a valid reason to leave early. If you must leave early, let the host know in advance and be sure to say a proper goodbye before you duck out.
When Should Baby Shower Gifts Be Opened?
This all depends on the guest of honor. Some parents-to-be love opening gifts in front of everyone, while others prefer to do it in the privacy of their own home. The best thing to do is to respect the guest of honor’s wishes. If they prefer to open their gifts in private, let the guests at the party know in advance to avoid potential confusion.
Cheers to an Amazing Baby Shower!
Whether you’re the guest of honor or the hostess, we hope that these basic rules of baby shower etiquette have cleared things up a little for you. At the end of the day, try not to stress too much about making an etiquette faux pas. The most important thing is that the guest of honor has a fun and memorable time celebrating their new bundle of joy!