and the Answers You Need to Know!
When hosting a baby shower, often frequent questions emerge that pertain to etiquette. This page is dedicated to help you find the answers for the questions you seek.
I have broken the page up into subject sections and the questions related to them. Have fun exploring this page. And if you do not find the answer you are looking for, ask a question and I will do my best to find the proper way for you to solve your problem.
Dealing with miscarriage or infertility
Frequent Questions for Baby Showers
A. A baby shower should be held 1-2 months before the due date. If you are holding a celebration for a baby that has already been born, make sure that the immunizations have taken place so the baby will not have problems at the shower.
Q. How long is the typical baby shower?
A. The typical baby shower lasts 2-3 hours.
Q. What time of day is a baby shower usually held?
A. A baby shower is usually held over the weekend mid to late afternoon. Keep in mind the different situations of your guests when making preparations. Most women work during the day. Although you will not be able to accommodate everyone's schedule, the weekend is usually best if they are given enough advance notice.
Work parties are most often held at night time or during the weekend. Or it can be held right after work ends so guests don't have to travel home and back again for the party.
Q. Where should I hold the baby shower?
A. The baby shower is typically held at the home of the hostess. You can also hold it at a park, a church, reception hall or cultural center, restaurant.
Q. What if my gift is a big, bulky item?
A. Nothing makes everyone at a baby shower uncomfortable as a person coming in with a huge, flashy gift. Rather than steal the show by lugging in a huge gift...bring a card that explains your gift to the mother. You can also have a picture in the card of the item she is receiving. It is a lot less distracting and makes you look a lot better.
Q. If I give a gift at the baby shower, am I supposed to still give one when the baby is born?
A. Thank you for your etiquette question. If you give a gift at the baby shower, you are not required to give another gift once the baby is born. Some people do, but it definitely is not required. The gift at the party is your gift to the baby, so you are not required to give anything more.
Q. Is it the proper thing to give the hostess a gift for throwing the baby shower?
A. Giving the hostess a gift is a very nice gesture, but you are under no obligation to do so. Her gift to you is throwing you the baby shower. It does take a good deal of time and effort to put a baby shower together. If you would like to give the hostess a gift, an expensive gift is not necessary. Limit your gift to something small and genuine.
Q. What is a sprinkle? I've never heard that term before.
A. A sprinkle is a light shower. The gifts are typically cheaper than the typical shower. If the child is a second or third child, the mother usually has most of the big supplies needed to take care of a child. The sprinkle will stock the mother on the little essentials that run out easily. For example...diapers, some outfits, lotions and baby wash, wipes. Guests are not restricted from buying bigger ticket items, but the sprinkle showers are more geared towards friends and family celebrating a new birth. If there is a big gap between children, a full baby shower might be needed. Check with the mom to see how the supplies are to know how to word the invitation.
Q. Can I ask someone to host my baby shower?
A. It is not proper etiquette to ask someone to host your baby shower. It imposes on them the expectation of the costs, time, and a place for them to put it together. This might be something that they were not wanting or willing to do for you. It also puts them in an awkward situation of hurting feelings by saying no. If no one has offered to throw you a shower there are still other options available to you.
1) You can pass on subtle hints to close family or friends and see if they pick up on it.
2) Whether a shower has been held or not, people will often send gifts when the birth announcement has been sent out.
3) You can throw a small party to introduce your baby to the world after it is born. It is not focused on the gifts like a baby shower, but people still usually bring gifts as the celebration of the birth.
Q. Can I throw my own baby shower?
A. No, it is not proper to throw your own baby shower. It is looked at as being greedy. The mother to be is about the only one that is not allowed to throw the baby shower.
Q. Who should organize and host a baby shower?
A. Anyone but the mother is allowed to host the baby shower. Some family members or friends can split the organization and hosting responsibilities to make it easier and more time efficient.
Q. What kinds of games are normally played at a baby shower?
A. Anything baby related or theme related is perfectly acceptable to play at the baby shower. When choosing the games you should keep the mothers feelings and personality in mind.
Q. I would like to have an adult only party. How do I word that without sounding rude?
A. It is perfectly fine to have an adult only party. A cocktail party is a good example of an "Adult Only" party. You are fine to write Adults Only Please or something to that effect on the invitation. Keep in mind that you might end up losing some of your guests if they are not able to secure baby sitters. You can try to compensate for this by offering to have babysitters available for those who request it when they RSVP. This will lift the burden off the parents of finding baby sitters and might boost the amount of people that show.
Q. I am hosting an adoption baby shower and I am not sure how to word the invitations. If the adoption does not go through than we will have to cancel the baby shower. How do I tactfully put that in the invitation?
A. Adoptions are always high stress situations where it is always possible for the birthing mother to back out last minute. The most important thing the adoption mother needs is love and support from people around her. Your two choices are to either throw it before or after the baby has arrived. When you throw the shower before, you might run into the problem of having to call everyone on the list to let them know it is cancelled if the adoption does not go through. It is best not to mention a possible cancellation on the invitation. Guests will definitely understand if you need to call them and cancel the shower. It is a lot easier to throw a baby shower when the adoption has been finalized. This way, you do not have to worry about cancellations or returning gifts.
Q. Is it normal to have the baby name on the invitation? Is it okay that I do so?
A. If the mother has picked out the name already, and does not mind that you share it, it is fine to do so. People who like to personalize gifts would love to have this kind of information.
Q. I just want to know the people who cannot make it to the baby shower. How do I word that in the invitation?
A. Put Regrets only at the bottom with the phone number, hostess name and date. This way you will be getting calls only from the people who are not able to attend.
Q. How many people should I invite to my baby shower?
A. The answer on this question depends on the kind of shower you are throwing. You need to take into consideration the size of the room and budget. For an intimate group 8-10 guests should be a good average. For an outside barbeque, it is casual enough to have 30 or so guests. Remember though, the more people, the more expensive it is to throw the baby shower.
Q. Do I give shower favors?
A. Baby Shower favors are always a nice touch for a baby shower but are not always necessary. Favors that are typical for some areas and unheard of in other areas. It is best to ask around if it is normal in your area to give out favors.
Q. What sort of food is served at a baby shower?
A. The type of food served at the baby shower is based on the time of day and kind of shower it is. The typical baby shower food consists of finger foods or appetizers and some kind of punch and cake. If you host it during lunch time people will be expecting a more of a meal than the finger foods. You can either serve food buffet style or as a sit down meal. If you need a knife for guests to eat with, it is best to have it served as a sit down meal.
Q. Is it ok to invite men to a baby shower? If it is, how do I do it so they will come?
A. Absolutely! Men are starting to want to be involved in the celebration of having a baby. They are most likely just as excited as the mom to be....why not let them join in on the fun? But before you invite them....make sure that the dad does want to be involved. If you get the go ahead from them make sure that the invitations are also made out to the men. Just having a wife's name on an invitation won't tell them that you want them there. Stay away from pastel colors and anything too frilly. I would choose active games and have plenty of food available if men are invited.
Q. I would like to throw a shower for a friend, but she says she already has everything she needs for the baby. Is it still ok to throw a shower?
A. Showers are fun when they are geared towards pampering the mother. I would throw a pampering party for her if the baby is already taken care of. Having a child takes a lot of work and she might not be ready for the demands the baby puts on her. Guests can bring gifts for the mom to relax or feel beautiful after the baby is born. You can have a spa night or movie night. Possibilities are endless when you are creative with your ideas.
Not a first time mom
Q. Can a baby shower be held for a second baby?
A. Yes, a new baby is always a good reason to celebrate. If it is the same gender as the first a sprinkle shower should be in order. This is where you give a sprinkle of gifts to stock up on needed baby supplies. If it is a different sex, a full baby shower might be needed.
Dealing with shower offers
Q. A few people have offered to host a baby shower for me. My sister in law is insistent on throwing me a baby shower, but so is my mother. How do I decline a shower without hurting feelings?
A. There are a few things for you to look at when deciding whether or not to combine showers. Will their personalities work together well, are there any family feuds going on, and do you have enough family on both sides to allow separate showers? In the case that both of these would be family showers, it might be a good idea to combine them. But, if there is a good reason to keep the family parties separate, do so. The last thing you want for your celebration is tension that could be cut with a knife. If one side of your family is distant, the possibilities may be small that they would travel the long distance to attend the shower. If you have decided that a combined shower is best for your circumstances, I would suggest to your mother and sister n law that they work together as co-hosts. You can say something like...." Thank you for your offer, my mother also asked if she can host a baby shower, since most of our family live out of town, maybe both of you can work together and throw only one baby shower.
Q. I have a few offers for baby showers but I am not sure how many I am allowed to have. I have friends at work, family and the neighborhood that have all offered to throw me a shower. What do I do?
A. You are lucky to have such a good support group around you. You need to look at how many people will be attending each shower. You can have a work shower and a neighbor/family shower depending if you have enough people to attend each shower. Never invite a person to more than one shower. It is very tacky. If your family is insistent on having a family only shower, go ahead and let them do so. Family showers are more personal and relaxed. Let them have this together time with you before your baby arrives.
Dealing with miscarriage or infertility
Q. I am getting my list together for a baby shower a friend is hosting for me. I have a sister in law that just recently had a late term miscarriage and I am not sure if it would be hurtful to send her an invitation. What should I do?
A. There are a lot of emotions a woman goes through when dealing with a miscarriage. You are right to be worried about her feelings. You could risk even more hurt feelings by not inviting her. In this situation it is best to give her a call. Explain to her that you wanted to tell her that you have invited her to the shower, but also understand if it might be too painful to attend.
Long Distance Invitations
Q. I have friends and family that live in another state. I know they will not be able to make it to the baby shower. Do I send them an invitation?
A. Invitations for a baby shower are typically reserved for local friends and family that live close enough to attend the baby shower. Birth announcements are usually sent to friends and family who live further away to announce the arrival of the new baby.The key to knowing whether a long distance invitation should be sent or not would depend on how close your relationship is to the friend or family member and if they are close enough that they could attend if they would like to. In most cases, it is more proper to send a birth announcement instead.
Everyone's situation is a little different so you will need to follow your instincts to whether your relationship is close enough that it will be well received or looked upon as an invitation for a gift.
If you still question it, give them a call and ask them whether they would like to have an invitation. A long distance invitation, if used correctly, can be a wonderful way to let close friends and family feel part of the celebration even though they live far away.
Thank you for visiting the frequent questions page! I hope you have had your questions answered. If not, feel free to ask your question and I will be happy to research the proper etiquette rules involved!
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