Home: Baby Shower Etiquette: Etiquette for Hostesses

Survival Guide to Hostess Etiquette

Does Hostess etiquette seem confusing to you?

confused baby
Yes, you can master hostess etiquette

Being a hostess for a baby shower can be a daunting task, especially if you know little to nothing about etiquette.

Luckily for you, the Betty Crocker perfection rules are past....well, at least for the most part.

There are still unspoken rules of etiquette that will be to your benefit as a savvy hostess. That is, if you know them.

Don't worry. The beads of sweat are showing on your forehead!! I am going to give you a crash course on hostess etiquette. My quick tutorial will take you from so-so to pro in hostess etiquette with no time at all. So get ready to relax and learn the ins and outs of a baby shower from a woman's view.

And if there are still questions... view the frequent questions section where you can read and ask baby shower questions.

Baby Shower Hostess Etiquette

How Many Hostesses Are Needed For A Baby Shower?

One hostess is all that is needed for a baby shower. I prefer having at least two hostesses. If you have a lot of guests invited to the party, you might need more help. But, generally speaking, if you go over 4 hostesses, it might be too overwhelming for the guests.

If you are still overloaded with tasks, you can assign "little helpers" to help with the workload as long as they are not the invited guests.

Benefits of two hostesses over the baby shower....
  1. Ever wish you can be two places at once? Baby showers go a lot smoother when one person is setting up while the other is presenting.
  2. Split the costs and workload. Make the baby shower easier on the pocketbook while spending half the time and energy needed to host the party. Now, how's that for multi-tasking!

~Survival Guide to Hostess Etiquette~

When to hold the Baby Shower

Baby showers can be held 1-2 months before the baby is born or 2 months after the baby is born.

If it is before the birth it must be close enough to for the mother to have a big belly and far enough away in case of an early delivery. This also gives time to the mother for her final baby preparations.

If you are having a baby shower after the baby is born, waiting till the baby is about 2 months is usually the safest time frame. This gives the baby a chance to work up immunity and get needed vaccinations so he/she will not get sick from guests.

Surprise! Baby Showers and Guests Lists

If it is a surprise baby shower and everything is hush hush...go to the mother to be's closest family and friends to create your guest list. Reviewing the guest lists with a few people will ensure that everyone she would like to have at the party gets invited.

~Survival Guide to Hostess Etiquette~

Location Of The Baby Shower

Baby Showers are usually held at the hostess's home, but almost any location is perfectly acceptable. Below is a list of some other places you might like to have it.

Outside- if the weather is good and you have some fun outdoor activities. A park or back yard is still private enough.

Restaurant- they do the food, clean up and create the atmosphere leaving very little for you to worry about

Church or Community Center- a blank canvas just waiting to be decorated

Conference Room- would work for a quick office party during the lunch hour

Time frame Of The Baby Shower

The typical baby shower will last 2 hours. Don't go beyond 3 hours, as a woman's time is very precious.

A baby shower is usually held in the early to late afternoon over a weekend. Night time showers are also acceptable during the week.

~Survival Guide to Hostess Etiquette~

Sprinkle vs. a Full Shower

A sprinkle is given when the baby shower is for a mother that already has children that are fairly young. She does not need a full shower, just a sprinkle of gifts to get ready for the baby.

If the siblings are a good deal older, you probably will need a full baby shower. The mom has most likely gotten rid of the baby stuff by now. Check with the mom to see where she is standing with supplies.

Inviting Men To The Baby Shower

This is a new modern trend in baby showers. The old hostess etiquette books frowned on this. But etiquette rules have evolved and it is now okay to invite men to the celebration.

Men are starting to want to be at the baby showers. Make sure the dad is asked before jumping into the planning for this type of shower.

If you choose to make it a couples baby shower where men will be there...make sure to stay away from the pastel colors and girly frills. And make sure that you keep the activities and games flowing so the birthing talk is kept at a minimum.

~Survival Guide to Hostess Etiquette~

The Invitations

Have the mom to be put the invitation list together. It is her party, so she gets to choose who she would like to have invited.

The invitation must match the occasion. Handwritten or fill in the blank invitations are fine for casual events.

If it is a formal event, make sure the invitation style is classier.

Novelty invitations are a fun way to get guests excited for a theme baby shower.

~Survival Guide to Hostess Etiquette~

Greeting Your Guests

Greet the guests will a smile! Make them feel like you are glad they are spending their time with you!

Provide name tags if you have a large group.

Introduce everyone to each other after all guests have arrived.

Walk them to the door as they are leaving. It can be awkward for them to leave if they do not feel people care.

~Survival Guide to Hostess Etiquette~

The Schedule

The 2 biggest fun killers at baby shower are dead silence and lagging time.

Set up mini activities to occupy the guests as they are arriving so they do not have to make small talk with people they most likely do not know.

Keep track of the time!! This is extremely important for a successful baby shower. Keep everything flowing so the guests don't get bored.

~Survival Guide to Hostess Etiquette~

The Mother to Be

The guest of honor! She is your most important person at the party.

Ways to make her feel special:

Set up a special chair for the mommy, and arrange all other seating around it.

Never let her lift anything, including the gifts. The belly will definitely be in the way so be accommodating.

Serve her first when serving food.

~Survival Guide to Hostess Etiquette~

Baby Shower Games

Be considerate of feelings of the guests as you decide the games that will be included in your baby shower. Two to three games should be enough for a two hour party.

It would be a good idea to ask the mother to be what kinds of games she is comfortable with. You don't want to hurt feelings or make anyone uncomfortable.

Games with a twist- if you would like to spice up the games a little. Ask the mother to be which guests will give the best reaction to the more daring games. This will cause excitement and fun for all who is watching!

~Survival Guide to Hostess Etiquette~


Your gift to the mother IS the baby shower. The time and money spent by making the celebration possible is a wonderful gift to the mother.

You can give additional gifts to the mother as items used for games or centerpieces. For example, you can have a diaper cake displayed as the centerpiece of the food table. After the party, you can give it to the mother to be as your gift.

If you play any memory games with baby items, these can also be included in your gift to the mother.

When the mother to be is opening gifts, make sure you have a pen and paper handy to write down the gift and the guest that gave it. It will make her job a lot easier when sending thank you cards.

You can also assign this task to someone sitting close to the pregnant mommy.

~Survival Guide to Hostess Etiquette~

Serving The Food

Do you have a sit down meal or buffet style finger foods?

The standard rule with serving food is.....if you need to use a knife to eat the food it should be a sit down meal.

Make sure if you choose to serve buffet style that there are enough chairs for the guests to sit in.

Use sturdy plates if the guests will need to set the plates on their laps.

If it is a large group, it might be best to have a sit down meal.

Some people will serve the food all at once and some people will do light appetizers as guests are arriving and the rest of the food later on. I like to serve it either during the gift opening or at the end.

When you serve the food at the end, it gives people a chance to leave if they don't want to make small talk with others.

Two very important hostess etiquette food rules to follow:

  1. Never eat until everyone has been served. It is very tacky!
  2. Don't snack in front of the guests.

And one last thing...HAVE FUN!!!

You have now graduated my hostess etiquette crash course! You have learned the ins and outs of being a good hostess. With a good combination of creative games, food, and activities...you will not make the baby shower hostess etiquette hall of shame. Good Luck!!

Still have a question that has not been answered? See our frequent questions page or our reader questions forum.

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