My Baby Shower Etiquette Story
I broke a major Baby Shower Etiquette Rule, which is attend the baby shower you are planning!
Devastation and disappointment were my feelings when the doctor told me I could not attend my best friend’s shower. My BFF, Donna, was not too happy about this at first. You see, we were pregnant at the same. Her baby boy was due 5 weeks ahead of my son.
Donna and I lived about 12 hours away from each other. My OBGYN told me it was unsafe to get on an airplane after being 30 weeks pregnant. Riding in a car for a long time was out of the question, especially when I previously vomited twice during long car rides while pregnant.
Donna’s two friends and I planned her baby shower via conference calls and emails. According to them, it was a success!
We had our showers on the same day and time.
It Happened Again!
When it was time for my celebration, it happened again! I broke another Etiquette Rule! I was late to my own baby shower. Honestly, there is no excuse for it. I was actually ready about 20 minutes before it started. It was so bad that my former boss was about to leave when my husband and I arrived.
I am the person that is MOSTLY early and on time for events. That day, I wanted to give the hosts and hostesses time to set up and guests to arrive. This was a very bad move! I could feel the irritation from the guests once I arrived.
However, they livened up once the shower started! It was a great event, thanks to my hosts and hostesses!
Why is Baby Shower Etiquette Important to me?
So, you are probably asking yourself, why should I take Baby Shower Etiquette Advice from you?
BECAUSE, failures are your best teachers. Many great entrepreneurs will tell you they FAILED THEIR WAY TO SUCCESS! Plus, I did not want to break anymore rules so I researched Baby Shower Etiquette.
I want to share with you what I found and experienced. Let’s start with the most frequently asked questions.
Who should pay for the baby shower?
The hosts and the hostesses should pay for the baby shower. The purpose of the baby shower is for the parents-to-be to receive gifts for their baby and for others to share their joy. Having a baby is very costly and this is a way for family and friends to help lighten the financial load.
How far in advance do you send out baby shower invitations?
Baby shower invitations should be sent four to six weeks before the event. This timeframe accounts for guests who are traveling far distances to attend.
It is also important to have the parents-to-be register for gifts before sending out invitations so this can be included.
Is it appropriate to have a baby shower for your second child?
Yes, it is appropriate to have a baby shower for the second child. There are certain circumstances where it is very helpful.
1. If there is a wide age gap between children.
- By this time, many parents have donated, given away, or sold items they had for the previous baby. Therefore, a baby shower is a perfect way to provide essentials for the new baby.
2. The second baby is a different gender from the first.
- Most parents would prefer their babies to have “gender specific” clothes and toys. For example, most parents don’t want their baby boys to wear a dress. They want their boys to wear clothes with trucks and animals on it.
- Also, many parents want their girls to have pink headbands and blankets. A baby shower is a way to provide these items for the opposite sex.
3. If you are having twins or triplets.
- It is much more expensive to have twins or triplets than to have one baby. You need double or triple of everything! Many parents-to-be would love assistance in this circumstance and a baby shower is a great way to provide it.
4. If you don’t feel comfortable having a baby shower for the second child, do the following…
- Have a friend send out an announcement about the arrival of the second child to family and friends and include the registry.
- You can also have a sprinkle baby shower.
What is a sprinkle baby shower?
It is a baby shower for the second baby; however, you are giving the parents-to-be certain gifts. Typically, parents have the essentials from their first born such as bottles and burp clothes. However, they need diapers, gender-specific clothing, and car seats (if still being used by first child). The sprinkle baby shower will provide the parents with extra items needed for the second baby.
Now that we have SOME of the basics behind us, let get into the 65 + Baby Shower Etiquette Rules!
- The Baby shower should be hosted by a friend or family member.
- Some cultures believe it is rude for family members to “beg for gifts” on behalf of another family member, so it is typically hosted by a friend.
- Some cultures believe a close female family member should host the shower. My family and friends collaborated to host my shower.
When to Plan and Have the Baby Shower
- The planning should occur at least 8 weeks ahead of the shower.
- Most baby showers are held in the early stages of the third trimester (around 30 – 32 weeks).
Baby Shower Budget (what to include)
- Location – showers can be held at restaurants, clubs, parks, banquet rooms, or in someone’s home depending on the number of guests.
- Invites – can be sent via email or mail.
- Decorations – ideas are balloons, flowers, streamers, and pom poms
- Food/Drink/Dessert – catering, grocery store, and potluck
- Games/Prizes – play games that go with theme
- Favors – ideas are candles, chocolate, cups, and tea
Baby Shower Themes and Tips
- A great way to create a baby shower theme is to talk with the parents-to-be.
- Try to recreate one of their favorites or a memorable event.
- My friend loves the color yellow so we chose the theme “You are my Sunshine.”
2. Baby Shower Theme Ideas for Boys
- Cars and Trucks
- Sports Themes
- Cartoon Characters
3. Baby Shower Theme Ideas for Girls
- Princess Theme
- Cartoon Characters
- Ballerina Theme
4. Baby Shower Theme Ideas for Twins
- Two Peas in a Pod
- Jack and Jill
Baby shower Invitation
- Free Online Baby Shower Invitations are great.
- Organize the guest list with the parents-to-be to ensure no guests are forgotten.
- Ensure to gather guests’ email and/or addresses (depending on how you plan to send the invitations).
- Decide with parents-to-be if they want both men and women at the baby shower.
- Organize date of shower with parents-to-be.
- If you have a theme, ensure invitations are centered around it.
- You don’t necessarily have to have a theme for the baby shower.
- Include the following in the invitation…
- The guests of honor name and surname
- Baby shower date
- Directions to the party
- Registry information
- Attire preferred (optional)
- Host’s contact information- phone and email address
- RSVP deadline
- Include return address labels that list your address.
- Specify if the parents-to-be are having a boy or girl (optional)
9. Ask all guests to RSVP before a certain date (at least two weeks or 1 week and a half beforehand)
10. The Invitation’s wording can include the following…
- Wording that conveys a personal touch.
- Wording that is gender specific or opt for something generic
- Nursery Rhymes
- Wording that connects with the theme
- The time of the party will determine the type of food served.
- If the party is at lunch or dinner time or you have a lot of out-town guests, you can plan a heavier meal.
- Finger food, appetizers, and baked goods are an excellent choice.
- The party’s location will also determine the food.
- If hosting a party at home, then you will have access to the kitchen.
- If the party is at a restaurant, then you can choose food from their menu.
- Consider the type of food the parents-to-be like.
- Have options for vegetarians and consider religious diets.
- Décor ideas include the following…
- Gift Basket – with stuffed toys and baby essentials such as baby lotion, wipes, and diaper rash cream
- Diaper Cake
- Anything related to your theme
Baby Shower Favors
- Favors are a way of saying thank you to your guests for coming to the party.
- Favors are also a reminder of this special new journey in your life and appreciation of them taking part in it.
- You can buy favors online or make them yourself.
- Favors can connect to the theme of your party.
- Some ideas for favors are…
- Customized cups
- Here are Other Ideas
- Involve parents-to-be in the planning process.
- Invite men and possibly children
- Have fun with the process.
- Play fun games.
- Make a guest book or frame for guest to sign.
- Be mindful of guests who have miscarried
- Ensure guests RSVP with hosts/hostesses.
- Hosts/Hostesses should ensure their return address or email address is available in the invitation.
- Don’t play humiliating or embarrassing games
- Talk to parents-to-be to get information on what this means to them.
2. Don’t force people to watch gifts being unwrapped
3. Don’t skimp on the food and cake.
4. Don’t send invitations too early to ensure people remember the baby shower.
5. Don’t send invitations too late so people have enough time to make travel arrangements.
Baby Shower Games and Prizes
- Ideas for baby shower games are…
- Baby Shower Bingo
- Word Scrambles
- Baby Shower Trivia
- Here are Other Ideas
Baby Shower Speeches
- Often the host/hostess gives a short speech to welcome guests and to honor parents-to-be.
- There are no set rules for the host/hostess’s speech but here is what should be included…
- Mention the parents-to-be by name.
- Discuss how you know the guests of honor.
- Say thank you to the other hosts/hostesses.
- Welcome everyone to the event.
3. The Parents-to-be should also give speeches. Here is what should be included…
- Thank the hosts or hostesses for coordinating the event.
- Thank the guests for coming and sharing in this great occasion.
- Mention the baby and details you want to reveal.
Baby Shower Planning Timeline
8 weeks Before Shower
- Contact Parents-to-be
- Set a date and time
- Compile guest list and their contact information (name, email addresses, and home address)
- Choose the location
- Discuss food options
- Discuss invitation preferences
- Ask Parents-to-be to create a registry
7 weeks Before Shower
- Ask the Parents-to-be about registry
- Create or purchase invitations for emailing or mailing – include registry information on invitation or on a small card.
6 Weeks – Five Weeks Before Shower
- Mail the Invitations – (4 to 6 weeks before the Shower)
- Plan the Menu – Check with Parents-to-be about food allergies
- Decide on décor.
- Make a list and check on tableware, tables, chairs to ensure you have enough.
- Create a list of rental supplies if needed.
- Make a list of prizes and favors you will need.
- Think about the gift you want to give the parents-to-be
Four Weeks to Three Weeks Before Shower
- Purchase gifts for parents-to-be and baby.
- Designate a person for parents-to-be to bring them to the shower – or they can bring themselves if preferred.
- Designate people to bring food or items if necessary.
- Reserve rental supplies if needed.
Two Weeks – A Week and Half Before Shower
- Gather a list of guests who have RSVPed.
- Purchase or make decorations.
- Prepare a shopping list of food and beverages.
- Purchase prizes and party favors.
- Wrap all gifts and favors.
- Confirm food, location, and supply reservations.
- If the party is at someone’s home, decide which serving dishes, utensils, table linens and napkins you will use.
- Order flowers
One Week Before Shower
- Contact anyone who has not RSVPed
- Shop for “freeze-ahead” dishes
- Prepare “freeze-ahead” dishes
- Confirm with guests or hosts/hostesses who have been asked to bring food or special items.
Two Days Before Shower
- Shop for perishables, ice, and other supplies.
- Prepare food that can be made in advance.
- If possible, put decorations into place.
- If possible, set the table.
- Check with parents-to be for any last-minute requests.
- Have a comfortable chair, with a pillow, for mom-to-be to use at the shower.
One Day Before Shower
- Finish preparing food.
- Pick up prepared food (if possible) or touch base with caterer.
- Pick up flowers or ensure they get delivered.
- Purchase balloons (if you are using them).
- Clean home, especially guest bathroom
- Set up extra chairs for guests (if possible)
- Set up a small table for holding gifts. (if possible)
The Morning of the Shower
- Give the parents-to-be a call to make sure they are feeling good.
- Have the hosts/hostesses go to party site an hour or two ahead of time.
- Decorate and set up chairs and tables.
- Chill refreshments to be ready for the Shower.
- Set out food, except items that need to stay warm or cold.
- Introduce the guests to each other
- Socialize and mingle
- Take pictures
- Play games
- Open gifts (optional)
- Designate someone to record who gave which gift.
- Assign someone to collect all the wrapping paper for trash.
- Designate someone to pack the gifts in the car for the parents-to-be to take home.
- Ensure the parents-to-be are happy, comfortable, and well-fed.
After the Shower
- Parents-to-be should send thank you cards to the guests – ask them if they need help with this.
- Ask Parents-to-be if they need help with organizing anything before the baby arrives.
Baby Shower Schedule – Below is a sample schedule for a baby shower from 11am – 1pm.
- 9am – Hosts/Hostesses arrive at party location.
- (9am – 11am) – Host will decorate, set up party space and games, and prepare food.
- (11am – 11:20am) – Parents-to-be will arrive. Hosts/Hostesses will greet and mingle with guests.
- (11:20am – 12:50pm) – Eat, Take Pictures, Play Games, and Open gifts and favors.
- (12:50pm – 1:15pm) – Host will thank everyone for coming, pack the parents-to-be car with gifts, and clean up.
Resources – For more information read the following books
- Baby Shower Etiquette for Moms to be and Guest: Shower the Baby with the Perfect Gifts by Brenda Downings
- Etiquette for Dummies by Sue Fox
- The Bump – Baby Shower Etiquette
So, are you ready to have a fun celebration of new life? Let’s do this!
Hello, I’m Andrea! I am a mom of a curious, energetic preschooler! I love using PLAYFUL methods to expose my son to new things. He learned how to read at 21 months through play. The whole world has become our learning playground! Get our FREE Course of How to Teach the Alphabet in a Fun Way. Also, save money with 9 Tips to Hosting a Baby Shower on a Budget.
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52 thoughts on “Baby Shower Etiquette”
So much information! This is a great resource for someone planning a shower.
Thank you Melissa! It is a lot of information. However, once you start completed the task, it goes by fast. I think it is because you are doing it for someone you love.
This is really beautiful. I wish I could get the same shower. So sophisticated and elegant…
Thank you Monidipa! It was a great time attending the shower and planning my friend’s shower.
There is so much to think about, I know my Daughter in law had a panic over hers last year and she wasn’t arranging it x
YES IT IS A LOT TO THINK ABOUT. HOWEVER, IF YOU HAVE A TASK LIST, IT IS NOT THAT BAD. I AM ALWAYS RELIEVED THE DAY OF THE PARTY. I LOVE SEEING THE SMILE ON MOM-TO-BE’S FACE!
Oh this is so helpful !I have been invited to a lot of baby showers lately and I never know what the etiquette is when going or planning one!
Oh great! I am glad this is helpful! Thank you for commenting!
These tips were very helpful. I think many of them were applied at the baby showers that were held for my kids as well as other baby showers I have been to. It is always great to be reminded of baby shower etiquette.
Yes many people adhere to these rules. It is different seeing them written down all in one place.
Having a reason to break rules is ok I guess. Especially if they are good reason 🙂 I love attending baby shower. It’s always a very happy event.
Yes I love going to Baby Showers as well. You can feel the love in the room amongst family and friends!
Oh my goodness I didn’t know that there is a baby shower etiquette… And looks like it requires a lot of planning
It is not that bad once you get started. Most of these rules people do without noticing. I think it seems overwhelming when it is written all in one place.
This is so resourceful lists. I knew some of the things that needs to do’s and don’ts about the Baby Shower hosting.
Great! I am glad you found this information helpful! Thank you for commenting.
Interesting baby shower information here. I didn’t have a baby shower and I have not attended one before either. I hope to change that soon.
Hello, if you have a baby shower or host one, you will know exactly what to do!
We didn’t have a baby shower for our girl so I had no idea about all of the above – such a useful post thank you!
Thank you so much for commenting on this post! I find it easier to have a list of tasks to accomplish when planning anything. Baby Showers are so fun to plan. The actual party is full of fun and excitement.
Thanks for the lovely share, it is a beautiful ceremony for mums to be and definitely worth the effort.
Yes! I love attending baby showers! I love to see mom-to-be’s face when she walks into the room!
This advice doesn’t particularly apply to me, but I’ll happily pass this along to my wife!
Thank you Christopher. My hubby would say the same thing! Thank you for reading.
I feel amazed reading about baby shower because we are not used to this party in our family. But it was nice to know and learn these things, the etiquettes and the gifts!
THANK YOU BLAIR FOR READING! YES IT IS A BIG DEAL WHERE I LIVE! IT IS A LOT FUN AS WELL!
Oh my goodness, this is so extensive! Where were you when we were dealing with the baby shower for my daughter? I’ll definitely be keeping this in case any of my friends have babies.
OH WONDERFUL! I AM GLAD YOU FOUND THE INFORMATION HERE HELPFUL! THANK YOU FOR READING!
I love hosting events, whether for a friend or family. But, I haven’t tried hosting a baby shower yet. I wish I could, soon. I will be saving these tips. Thank you so much!
Hello Hannah! I hope you host one soon. This information will make it easier for you. It is so much fun to plan! Thank you for reading
This post is really very helpful and informative for all people who are planning for baby shower. I will keep this in mind for my baby shower.
Hello Khushboo! Thank you for reading. I am so glad you found it helpful. Yes pass this information along to anyone planning a shower. It will make things so much easier.
Thanks for the heads up on this – I normally make a fool of myself with etiquette! Baby showers were so much of a thing when our were born, but it’s really taking off these days. I think it’s a lovely idea 🙂
Thank you Mike for reading. When I was younger, only women attended the baby shower. But now there are more men attending as well.
That’s such a shame that you couldn’t go to your friends baby shower, but you have to put your own health first. I’ve been to a few baby showers and they’ve always been such fun x
Yes I was so disappointed that I could not go to my friend’s shower. It worked out in the end. We were willing to plan each other’s shower. Thank you for reading.
This is so interesting, In Scotland we dont have many baby showers but they are starting to get more popular. These things are good to know!
Thank you for reading Jillian! If you ever have to plan one then you will know exactly what to do!
Baby shower it very good, it indeed helps reduce the financial load fir parents to be. What I love most about baby shower is the feeling of ‘feeling love’
Yes I felt a lot of love during my baby shower! It is always a great time with family and friends.
I’ve never been to a baby shower but these seem like great tips! Hope you had a good time
Yes it was a great time! I love the time spent with family and friends. Thank you for commenting Cristina!
Great to know these things! I wanted to host a baby shower for my sister before but I guess I’m really not good with events. ugh
If you ever have a chance to host another shower, please use these tips. It will make your life much easier. Thank you for commenting Ruth!
Thank you for all of these information! I got lots of ideas that I can use when I get to plan one in the future.
Thank you Hannah for reading. I am so glad you found this helpful!!! Planning a shower is really fun!
This is an interesting list of dos and don’ts. Honestly, everyone is just so happy for the mom to be that some of this is water under the bridge.
Yes this is just a reminder for the person who wants a reference of information for the event. Thank you for your comment Elizabeth.
Great post!!! Man I remember my baby shower was so stressful. And itnprolly could have all been avoided if they had read this!!!!
Thank you Lisa for your comment and your compliment. I am glad you found it helpful!
Thank You foe all the info
This is a great resource, especially for grandmas who are planning a baby shower! Thank you for all of the ideas!
Question: the parents-to-be want alcohol at the shower. Is that appropriate?