A baby shower is a wonderful event for any new or expectant mother. Still, there are many guidelines and unspoken rules regarding the practice of baby showers--from who should throw the shower to who should be invited. Here are some tips on how to follow baby shower etiquette:
- Throwing the shower. A baby shower is usually hosted by a close friend or relative of the mother-to- be. If you're not sure if you should be the one to throw a shower for a friend of yours, then you probably shouldn't.
- Footing the bill. Generally, as with any other party, the hostess should pay for the cost of food, beverages and decorations for the baby shower. That's not to say that the hostess shouldn't accept help or delegate responsibilities to others. It's perfectly acceptable to take guests up on their offers to bring appetizers or other items.
- When to have the shower. Showers are often held one to two months before the baby's due date. Of course, if the mother-to-be is expecting twins or triplets, you may want to hold the shower even earlier than that, as multiple babies often arrive prematurely. For superstitious moms who don't want to receive too many baby items before the baby is actually born, there is nothing wrong with holding the baby shower or a celebration a month or two after the baby is born.
- Showers for second-time mothers. Years ago it was deemed inappropriate to throw a baby shower for a second-time mother. This is no longer the case. A shower is a wonderful celebration for any expectant mother--whether it's her first baby or her fifth baby! Obviously a first-time mother is probably in need of more things for her baby than an experienced mother, but a shower is not just about the gifts--it's about sharing time with family and friends to celebrate a joyous occasion.
- Who to invite. It's wise to enlist the help of the baby's father or the mother-to-be's best friend to make the guest list for the shower. If the shower isn't going to be a surprise, you can even ask the mother-to-be who she would like to invite. Ask around before inviting neighbors and coworkers, to make sure that they aren't planning a shower of their own. Also, showers are no longer for women only. In fact, couples' showers are quite commonplace and are a nice change from the girls-only showers of yesteryear. Consider inviting a few guys to liven the shower up a bit (or to keep the dad-to-be company).
- Registry etiquette. If the expectant mother has registered for baby items at a baby supply store or department store, it's important to pass that information along to the shower guests. Include a registry card in the invitation so that guests know where to shop for gifts and what the mother-to-be still needs. When buying items off of the registry, make sure to have them deleted from the master list so the mother-to-be doesn't receive duplicate gifts. If you buy a registry item at another store, you should still ask the registry store to mark the item as purchased.
- Avoid monograms. Also, even if the expectant couple has chosen a name for their unborn baby, avoid buying shower gifts that are monogrammed or personalized. Every so often, people change their mind about their baby's name after the baby is born, so play it safe and wait to give personalized gifts until after the baby is born and named.