At a baby shower, loved ones gather around an expectant mother to offer love and material support. It’s a special celebration that helps start the growing family off on the right foot. Create a comfortable atmosphere for all attendants with these seven etiquette tips for modern baby showers.
1. Create an Appropriate Guest List
In the past, baby shower guests included women close to the expectant mother. But baby showers have evolved to include co-ed events over time. In the end, the best guest list consists of people that the mom-to-be wants around her at this special event.
Some moms want a smaller guest list, such as one that includes only close family and friends, because they want to keep the shower intimate and simple. And some moms want to include more people in the fun and share the spotlight with their partners. And some prefer to have only women at the shower. Ultimately, the only wrong guest list is the one that the mom-to-be doesn’t approve of.
2. Get the Guest of Honor’s Approval on Menu Items
Every pregnancy is different, but the aversion to certain foods is one of the most common challenges for pregnant people. If she can’t eat some of her favorite foods, then having these items at the party might not be the best idea. And if she dislikes the aroma of some foods, you want to avoid serving these.
Some moms may not want to include alcohol at the event, but others may want their guests to enjoy drinks. Ask the guest of honor what foods and drinks she wants to include or exclude.
3. What About a Shower for the Second Baby?
Baby showers are no longer only for a person’s first baby. The mom might want to celebrate the upcoming arrival of her second baby with a gathering of her loved ones.
The growing family might have some practical needs that a shower can help meet. For example, if the first and second children are close in age, they might need to share some baby care items. Friends and family can pitch in to help meet that need.
There are a lot of other reasons to throw a shower for a second baby. When a family has a baby long after the previous one, they often don’t have all the equipment they need anymore. Or if the family is a blended family, a new partner might want a special celebration.
A shower for a second baby doesn’t have to include gift-giving. And if there are gifts, they’re generally more modest than those of the first shower. But a second baby shower is always a wonderful event for celebrating a new life.
4. Select a Gift From the Registry
When parents take the time to create a baby registry, it’s usually best for guests to select gifts from that list. Doing this means you’ll give a present that the receiver wants or needs. The mom might have a color scheme she’s working with or prefer certain brands or products. The registry should include a range of gifts at different price points.
If you know the mother or her partner well and know their tastes, or if you have a special item they will appreciate, you might want to give an unregistered gift. But always include a gift receipt in case she wants to return or exchange the item. Following these guidelines benefits the giver and receiver.
5. Mingle and Keep Conversation Light
Baby showers typically last about two hours and should never go over three hours. During this time, everyone should socialize and participate in the planned games and activities.
Keep conversation light at the baby shower and avoid talking about divisive topics, as this isn’t the time or the place. Keep the focus on coming together to shower the baby with love.
Also, avoid bringing up personal and potentially touchy subjects, even if you and the mom might talk about these topics at other times. This includes subjects such as her birth plans or questions you have about her relationship with her partner. She might want to share this information with you later, but you shouldn’t bring up these topics at the shower.
6. Decide on Whether To Open Gifts at the Shower
The next etiquette tip for modern baby showers is that the mom can but doesn’t have to open gifts at the event. In the past, when showers were smaller and women-only events, it was often easier for the mom-to-be to open presents at the event.
But if you have a long guest list, you might not want to spend the time it will take to open and appreciate each present. And no matter the size of the shower, the mom might prefer to spend the entire time socializing.
If the guest of honor decides not to open gifts at the shower, let all the attendees know at the beginning. Consider telling guests that if they want the mom to open the gift at the event, she can do so with them and thank them privately.
If she decides to open gifts at the shower, make the process efficient. One person should hand her each gift, another person should take each gift from her after the opening, and one person should keep a list of who gave which item.
7. Send Personal Thank-You Notes
Finally, within two to three weeks of the baby shower, it’s time for the expecting mom or for her and her partner to send thank-you notes. Even if she opened presents and told guests thank you at the shower, this follow-up gesture gives her the opportunity to show that she appreciates her guests’ support. Send thank-you notes virtually or through the mail.
Everyone who attended should receive a thank-you note. If people pool their resources to purchase a gift, thank the givers individually. If a large group of 10 or more people, such as coworkers, coordinated to give a gift, the mom-to-be can thank them in one email.
The note can be as short as two or three sentences. The mom can thank the giver for attending the shower and tell them she appreciates their support. The guests will enjoy reading the heartfelt message, and the mom-to-be will enjoy acknowledging how much people care for her and her baby.
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