A Complete Guide to Baby Shower Etiquette (2024)

When it comes to baby shower etiquette, there are very few hard-and-fast rules (besides the ones that govern good manners — like being gracious when you're opening gifts, no matter how impractical they are!).

Still,baby showers are such a tradition — that's how new parents can make a dent in the slew of stuff they'll need when the baby arrives, after all — that there are some guidelines to make it easier for the guest of honor (you) and the hosts to plan a memorable occasion.

Here are some tips to get the party started and help you feel more prepared.

Who hosts a baby shower?

The point of a baby shower is for your community to "shower" you with gifts. Typically, a close friend or family member will throw your shower, but coworkers or another loved one can host the party.

While every baby shower is unique, the host usually takes care of organizing everything — so you can sit back and enjoy being celebrated.

Can you throw your own baby shower?

Typical baby shower etiquette dictates that the parents-to-be shouldn't throw their own party since doing so could be perceived as asking for gifts. If you're worried that no one will offer to throw a baby shower for you, talk to a close friend or a relative and, if you're comfortable doing so, ask her to take the reins.

But again, there are no hard-and-fast rules — if no one is available or you simply prefer to host the event yourself, feel free to do so.

Who should be invited to a baby shower?

Anyone can be invited to your baby shower. This includes as few or as many of your grandparents, parents, siblings, aunts, cousins, friends, neighbors and coworkers as you'd like, as well as those of your partner. (Coed baby showers are growing increasingly popular!)

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Try to keep in mind your host's budget and comfort level when discussing the guest list with her so things don't get out of hand.

Where should you host a baby shower?

Baby showers are often held at someone's home, but other venue options include restaurants, country clubs, hotels and event spaces. You can also host a baby shower outdoors in a park or at the beach. Pick a place where you can fully enjoy the event.

If your baby shower is virtual, be sure that wherever you join in from has a strong WiFi signal so you don't lose the call and miss out on any moments.

How long should a baby shower be?

There's no set length of time for a baby shower. If you consider all that might be included — a meal or light refreshments,games and opening gifts — about two hours is a good guideline for in-person baby showers. You don't want to exhaust the expectant parent.

Virtual baby showerscan be shorter, about a half hour to an hour, because Zoom fatigue can come on fast.

Who pays for a baby shower?

Most often, the host pays for the baby shower. This is not always one person. For example, several aunts and cousins might cover the full tab of a shower at a restaurant, or a group of coworkers may help coordinate all the decorations, food and fun.

What's expected of the parents-to-be at their baby shower?

Your only job at your baby shower is to be a gracious guest of honor and gift recipient. But you may want to give your host a break and pitch in with (or at least offer) the following:

  • Baby shower party favors. You don't have to offer these, but giving the guests a few small, inexpensive trinkets can be a nice thing to do. Some ideas include tasty treats (like chocolates or themed candy), pretty soap or small potted plants.
  • Refreshments. You don't want to be hungry at your own party, after all, so ask the host how you can help out with the food and drinks. If you're planning a more budget-friendly or casual party, you can suggest that each guest bring an appetizer or a dish to share.

Is it okay to have more than one baby shower?

Definitely! Friends, coworkers and family are as excited about your new baby as you are, and chances are they want to shower you with gifts. Since it's up to others to throw the shower, you can have as many or as few as you like.

Plus, since your inner (and outer) circle might be scattered all over the place, having multiple showers in different areas might be more convenient for some of your guests. For instance, you might have one baby shower during the work day with coworkers, a specialthemed baby shower on the weekend with your relatives and a larger, more relaxed shower at a park with friends.

What about baby showers for subsequent pregnancies?Baby sprinkles, or baby showers for second- and third-time parents, have become more common only recently, so if your friends, family or coworkers want to throw showers for all your beautiful babes, why stop them? Keep in mind that it's particularly helpful to create a sprinkle registry, because depending on when you had the first child, you may not need a load of supplies — only a mountain of diapers!

Want to skip the gifts this time? Ask the friend throwing the party to indicate on theshower invitations that you want only the pleasure of their company.

Can I register for baby shower gifts?

Creating a baby registry is a great way to identify the items you'll need before your little one arrives. While some guests like to do their own thing and go off-list (or make a DIY baby shower gift), many of your guests will likely appreciate the guidance and want to gift you items that you need. Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating a registry:

  • Pick a reasonably priced store. If your guests want to spend more money, they'll take the initiative to upgrade or get more than one item, but you don't want to put guests in the position of spending more than they're comfortable with. And for their convenience, aim for an online retailer or major chain store with an online registry so guests don't have to go out of their way to find a boutique baby shop.
  • Request mostly modest gifts.Register for onesies, bibs, socks, blankets and baby-care essentials, but you might opt to take care of the crib,car seat or other expensive baby gear yourself. Another option is to set big-ticket gear as a "group gift" on your online registry so guests can contribute as much or as little as they're comfortable spending.
  • Notify the guests on the invitation.Create your baby registry before invitations are sent out, and ask the shower host to include a note that tells guests where you're registered.

When should you send baby shower thank-you notes?

It's always a good idea to send thank-you notes in a timely manner if you can. For baby shower thank-you cards in particular, sooner rather than later is smart — you don't want to have the task hanging over you after your little one arrives!

While baby shower etiquette is not set in stone and you should always do what you are comfortable with, these tips can help you think through your options and feel more prepared for your shower. Hopefully, you'll be able to enjoy every minute while your loved ones celebrate you and baby.

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A Complete Guide to Baby Shower Etiquette (2024)


What is the etiquette for a baby shower? ›

Once you're at the event, good baby shower etiquette includes keeping conversation encouraging and lighthearted! Avoid making comments about how big her third-trimester belly is or bringing up controversial topics like parenting styles, birth methods, discipline, or breastfeeding!

Who is supposed to give the mother-to-be a baby shower? ›

Because gifts are central to showers, having a member of the honoree's (or husband's) immediate family host appeared self-serving. Today it is appropriate for anyone to host a baby shower, as long as there's a legitimate reason.

Who typically pays for a baby shower? ›

Who Traditionally Pays for a Baby Shower? The hostess traditionally pays for the baby shower and its associated costs. However, the hostess can divide up the responsibility and costs by asking a few close family members or friends to co-host.

Who should not host a baby shower? ›

“Traditionally, the mother or immediate family member would not host a baby shower to avoid looking as if you are pandering for gifts,” said Diane Gottsman, an etiquette expert and corporate trainer specializing in adult behavior.

Is it rude to not open gifts at a baby 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.

Should a mother throw her daughter a baby shower? ›

Typical baby shower etiquette dictates that the parents-to-be shouldn't throw their own party since doing so could be perceived as asking for gifts.

Should a mother host a baby shower for her daughter? ›

Most baby showers should be hosted by a sister, mother, mother-in-law, or close friend. Baby showers were traditionally thrown by family members who weren't close with the parents-to-be, to avoid the assumption that close family members wanted to collect gifts for themselves.

Does the dad go to the baby shower? ›

While traditional baby showers consist of women only, co-ed baby showers are becoming more and more common. However, if you're looking to throw a traditional baby shower and still have the dad-to-be attend, this is completely acceptable and appropriate as most dad-to-be's will want to thank guests before they leave.

What not to say at a baby shower? ›

19 Things You Shouldn't Say At A Baby Shower
  • "Don't you miss drinking?" ...
  • "I would never bring a child into this world right now." ...
  • "Are you afraid you're going to tear?" ...
  • "Have you thought about naming the baby after your father-in-law, Herb?" ...
  • "This game is kind of dumb." ...
  • "I understand EXACTLY what you're going through!
Mar 18, 2014

How long should a baby shower be? ›

A baby shower usually lasts 2-3 hours. Budget about 30-45 minutes at the beginning for guests to arrive, nibble on some food, and mingle with one another before the games / entertainment begin. Spend the next 30-45 minutes playing games. And the rest of the time having cake and opening gifts.

Do grandmothers give baby showers? ›

They feel that, along with close friends, cousins, and coworkers, it is now appropriate for anyone, grandparents-to-be included, to host a baby shower as long as there's a good reason.

How many people should I invite to a baby shower? ›

How Many People Should Attend a Baby Shower. Every baby shower is different, but most ladies agree that 15 to 30 is the perfect number of ladies at a typical baby shower or about 30-40 for a coed. These numbers change depending on the size of the family, number of friends, and even work colleagues involved.

How to split the cost of a baby shower? ›

So it is normal for the cost to be split between the host and the key organisers. This way the cost is shared with her closest family and friends. Guests are not expected to pay for attending the baby shower. Especially since they will already be spending money on a baby shower present.

Do you bring a gift to a baby shower? ›

However, for various reasons, it can be more beneficial to send the gift directly to the recipient instead. If that's the case, you should still bring something with you to the shower; that can be a book for the baby, a package of diapers, or even a bottle of wine for the host.

Do you honor the baby or parents at the baby shower? ›

The Guest of Honor: who do you honor on a baby shower invite? It may or may not seem obvious, but the mom-to-be or the parents-to-be are the guests of honors at baby showers. If the baby shower is more traditional where only women are invited then the guest of honor will be the mom-to-be.

What to wear to a baby shower as a guest? ›

A dress and casual shoes makes an easy baby shower guest outfit. A dress is often my go-to for events like this. If you wear with a pair of casual shoes, like a slip on sandal, and then pair with a casual jacket, you'll feel comfortable whether the dress code is a little more casual or dressy.


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