Baby Shower Protocol! — Holly Holden (2024)

Your darling questions inspire me. Here is one about baby showers!

“Mrs. Holden, my friends and I are in our late 20s/ early 30s and are entering the season of babies, which is lovely, but we can’t seem to find any “guidance” on baby showers and registries. We are sooo excited to read your replies to our questions and are truly so grateful! Xoxo Mary Claire”

Here are her questions:

Who should host the shower?

Any member of the immediate family (especially the mother) should NOT host a baby shower before the baby is born. This old-school secret code is still relevant today because it appears audacious, as if the expectant mother just wants presents, which is self-serving by having her immediate family host the party for her. But, if a friend (or a distant relative) hosts the shower, their only interest is to provide the bride or expectant mother with an opportunity to share this wonderful event with family and friends!

Note: There is a way around this traditional rule of thumb! If no friends have offered to host the shower for reasons such as the expense or even the venue size required, and a family member wants to host the shower, they may ask a dear friend to act as the hostess in their stead and then, the immediate family member offers to pay for the expenses of the shower privately to the friend.

What is the difference between a baby shower and a “Sip & See” party?

A “Sip & See” party occurs after the baby is born. So, then a mother or immediate family member may indeed host this event! Gifts are not expected for this type of event, but if guests choose to bring a gift, that is their prerogative. But, who can resist not bringing a gift to a newborn?! A silver frame with the name and date of the baby’s birth or a bespoke baby pillow or blanket embroidered with the baby’s name and birth date are all well-thought-out gifts.

How far into pregnancy should you have the shower?

A baby shower can take place anytime before the baby is born. It is really up to the expectant Mum as to what she is comfortable with, and this needs to be discussed with the hostess who is planning the shower.

Should we have registries for a shower?

It is inappropriate to have any reference or mention of a gift registry on any invitation. Here is what is done: The new Mum can register at a few places or simply make a small list of items that would be helpful and then share this information with the hostess. If guests wish, they can contact the event hostess and ask if there is a gift registry or anything in particular that the new Mum needs.

What is too weird or inappropriate to register for?

I do not condone anything too “personal,” i.e., anything to do with Mum’s body, like a breast pump or pads, etc. Anything too mundane should be avoided on a registry, such as diapers, wipes, etc.

What is polite to register for? And what are thoughtful shower gifts to give?

Baby clothes, blankets, sheets, toys, swings, a carrying apparatus, furniture, decorative accessories for the baby’s room, sound monitors, bath time appurtenances, changing tables, strollers, and car seats are all helpful items for a new Mum to receive. One gift I will always remember fondly, which was given to our firstborn daughter, was a handpainted bookcase. All of the guests brought their favorite children's/baby books, inscribed, to fill the shelves.

Is a shower for a second child appropriate?

If someone wishes to host a shower for a second child, heaven bless them! If the mother knows the gender of the baby is different from the first, then it is especially helpful to have a shower in their honor. For the third child (and on and on), I think a “Sip & See” party is more appropriate than a baby shower because a gift is not expected.

GrandMillennial Tips:

~As the guest of honor, choose a meaningful thank-you gift to give your hostess when you arrive, and be sure to arrive before the guests enter!

It is thoughtful to stand at the door with the hostess and introduce your friends and family to her as they enter.

~It is considerate to hold off opening the baby gifts until the dessert is served, or not at all. I attended a shower with over fifty ladies, and the gift-opening portion took over two hours! While it is lovely to see what gifts have been given, along with the joy on the recipient’s face, I think it is rather cheeky to take up too much of your guests’ time when it is a large gathering.

~A gracious gesture for the guest of honor (the expectant Mum) is to make a point of standing up once everyone has gathered to thank the hostess, as well as the guests attending. She can make a point of sharing how excited she is to have them be a part of her new child’s life. Also, the hostess may announce that everyone is welcome to stay while the gifts are opened but will understand if they need to leave.

Finally, it is paramount to write a heartfelt thank-you note to your hostess and pop it in the mail the VERY NEXT day! Write a thank-you note to each guest for their gift as soon as you can… because once your darling baby is born, you will be a VERY busy Mum!



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Baby Shower Protocol!  — Holly Holden (2024)


What is the protocol for a baby shower? ›

A typical baby shower includes playing games, watching the mother-to-be open gifts, eating, and drinking. However, games aren't a must. Some baby shower hosts and hostesses are foregoing the typical games in favor of other activities. Ask the expecting mother what she thinks about games and what she would like to do!

Who should not host a baby shower? ›

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.

What happens if no one offers to host a baby shower? ›

Subtly mention to your mom, sister, mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and best friends that no one has offered to throw you a shower. Sometimes people are happy to throw one for you, but they just assume that someone else has already offered. This will give them an opening to offer on their own.

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

Traditionally, close friends, cousins, aunts, sisters-in-law, or co-workers of the mother-to-be hosted baby showers.

How many games should be played at a baby shower? ›

Baby Shower Overview

There are usually 3-5 different games lasting for another 30-45 minutes. After all of the games have been played and prizes awarded, the guest of honor opens her gifts. Then cake is served and the party ends. As a host, your day might start with preparing the food to be served at the shower.

Do grandmothers give baby showers? ›

When grandparents-to-be live too far away to attend the baby shower, a grandma shower can be a way for them—and other relatives—to celebrate together and gather gifts that'll be sent to the baby. Grandma showers are celebratory. A traditional baby shower is a party—and so is a grandma shower!

Who is traditionally responsible for a baby shower? ›

According to tradition, baby showers are typically hosted by a friend or distant relative (like a cousin or an aunt) instead of an immediate family member.

Do you have to give party favors at a baby shower? ›

Party favors are by no means a requirement for throwing a baby shower. Don't feel obligated to blow your budget out of the water.

Do people open gifts at baby showers anymore? ›

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.

What month to throw a baby shower? ›

As a fast rule, baby showers are often held at the end of the second trimester or early to midway through the third trimester — usually four to six weeks before the due date.

Can a mom throw a baby shower for her daughter? ›

HELEN'S ANSWER: It is awkward for a mother to host a baby shower for her daughter because gifts are involved. If you are an immediate family member having the party, it is like you are watching to see who gives what gift. It is much better for a close friend to have the party.

Who not to invite to your baby shower? ›

The modern baby shower has no strict rules: You can invite whoever the family wants to be included. Just be sure to clearly state whether or not you're accommodating +1's.

Who do baby showers honor? ›

Traditionally, the mother-to-be is the guest of honor at the baby shower. That said, if you're hosting a couples' shower, then you should list both parents as the guests of honor.

Do I take a gift to a baby shower? ›

Baby showers are well and truly part of the fabric of pregnancy over here now, and it's definitely the norm to bring a gift. Often those closest to the mum-to-be (or dad-to-be) will have gone all out on the venue, theme and decorations so it's usually expected that guests bring a gift, unless explicitly told not to.

What is the tradition of a baby shower? ›

The modern baby shower originated during the 1950's baby boom in the USA. The purpose of the celebration was (and still is) to give the mother-to-be much-needed baby items. The name baby shower comes from 'showering the mother with gifts and love'.

Whose responsibility is it to host a baby shower? ›

In fact, it's usually considered perfectly acceptable for a sibling, in-laws, or even the guest of honor's parents to host or co-host a baby shower. It's still unusual for a parent-to-be to host their own shower, though.


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