Having a baby means a lot of things. It means prenatal vitamins, lamas classes, eating the right foods, exercising, decorating nurseries, and BABY SHOWERS! A most time honored tradition, every woman looks forward to her baby shower. Sisters, girlfriends, moms, aunts, and grandmothers all sitting around “cooing, oohing, and ahhing” over the little toys and tiny clothes. It can be an expecting girl’s dream come true, or a total nightmare. Yes, unfortunate as it may be, modern society has a set of rules and standards to go by when throwing a bash of this sort. And while some of us may be brave enough to say “etiquette-Schmetiquette” and go about our day, others feel the need to play along. So three cheers to the rule breakers, but the rest of us are going to go over a little Baby Shower Etiquette 101.
As hostess, it is your responsibility to (1) pick out the perfect cards, (2) address them properly (and include any necessary info), (3) get them out on time(at least two weeks before the event is suitable), and (4) pick up thank you notes that match while you’re at it!
Make sure you make a list of everyone you want to invite. If anyone get’s left off, there may be hurt feelings and awkward moments later on. A good way to ensure everyone is account for is to briefly go over the list with the expectant mother. Not only is it polite to get her approval on a guest list for a party that is, ultimately, for her, but she will be the one to notice if you have inadvertently omitted a family member or close friend.
And always, always, always try to invite your guests using the actual invitation. It may seem more convenient to simply pop over to Mrs. Applegrove when you spot her at the market, but it isn’t all that convenient for her. Now she has had the burden of remembering that tid-bit of information all the way home until she has a pen and paper. If you must invite someone in person, have their filled out/enveloped invitation in hand.
General Party Planning
Don’t ever expect the expecting to help out with the planning (other than vetoing the guest list, of course). This is her day to be pampered before the new baby comes along and takes up all of her time and her family’s attention.
Pay attention to detail. Theme is important, but the activity list and snack food preparation will need to be at the top of your list. Find out what foods the soon to be mother likes (without having her plan the whole menu), and then fill the rest of the table with generally well-liked traditional party foods. Cookies, little cakes, chips and dip (depending on the formality of your theme, of course), and other treats are excellent for baby showers. You might consider a small sheet cake decorated appropriately to grace the center of the table, while also taking care of at least half the menu.
Here a few simple do’s and don’ts for the actual event:
Do set out a few extra chairs. Uninvited guests should never feel awkward or unwelcome. A gracious hostess always has room for one or two more, even if she really doesn’t.
Don’t forget to introduce all of your guests to the growing group as they arrive. Not everyone may know each other. Depending again on the formality of your theme, it may be acceptable to use name tags. However, this should really only be used for large parties. Take time to be personable and learn the names of your guests when you are hostess of a small party.
Don’t force your shy guests to interact or play games if they are uncomfortable. Though they may be missing out on the fun, it is only your responsibility to make them feel comfortable and unembarrassed.
Do keep the ball rolling with conversation, games, tasteful jokes and stories, etc. Never rely on your guests to hold up the conversation. You are the moderator, so get in there and moderate!
Don’t upset the mother with trivial concerns such as food falling on the floor, an unhappy or unsociable guest, etc. No matter what happens, you must remain calm and smiling. Keep the mother happy, and the party will be a success.
Thank You Cards
When the party is over, a thank you card is both expected and desired. It is always nice to thank the guest for their specific gift, but if for some reason it is unclear to you what they brought, then simply thank them for their gift (speaking generically), and then thank them for coming. You may write a few personal or pleasant words over what a pleasure it was that they attended, or how lovely it was when they stayed to help clean. For those that attended, but did not bring a gift, simply tell them it was a pleasure having them and you were ever so glad they came.
To ensure that gifts are not misplaced or unaccounted for, you might consider taking a few notes during the party as to who gave what to whom.
You must send the cards within 2 to 3 weeks of the shower. Waiting too long takes away from the impact and causes the party to feel unresolved. Many guests may go around telling others they never got a thank you note, and forget to correct their remarks when it arrives 5 weeks or more later.
Again, these formalities aren’t for everyone, but if you are interested in having a traditional baby shower, these tips will guarantee your success as a traditional hostess.
This blog post was provided by Stephanie Parker - our blog writer extraordinaire!