With social norms changing so rapidly, it’s challenging to know what the “right” thing to do is in any situation — and baby showers are no exception.
There’s nothing wrong with starting your own traditions, but if you want to stick with established expectations, we’re here to help.
Between us, we’ve been to dozens of baby showers. Whether at-home baby showers or others in “posh” venues, female-only or mixed-gender get-togethers, large or small, we’ve seen them all.
So, don’t faux pas; follow our guide to modern baby shower etiquette, and you’ll be blunder-free.
- Baby showers are typically held 6 weeks before the due date, but can be adjusted based on the mom-to-be’s preferences.
- Showers can be hosted by a friend, relative, or even the expectant mother’s family; it’s common to share the planning and financial responsibilities.
- Invitations should be based on the mom-to-be’s preferences, and showers for second children or adopted/fostered children are also acceptable.
- Virtual baby showers are a great alternative, especially for those with friends and family far away; just make sure to plan accordingly for technology and time zones.
Baby Shower Etiquette: What You Should Know
Baby showers, as we know them, are a relatively modern invention. Thought to have begun in the U.S. in the 1940s or 1950s, they do not have deeply rooted traditions. This means you can feel free to mix things up a bit and treat this as a guide to what has become the norm, rather than a rule book to follow.
How to Host a Virtual Baby Shower
With families and friends being scattered far and wide, virtual baby showers are becoming more popular. Not only do they allow you to include those who can’t travel, but it also means people can save their visit until after the baby is born.
To host a virtual baby shower:
- When guests are further away, be sure to check local time zones. Use your time zone on invitations, and ensure the shower is at a time that works for everyone.
- Begin by deciding who to invite. If any guests are uncomfortable with virtual events, pair them up with another guest who would be willing to spend the shower with them in person, in their home, and help out.
- Create a quick how-to guide so everyone can attend without difficulty. When you send the invitation, ask if anyone requires tech support.
- Set a timetable for games, and keep things short. This will minimize the chance of people becoming bored. You can share a rough timetable to help people better prepare themselves.
- Be aware that sites like Zoom have time limits on free rooms, so you may need to go for a paid option if you want a more extended event.
- Do a dry run ahead of time. This will help you identify any issues with virtual baby shower games.
- Consider sending a small box of decorations, props for games, snacks, or recipes for food and drink to each guest. This allows everyone to enjoy a similar experience and feels more like a party than a meeting.
- Decide how to deal with gifts. Do you want people to send them directly to mom so she can open them on camera, have guests hold them up to the camera, and send them to mom later on, or exclude the gifts from the shower entirely?
Wanting to do the “right” thing when planning or attending a baby shower is totally understandable. Nobody wants to be “that” person who does the wrong thing and casts a cloud over the festivities.
However, try not to fret too much. Read through our guide to baby shower etiquette a few times, take a deep breath, try to relax, and enjoy yourself.
And if something does go “wrong,” tell everyone you’re a trendsetter, mixing it up, establishing new traditions, and laying down the path they can all follow if they dare.