The Complete Guide to Baby Showers: What, When and How
Parents who are expecting may wonder when to have a baby shower. This is an exciting time, but it can be stressful too. If you have questions about planning a baby shower, then you’ve come to the right place.
- What is a Baby Shower?
- When to Host a Baby Shower?
- How Long Should a Baby Shower Last?
- Who Throws a Baby Shower?
- Who Should Be Invited to a Baby Shower?
- Where Is a Baby Shower Held?
- Other Important Baby Shower FAQs
- Baby Shower Checklists
What is a Baby Shower?
Baby showers are customary parties thrown in honor of a new baby and his or her proud parents. These parties are intended to be fun social occasions, but they’re also an opportunity for friends and family to “shower” the new mom and dad with gifts for their bundle of joy.
When to Host a Baby Shower?
When do people have baby showers? Near the due date or well before? The answer to this question may seem obvious, but getting the timing just right for a baby shower is crucial.
You’ll want to wait until the mom-to-be is well into her pregnancy. At the same time, you don’t want to wait too late, since the mother will become less comfortable the further along she gets.
In common, baby showers are held 4–6 weeks before the baby’s due date.
How Long Should a Baby Shower Last?
There are no hard and fast rules about exactly how long a baby shower should last. However, when planning the shower, there are some things you should keep in mind regarding the time frame. For example, the venue will influence the length of the party to some degree.
If you’re hosting at a restaurant, for instance, a couple of hours is standard. On the other hand, if the shower is at the host’s house, the event could last three hours or more. As with all aspects of the shower, it’s courteous to consult with the mom-to-be regarding her wishes about the length of the shower.
Who Throws a Baby Shower?
Baby showers are typically hosted by a close friend of the expectant mother. Etiquette dictates that close family members (e.g., mother or spouse of the mom-to-be) shouldn’t host the party. This is because many families want to avoid the appearance of asking for gifts. For this same reason, the expectant mom wouldn’t usually throw a shower for herself.
Who Should Be Invited to a Baby Shower?
The guest list is one of the most important elements of a successful baby shower. It’s important to get it right. If you miss an important family member or invite someone the expectant parent doesn’t want there, it could spell disaster.
There’s also the issue of whether to host a co-ed shower or not. Traditionally, men are not invited to baby showers, but this is changing. Recently, it’s become more common to invite the father-to-be to the shower as well as his friends and the couple’s mutual friends.
The best way to ensure the guest list is acceptable is to consult with the guest of honor—the expectant mother herself.
Before you send out any invitations (formal or otherwise), be sure to double-check with the mom-to-be.
Where Is a Baby Shower Held?
Like any party, the venue is an important aspect of a baby shower. There are many options for places to hold the event, including the host’s home, the house of the parents-to-be, a restaurant, outdoors, or even a virtual setting.
When deciding where to hold the baby shower, there are several things to keep in mind. Most importantly, you’ll want the mom-to-be to be comfortable. No matter the venue you choose, there needs to be a place for the expectant mother to sit without discomfort.
If the event is to be held during the summer months, for example, air conditioning is a must. The mom will also need room for not only personal space, but to open all the gifts that will be showered upon her during the party.
Lastly, the background setting is important. Make sure that the area is clean, pleasant looking, and free from clutter or distractions.
Other Important Baby Shower FAQs
Baby Shower Gifts
The main purpose of the party is to “shower” the mom and new baby with gifts, right? Then, you’ll definitely want to read up on gifting etiquette for these types of events. Here are some questions baby shower attendees (and guests of honor) tend to have prior to the big day:
What is a gift registry, and do I have to use one?
A gift registry for a baby shower is a list of gifts and prices provided by a retailer and chosen by the expectant parents. It is intended to give shower guests an idea of what exactly the new parents need for their baby.
It is not required that new parents register with a store or make a registry. Nor is it required that guests purchase a gift off of the registry if there is one.
Gift registries can be helpful since they ensure that new moms and dads don’t receive duplicate or unnecessary gifts.
Should a gift be purchased if the invited guest can’t attend the shower?
If an invited guest is unable to attend the shower, he or she still has the option of sending the new family a gift, but it is not mandatory. If you do want to send a gift, you can do so prior to the shower so the expectant mom can open it along with her other gifts. Alternatively, you could wait until the baby is born and then send a gift. Either option is perfectly acceptable.
When should “thank-you” notes be sent?
Whenever one receives a gift, a thank-you note is a nice gesture. Baby shower gifts are no exception. It is customary that these notes are sent within two to three weeks after the event.
Themes, Decorations, and Games
There’s so much that goes into planning a baby shower. After all, it is a very special occasion! When planning this momentous event, consider the following frequently asked questions about baby shower themes, decorations, and games.
Does the baby shower have to have a theme?
While a theme is a cute idea for a baby shower, it is entirely optional. Still, giving the party a theme can be a great way of organizing other elements of the party like food, decorations, and games, for instance.
To choose a theme, think of something that the parents-to-be love such as a hobby, TV show, or passion. Alternatively, you could plan the party around a cute animal, the season the baby is to be born in, or a popular kids’ movie, for example.
What are some must-have baby shower decorations?
Decorations for a baby shower can be simple or elaborate. It’s really just a matter of taste and of course, budget. Some popular types of decorations include balloons, streamers, and banners. If the shower has a theme, choosing decorations will be a lot easier (and possibly more fun too!).
Are games mandatory for a baby shower?
Absolutely not! As with many other common elements of a baby shower, games are entirely optional. Still, these fun activities provide nice ice-breakers for guests who don’t know each other well. They can also be a good way for the mom-to-be to relieve some pre-labor jitters.
If you do want to play games during the shower, consider popular ideas like baby shower bingo or diaper relay. You could also have guests share parenting advice anonymously, and then have the mom-to-be guess whose words of wisdom she’s reading!
Baby Shower Food
It’s customary to serve some type of food at the shower. Here are some things to consider regarding the menu for the big day.
Is an entire meal served at a baby shower?
Sometimes, but it’s more common to serve finger foods and dessert. If you do want to serve a meal, consider the time of day as well as any allergies or dietary restrictions guests may have when planning the menu.
Is a cake a must-have?
No, although it is common. Cakes are popular baby shower desserts because they can be decorated according to the theme, and they serve many guests. Still, cupcakes are a close second for the most popular baby shower confection.
Who provides the food at a baby shower?
Typically, the host provides all of the food for the shower. Still, if he or she is on a budget or there is a large number of guests, it may be acceptable to ask other guests to either pitch in monetarily or bring a dish to the party.
Baby Shower Checklists
Whether you’re hosting a baby shower or having one thrown for you, baby showers have the potential to be stressful. You can reduce any nerves by making a checklist of things to do prior to the event. Then, check these tasks off one by one leading up to party day.
If you’ve found our tips helpful in planning your shower, be sure to share the info with your friends and contacts!
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