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Baby Shower Etiquette & Gift Ideas

What better way to celebrate the new arrival than with a fun baby shower? With a little knowledge and a good plan, this can be a wonderful event that will leave warm memories for all.

Here are some answers to common baby shower etiquette questions and some general advice that will ensure an excellent time for all.

Who should throw a baby shower?

Anyone except the expectant. Formal etiquette dictates that a non-relative must throw the shower to avoid having it look as though the family is asking for presents. But really any relative, close friend, or particularly close co-worker should feel perfectly okay about planning a baby shower. Mothers, co-workers, friends, sisters, cousins and so on.

When should we have the party?

Baby showers are normally given anywhere between the seventh and ninth month. You don't want to have the party too close to the due date just in case she delivers earlier than expected. But, at the same time, its fun when she has a large belly at the party, so don't host it too early. Check with the mom to see what works for her.

Who should be invited?

If you're hosting the shower, you may have some ideas about the guest list, but it's best to consult with the guest or guests of honor before sending any invitations. That way you avoid leaving out someone important or inviting someone mom or dad really would rather not include.

If the shower is for a second or subsequent baby, the guest list is usually made up of close friends and family and anyone who was, for whatever the reason, not invited to the first shower.

Another party-planning consideration: Think long and hard before choosing to throw a surprise party. If your guest of honor doesn't like surprises, you may be putting her in an awkward position. Besides, if you let the future parents in on the arrangements, you can be confident that they'll be pleased with the outcome.

Where should it be held?

Most baby showers are held in someone's home. But, restuarants, churches, and parks can all be nice places to hold the party. It depends on your budget and how comfortable you feel having the party in your home.

Who Pays for the Shower?

The person that plans and invites the guests pays and it is usually considered her gift. Often times, several people will get together and share the expenses. Potlucks are not only fun but budget-saving, as well.

Here is a guideline on the do's and don'ts of hosting a party. The main thing to keep in mind is your guests comfort.

Do's

  • Send invitations in a timely manner. Always give enough time for guests to RSVP.
  • Include directions in the invitations
  • Greet all guests at the door as they arrive.
  • Provide name tags if you have a large attendance.
  • Introduce guests to one another at the beginning of the party. If you have a seating arrangement, sit people together who know each other or have something in common.
  • Provide tables for your guests to sit and eat if a meal is planned. Please don't expect them to eat with their plate in their lap.
  • Bring the gifts to the mom-to-be as she opens gifts. She shouldn't have to carry anything - especially anything heavy.
  • Write down which guest gave a certain gift. This will help the mom-to-be when it comes time to send thank you cards.
  • Be sure to have enough party favors on hand. A little extra is good just in case!
  • Get the party started on time and keep events moving at a good pace. You would be surprised just how long it can take to eat, open presents, play games, talk and eat cake.
  • Walk guests to the door as they leave.

Don'ts

  • "Attend" the party - meaning: you should run the party, not sit back and relax.
  • Eat before your guests do. Serve the mom-to-be first, then guests, then yourself.
  • Leave first. It's considered rude.
  • Exclude inviting guests that the mom-to-be wishes would be there.
  • Forget to thank guests for coming as they leave.

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