Baby Shower Invitations: Etiquette Basics

Filed under: Babies

Manners come into play in planning a baby shower. Credit: Corbis

You may have thought the days of complicated guest lists were over with your wedding, but baby shower invitations can be equally controversial, causing an already stressed mom-to-be to worry about who should -- and shouldn't -- be invited. Here's our advice for using proper etiquette when sending invites.

Consult the Guest of Honor. It's tradition for someone outside of the family to host the shower, but recent practice has made it acceptable for a sister, aunt or other close relative to do the honors. Regardless of how well you think you know the new mom, consult her before sending out the baby shower invitations. It's important that you include everyone that's important to her, and, likewise, skip anyone that may cause unnecessary drama for the mama.

Include Dad. If the father is in the picture (and wants to be part of the festivities), get his take on who should get a baby shower invitation, especially if the shower will be co-ed. A respected co-worker or family member that only Dad will remember may feel left out if uninvited. Fathers can be a precious resource in getting the scoop on a complete guest list.
Scale Back with Each Baby.
Traditional wisdom dictates that moms only get a shower for their first baby. With subsequent marriages, many years between pregnancies or the introduction of a new gender, however, it may seem like a good idea to have more than one shower as time goes on. Most guests won't scoff at the idea of going to a shower for a second, third or even fourth child, but the guest list shouldn't grow with the size of the family. Instead, send baby shower invitations for "sequel showers" to just a handful of special guests.

Send Invites Early.
Last-minute plans are no fun for anyone, and in order to avoid putting extra pressure on the guests (and the new mommy), allow at least two to three weeks for baby shower invitations to arrive before the big event. E-mail invites are acceptable, provided you can reach out to everyone on your list. For those who don't use a computer, or who you won't be able to follow up with personally, stick to traditional postal mail methods and make it easy to RSVP.

Make the Theme Clear.
While surprise baby showers aren't especially popular, they can be done with taste. Be certain that any "special requests" -- such as a surprise element, a particular theme or novelty gifts -- be communicated on the baby shower invitation itself. Requests for cash can be tacky, but do mention where the mom-to-be is registered.

Incorporate "Thanks" into the Message. Perhaps more important than the baby shower invitation, the "thank you" note can go a long way to helping make the moment special. Be sure your guest list matches up with your thank you list, and always send out a note of appreciation to everyone who attends – even if they can't afford to bring a baby shower gift.

Mostly, remember, it's the honor of the guest's presence that is most valuable. Everything else is just icing on the diaper cake!

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.