Baby Shower Etiquette: Essential Do's and Don'ts for Guests and Hosts

Baby Shower Etiquette: Essential Do's and Don'ts for Guests and Hosts

Attending or hosting a baby shower often comes with its own set of social expectations and traditions. Navigating the dos and don'ts can seem daunting, but understanding baby shower etiquette is key to ensuring a respectful and enjoyable celebration for everyone involved.

From the moment the invitations are sent out to the time the last gift is unwrapped, certain norms help guide the behavior of hosts and guests alike.

baby shower favor sign

When planning a baby shower, it’s important for the host to consider the preferences and needs of the expectant parents. This includes deciding on the guest list, choosing an appropriate theme, and managing RSVPs timely.

The host also plays a crucial role in setting the atmosphere for the event, which can range from casual to formal based on the parents’ wishes.

Always be mindful of the sentiments and experiences of the guests of honor throughout the event.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding proper baby shower etiquette ensures a respectful celebration.
  • Hosts must consider the expectant parents’ preferences and organize accordingly.

Planning the Baby Shower

When you're planning a baby shower, your to-do list is going to include setting a date, working out a realistic budget, deciding on a location, and compiling the guest list. Let's break it down to keep things simple and stress-free.

Choosing the Date

Pick a date 2 to 3 months before the due date to give the parents-to-be time to organize gifts post-party.

Consider key holidays and avoid potential conflicts to ensure maximum attendance.

It's a good idea to:

  • Confirm with the parents-to-be for a preferred date
  • Check holidays and major events to avoid clashes
  • Send out save-the-dates early, especially for out-of-towners

Setting the Budget

Calculate your budget before any major decision-making. This keeps things real and ensures you don't overspend. Remember:

  • Venue, food, and decor are top costs.
  • DIY decorations or an appetizer menu can help to save money.
  • Have close friends and family help with decor and food.

Picking a Venue

Choose a venue based on your guest count, budget, and desired atmosphere.

Options may vary from an intimate gathering at a home to booking a spot at restaurants or country clubs. Consider:

  • Ease of access for guests
  • Amenities offered, like parking and seating
  • The possibility for a virtual component for distant friends

Creating the Guest List

Build your guest list in collaboration with the parents-to-be, considering personal and cultural preferences. Include steps like:

  • Begin with close family and friends, then extend if the budget allows.
  • Clearly mention if children or plus-ones are welcome.
  • Utilize RSVPs to manage the final headcount efficiently.

By focusing on these areas, you'll be able to plan a memorable baby shower that honors the parents-to-be and welcomes the new arrival.

Invitations and Decor

Printable Hot Air Balloon Baby Shower Invitation - Customizable Pink, Girl Baby Shower Invitation Template Instant Download - Print It Baby

When planning a baby shower, your invitations set the tone, and your decor brings the celebration to life. These elements are key to intriguing and delighting your guests.

Designing the Invitations

Theme: Match your invitations to the overall theme of the baby shower.

This could be as simple as using color palettes that align with the baby's gender or more elaborate graphics that hint at the nursery's decor. Use clear fonts for readability, ensuring the important details stand out.

Essential Information: Each invitation should include:

  • The name of the expectant mother or parents.
  • The location of the baby shower.
  • The date and time of the event.
  • RSVP instructions with a deadline.
  • Indication if it's a surprise.
  • A note about registry information, if applicable.

Decor Themes and Ideas

Gender-Specific or Gender-Neutral: Depending on whether the parents-to-be have revealed the baby's gender, you can opt for traditional pink or blue themes or go for gender-neutral colors like yellow or green.


Theme Type Color Scheme Decor Elements
Gender-Specific Pinks/Blues Balloons, Confetti, Banners
Gender-Neutral Yellows/Greens/Grays Lanterns, Streamers, Garlands
Bold and Modern Bright Colors, Geometric Patterns Modern Art Pieces, Bold Tableware
Soft and Classic Pastel Tones, Floral Patterns Delicate Centerpieces, Soft Fabrics


Create an Atmosphere: Use decorations to create a welcoming and festive atmosphere. Incorporate greenery, flowers, soft lighting, and thematic table centerpieces. Culminate with a focal point, like a beautifully decorated chair for the guest of honor.

Sending Out Invitations

Timing: Send out your baby shower invitations 4-6 weeks in advance. This gives your guests ample time to RSVP and ensures a better turnout.

RSVPs: Encourage prompt RSVPs by including a clear deadline and multiple ways to respond—email, phone, or a dedicated event page.


Method Advantages
Email Convenient, easy to organize responses
Phone Personal, good for less tech-savvy guests
Event Page Centralized, simplifies updates and reminders

Hosting and Etiquette

When hosting a baby shower, your aim is to honor the guest of honor—the mom-to-be—while ensuring the event is enjoyable and runs smoothly. You'll want to pay close attention to key aspects of hosting, including roles, comfort, and etiquette surrounding gifts and games.

Roles and Responsibilities

As the host, you're the maestro of the event, orchestrating details from invitations to refreshments. If you're a family member or a friend taking on this role, you must:

  • Coordination: Lead the planning and execution of the shower—coordinate the date, venue, and guest list with the expectant mom.
  • Communication: Be the point of contact for guests, managing RSVPs and answering questions about the shower.

Guest of Honor Comfort

The mom-to-be should feel like the star of the shower. Some tips for ensuring her comfort are:

  • Seating: Provide a comfortable chair for her as she'll be greeting guests and possibly opening gifts for long periods.
  • Preferences: Take into account her food preferences and any other needs specific to her pregnancy.

Etiquette for Gifts and Games

Gifts and games are a staple of baby showers, but etiquette is key:

  • Gift Expectations: If the mom-to-be has a registry, share it with guests. It's acceptable to coordinate a group gift if this is preferred.
  • Opening Gifts: Decide if gifts will be opened during the shower. If so, make it an enjoyable part of the event, not a drawn-out process.
  • Games: Choose baby shower games that are inclusive and consider providing small prizes to add to the fun.

Post-Shower Etiquette

After the baby shower, it’s crucial to express your gratitude and acknowledge the generosity of your guests. You've likely received a variety of gifts that will help you prepare for your new arrival.

Thank You Notes

You should send out thank you notes within two weeks of the shower. Here’s how to make each note personal:

  • Begin with the guest’s name.
  • Express thanks specifically for the gift or favor.
  • Mention how you plan to use the baby gear or other items.
  • Close with a warm sign-off.

For example:

Dear [Guest Name],
Thank you so much for the adorable baby onesies and the heartfelt card. Our little one will be snug and stylish, thanks to you! We appreciate your kindness and support as we embark on this exciting journey.
Warm wishes,
[Your Name]

Gift Acknowledgements

If you opened gifts in front of your guests, they received immediate acknowledgment of their presents. However, it's still polite to follow up.

Guidelines for Gift Acknowledgements:

  • Have a close friend write down each gift next to the giver's name to remember who gave what.
  • Acknowledge the thought behind each gift in your thank you note.
  • Share a personal touch, like how the baby's room will be decorated with the gift.

A well-thought thank you card is a nice way to show you cherish the thought and time put into each present.

Remember, it’s not just about the gift but also the goodwill behind it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Understanding baby shower etiquette ensures your celebration is joyful and stress-free.

These FAQs cover the essentials of hosting and attending baby showers.

Who traditionally hosts the baby shower?

Traditionally, a close friend or family member other than an immediate family member hosts the baby shower to avoid the appearance of the family asking for gifts.

However, this is becoming more flexible, and it's not uncommon for a sister or mother-to-be to take on this role.

Is it appropriate to have a baby shower for a second or subsequent child?

Yes, it's appropriate to celebrate every new baby.

While some opt for a smaller "baby sprinkle" for subsequent children, any size baby shower is acceptable. It's about welcoming the new addition to the family.

What is considered proper etiquette for inviting guests to a baby shower?

Proper etiquette entails sending invitations three to six weeks in advance, either by mail or digitally.

You should invite close friends, family, and co-workers.

Ensure to respect the parents-to-be's wishes regarding the guest list size and any specific groups they want or don't want to include.

Should gifts be expected at every baby shower, even if it's not the first?

Gifts are common at baby showers, regardless of whether it's for the first or subsequent children.

If the parents have a specific preference, such as no gifts or donations to a charity, this should be clearly stated in the invitation.

How should the costs of a baby shower be handled?

Costs are typically covered by the host, but it's becoming more common for multiple people to contribute — either by co-hosting or by dividing expenses.

It's important to establish a budget at the beginning to avoid any single person bearing the full financial burden.

What are the guidelines around involving the grandmother in the baby shower?

Grandmothers can be as involved as you want. They often play significant roles in planning or can simply be honored guests.

Make sure to communicate clearly to establish their role and involve them in a way that brings joy to the celebration.

Back to blog