How Can I Invite Relatives to a Baby Shower Without Making them Feeling Pressured to Attend?

Take the pressure off guests with this simple tip.

Photo by Barry Austin/Getty Images

Q. My niece, who lives near me in the Midwest, would like to invite my son’s wife to her baby shower. (They live on the East Coast.) However, we realize that it would be expensive for her to come. Is it appropriate for my niece to send an invitation? Or should she call my daughter-in-law and say that she would love to have her there but doesn’t expect her to attend, due to the expense?


A. An invitation to a special event can remind faraway loved ones that they’re a cherished part of the group. My mother couldn’t fly out for my first baby shower. She was in New York at the time, and I was in California. But she loved being invited and sent a card for a friend to read aloud at the party. I still have it tucked into my baby book.


Why doesn’t your niece include a note with the invitation, encouraging a similar approach? “We’d love to have you, but we understand that it’s a long way to come. If you can’t make it, please join us in spirit by sending a wish or a memory that we can share on your behalf.” Or arrange a time for her to Skype in and send her best wishes. The important thing is that your daughter-in-law will know that she matters, and your niece will get love and support in return. Besides, if you ask (baby-loving) me, it makes more sense for your daughter-in-law to save her travel budget for flying out to meet the new addition once he or she is born.

Catherine Newman

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