Baby Shower Etiquette

As the host of a shower, you face a unique challenge: To make the honoree happy without making yourself crazy. The good news: It’s actually doable.

Photo by Annie Schlecter

When should the shower be held?
A baby shower should be held four to six weeks before the due date, unless the honoree prefers to have it after the child is born (for example, if her religion encourages this or if she has chosen to keep the baby’s sex a surprise and doesn’t want gender-neutral gifts).

Who decides who is invited—the guest of honor or the host?
Since the host bears the expense of the party, it is up to her to determine the number of guests she’s comfortable accommodating. If the shower is not a surprise, the host should give the honoree that figure and ask whom she’d like to invite. For a surprise party, the honoree’s college roommate trumps the host’s book-club buddies (sorry).

How many guests are too many?
A shower should be an intimate affair, not a gathering of anyone and everyone the honoree has ever known. Limit the guest list to close friends and family. (Hint: It should not come as a surprise to anyone on the guest list that there is a baby on the way!) Keep in mind that if your home can hold only 20 people comfortably, inviting more is doing no one a favor.

Should the invitation include registry information?
Many shower invitations do, but that can make the shower seem like a bit of a gimme-fest. Better yet, keep registry information off the invitation but feel free to pass it along if guests ask you for it. Or have them contact the honoree’s family or the honoree directly.