So you want to host a baby shower. Good intentions aside, there are great expectations (sorry, we had to) when undertaking such a feat. So we’ve asked etiquette expert Jennifer Lawrence for her tips on everything from whom to invite to whether to throw a shower for a second- or third-time mom. Good luck!
Who should host? In days of yore, friends were the go-to hosts for baby bashes. Today, showers are thrown by family members, close friends and even good office chums. Another tradition that’s undergone a facelift? Women-only showers. While it’s still largely the fairer sex hosting and attending baby showers, men are getting in on the action, says Lawrence, thanks to the recent popularization of Jack and Jill-type celebrations.
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Who gets invited? If the gathering is a surprise, hit up momma-to-be’s partner, family, best friends and colleagues for suggestions, and if you know of another party being held in her honour, connect with that host to avoid invitee overlap. As for invitations, feel free to go the traditional route and mail personalized stationery, or embrace the wonders of technology and send a quick and convenient e-vite. (Just be sure you have the e-mail addresses of all invitees before taking that road.)
How much gets spent? Baby showers can be as extravagant or as low-key as the organizer wants, but keep in mind that providing food, decorations and favours fall under the hosting duties umbrella. If money is a concern, consider enlisting some co-hosts to divvy up the cost, and go cheap where you can. For example, ready-made platters of fruit, veggies or cheese can be pricey, so cut up and arrange the trays yourself, and skip expensive store-bought cupcakes, brownies and squares by getting baking-inclined friends to bring their wares instead.
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How does a theme get chosen? When ogling tiny clothes, socks and diapers isn’t theme enough, having a list of unique shower ideas at the ready helps. Still stumped? Ask if the mom-to-be has a preference and follow suit, or make it personal by incorporating some of her favourite things – like a karaoke machine if she’s an American Idol fan, or ask guests to dress in ’50s garb if she loves Mad Men.
What foods should be served? When it comes to pregnant women and food, offending smells abound. Set your table with minimally odoured options – pickles, curried goods and salmon need not apply – and steer clear of soft cheeses, sushi and alcohol as well. Many moms-to-be choose not to consume these goodies, and watching others enjoy them may prove difficult.
To loot, or not to loot? Blame it on the six-year-old inside, but we all love a little loot from time to time. While a stuffed bag of goodies isn’t necessary, Lawrence says a small token of appreciation makes a nice parting gift for attendees. Her suggestions: A baby-themed sugar cookie wrapped in a clear plastic wrapper and ribbon, or a small potted flower.
Do subsequent pregnancies warrant a shower? Let’s face it – first-born babies get the lion’s share of gifts and attention when it comes to showers. But for moms with subsequent pregnancies, a lunch or casual gathering with friends is nice, says Lawrence. Just steer clear of games involving pinning diapers or the like. “With one baby at home, mom already knows what she’s doing,” she says.