Becoming a mother is a time of excitement, novelty, and questions, especially if this is your first baby. Getting ready for the baby shower brings its own set of questions, such as: who pays for baby shower and when to have it?
If all that seems a bit foggy and you’re looking for answers, this article might be of help as we’ve gathered the information available on what traditional etiquette says and what modern baby showers bring to the table.
However, one thing remains unchanged in most if not all cases: the future mom is not the one to plan and host the event and, therefore, not the one to pay for it. The good news is that this rule has acquired a sort of fundamental value when it comes to baby showers.
Some aspects do differ when comparing traditional baby showers to modern ones, and here is more on the characteristics that set the two apart.
Traditional baby shower etiquette
What makes such events a bit confusing, especially if you haven’t had one, is the difference between what traditional etiquette says and what you might want the party to be like or how the modern showers you’ve attended went. There is no right or wrong, though. After all, it is your baby and your event, so personalizing it according to your needs and preferences is the way to go.
However, if you want to approach the traditional baby shower from a modern perspective, it is best to start with what baby shower etiquette says. One of the unwritten yet generally-embraced rules of baby showers is that one of the mom-to-be’s closest female friends should host and plan the event and, therefore, pay for it.
For many years, it was considered inappropriate for the shower party to be hosted and planned by one of the mother-to-be’s female relatives, such as the mom’s sister or mother. That’s because such an approach could have raised questions regarding the benefits a relative could get by hosting the event, that is, the gifts received. At least, that’s what traditional etiquette says.
Instead, co-workers, cousins, and even aunts are the ones expected to organize and host the event. They are the ones who usually pay, but, more often than not, more people team up to plan the shower and split the cost.
As part of shower baby etiquette, it is considered rude to ask one of your friends, coworkers, or relatives to host the event. Typically, the people interested in throwing the baby shower will step up once you let everybody know about your pregnancy.
Modern baby showers
Things are changing, though, and many of the things mentioned above no longer apply unless there is a family tradition you want to carry on. Modern baby showers come with various meanings, and you are the one to choose the direction in which yours goes.
As we’ve said before, this is such an important moment of your life, and, therefore, you should enjoy the liberty to have it your way. Many of the traditional rules regarding baby showers are only suggestions nowadays, and modern showers are events that take the shape of the mom-to-be’s preferences and needs.
This has led to changes regarding the host of the party as well. It is no longer unacceptable for the future mom’s close relatives to throw the event. If you want your mother, sister, mother-in-law, or sister-in-law to be the hostess, you can easily do so without worrying that you don’t respect the etiquette since a new baby shower approach has been contoured in the last two decades or so.
Throughout time one thing has remained unchanged, though, and stands true even when it comes to modern baby showers. The mother-to-be is not the one to pay for the event, but the person who hosts the party.
It is quite common for several people to put their efforts together to plan the shower and pay for it. In case you want to be the host of a baby shower for one of your friends, yet you can’t afford to pay for it entirely, you can set up a private online fund.
Another new aspect of today’s baby showers regards the people attending it. While in the past this was a ladies-only event, that is no longer the case today. Many such events allow men to attend them. Still, the host has a word to say as far as the attendees are regarded.
The mom-to-be and host should work together to make the guest list, and this is a great moment for you to find out the host’s opinion on this. Some hosts might have a more traditional approach to the shower and might not be comfortable with having men as guests.
If you do want your partner and other men to attend the event, yet the host is not happy about this idea, you might find yourself in the position of having to respectfully decline the host’s offer. Having a close friend or relative as a host is desirable, but if your ideas don’t match, you either have to make compromises or find somebody with a vision closer to yours.
A very modern approach to baby showers when the people you want to attend it are spread across the country or even the globe is to have a virtual baby shower. Although it might seem new, such an alternative proves to be of great help, especially when considering this year’s events and the social-distancing norms.
Even if this provides the ‘baby shower’ term with new meanings, in the end, it is still an event that will help you connect with family members and friends, and, in such cases, the expenses are significantly reduced.
When to have the baby shower
When the baby shower takes place depends considerably on when the mom-to-be feels comfortable to attend the event and when the host is available. This also means that accepting a certain person’s offer to be your baby shower host depends on whether you both have the same date in mind for the event.
Once you accept a friend or family member’s offer to be the baby shower host, that person and those close to them should pay for the event. The host is also the one to make various planning decisions, but you should work together to find a convenient time, schedule the event accordingly, and create the guest list.
In case you want to have the baby shower later in your pregnancy, you will thus have more time at disposal to choose the host once they start expressing their interest in being the host of this event. Some women go for the so-called ‘Sip and See’ event, which takes place shortly after birth and thus brings two events together.
This type of party is more casual and allows for men and women to attend it, so if you can’t find a host with a more modern perspective on the baby shower, the ‘Sip and See’ format helps you solve this problem.
A baby shower or two?
It is not uncommon to have more than a baby shower, and separate such events for the same baby are no longer a novelty. You can thus have a baby shower with your coworkers and another one only with your family.
It’s true that this depends on who offers to be the host. You might end up with several offers from different people, such as your co-workers and family members. If you want to keep it simple and celebrate with them separately, then having multiple showers is the way to go.
Moreover, sometimes, the relationships between the baby’s parents’ families might be less than perfect. To avoid awkward moments or unpleasant events, it is best to have a baby shower for the mom’s family and one for her partner.
There is one thing you should keep in mind in case there are people who will attend more than one baby shower, and that regards the gifts they bring. If, for example, your sister or mother attends several baby showers, it is best to make sure that they shouldn’t feel obligated to bring gifts each time they participate in the event for the same baby.
A baby shower is a time of celebration, and it’s up to you to decide which way to go. Whatever you feel comfortable with and you want when it comes to your baby shower should bring this event to success.
If that means breaking the old rules yet remaining faithful to your wishes and preferences, then not holding back from having the event the way you want it is the approach you should embrace. Remember that this is a welcome party, and it should be about sharing the joy of bringing a baby into the world and becoming a mother.