When attending a baby shower as a guest, it can be difficult to know how long to stay. Many new parents are already overwhelmed and exhausted and do not need the extra stress of hosting guests.
Oftentimes, parents will ask others to host their parties for them and may not host them for long. If you have given a thoughtful gift, it can be acceptable to leave early.
But how long should you stay when dropping in? How short is too short?
The best way to handle this situation is to explain politely. You do not want to make the new parents feel uncomfortable, so let them know that you are grateful for the invitation, but that you have to leave soon.
Thank them for the time and effort, as well as the invitation, and take your leave. It can be acceptable to leave early, but the best approach is to give a warning to the parents, bring a thoughtful gift and note, and avoid coming at the very end of the event.
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How to drop in at a baby shower politely
Give a warning, if possible. If possible, you want to avoid the new parents being caught off guard and embarrassed by your exit.
That way, they might also be able to tell you what time you can come to be present for the gift opening, so you can be there for that important moment before taking your leave. If you cannot organize your time to be there then, the parents will likely understand, but with a conversation beforehand you can both be more prepared.
When you are dropping in at a baby shower, it is important to be respectful of the new parents and the other guests. If you cannot stay for the whole event, it is best to explain politely why you have to leave to the parents-to-be.
A good idea is to say something quick, friendly, and polite. “Thank you so much for having me! I wish I could stay longer, but I have to get going.”
You can offer your gift and even a note. A note will help explain your gift if you have put extra thought into it, as well, so that the parents can appreciate your effort even when you are not there.
After you have left, it would be well-mannered to call the parents and ask them how they found your gift and if the baby shower went well. That way, they can feel appreciated and understand that you still care.
If you are not particularly close to the people that held the baby shower, this might not be necessary, but if you are unsure, you can send them a text to ask.
Can I drop in at a baby shower and leave?
At a baby shower, the new parents are the stars of the show. Leaving early and unexpectedly can be embarrassing for the parents hosting the events, especially if they are caught off guard, and it also redirects attention from them to your exit.
It can be hard to navigate the rare social situation of attending a baby shower as a guest in the first place, let alone leaving early.
Parents-to-be are often managing many different parts of their lives preparing for change. If the baby is already here, they may be tired solely on account of the punishing sleep schedule a child’s feeding incurs.
It is important to support new parents emotionally and socially, and a baby shower is a simple but effective way to do that. New parents often need basic supplies for themselves and their baby, so these events help them gather all of this and bond with friends and family at a stressful and hectic time.
Even so, not everybody has the time to stay at a baby shower. This can be because of work commitments, appointments both medical and personal, or because you may not have much time after work.
If you cannot stay long, try to schedule your visit around when presents are going to be opened or when the main course is being served if food is scheduled at the event. This will give you a chance to say hello and congratulate the parents without taking up too much of their time.
If you are feeling pressed for time, try dropping off your gift before the party starts and saying hello to the parents on your way out.
Ask the organizer what time this will be if you are unsure but be sure not to just call the parents directly: if the party is planned in secret, this will ruin the surprise.
Can I drop in at a baby shower?
When a new baby shower is announced, there is of course a chance that you will not be able to attend. Parents are unlikely to be able to reschedule an entire event on account of you not being able to attend, and they may have sent you a letter so you can RSVP if there are likely to be high expenses involved.
In these situations, it is likely to be perfectly fine for you to drop in for a short period at a baby shower, but you should bring a thoughtful gift and note.
Explain in advance if possible that you will just be popping in briefly.
When should I drop in at a baby shower?
If you are unable to stay long, try to schedule your visit around when the presents will be opened or when the main course is being served. This will give you a chance to say hello and congratulate the parents without taking up too much of their time.
It will also mean you can be around for the opening of your gift, which will leave a better impression on the parents-to-be and mean you can explain what you want it to be used for. If you are feeling pressed
for time, try dropping off your gift before the party starts and saying hello to the parents on your way out. If you do not plan on staying for the opening of your gift, it can be wise to include an explanatory note so that they know what the gift is for and why you bought it for them.
Is it impolite not to attend a baby shower?
If you are unable to attend the baby shower at all, it is fine to not attend. However, if you are not able to attend the baby shower in person, it is always best to send a gift.
A thoughtful gift will show the new parents that you care about them and their new baby. Be sure to include a note as well, explaining that you regret not being able to attend but wishing them well on their special day.
This can offset the social difficulty of not attending the event.
Is it impolite to leave early at a baby shower?
If you give no warning, it is a good idea to not leave early unless you have to. Baby showers are often short events that accommodate many adults and their working lives, as well as parents who may be stressed and tired out from preparing to have a little one come into their lives.
Many baby showers are hosted at home, and their house may be in the process of being actively decorated and child-proofed as well, so many baby showers are not very long to accommodate this.
If you still have to leave early, be sure to inform the parents in advance. When leaving because of important personal affairs, giving a little bit of context may help to explain why you have to leave: such as picking up a child from extracurricular activities, pet minding, or an appointment of some kind.
If they want to accommodate you, they may open your gift early so that you can still be around for the opening and they can thank you properly.
If you do not inform them in advance, this means you may leave before the gifts are opened, leaving a potentially poorer impression on the parents to be and meaning you will not be there for the full impact of your gifts.
You should also be prepared for the possibility of the parents being offended if you seem bored or tired of the events. Baby showers are not just transactional events: they are about helping new parents gather the resources to raise their new child, and helping them reduce stress at a hectic and difficult time.
It can appear inconsiderate and unkind to leave early without a proper reason, especially if you have not given any warning beforehand.
When do I need to attend a baby shower?
Generally, baby showers are not huge events. If you are invited to one, it should generally be assumed that you are wanted in attendance and that the guest list is not very big.
This can vary from person to person, and culture to culture as well. In the United States, attending a baby shower if it is held by a close friend or a family member is not mandatory by any stretch, but it would be considered potentially impolite not to attend without proper reason.
In particular, it is impolite to not attend if you do not give notice to the parents that you will not be in attendance, as they may prepare food for you or reserve space if the event is outside of their home.
If the baby shower is not being held by someone you are close to, you may have been invited solely for reasons of politeness. Although it may not be a social faux pas not to attend the event, you should still notify the parents you will not be there for the reasons listed above.
How do I tell parents I will not be at a baby shower?
If you will not be attending a baby shower, you will likely tell the parents or those organizing the events that you will not be in attendance so that they can offer the reservation to somebody else, prepare less food, or so that they will not be waiting for your arrival.
How you should let them know, and what to say, depends on the situation. If you are close to the people having the baby, your response should be different than if they are friends of a friend.
Additionally, you should try to be sensitive to the needs of the organizers: if the event is soon, you should let them know sooner than if it is very far off. You should also keep in mind that the event may have been organized in secret by friends and family.
If you received an invitation by mail, look at the envelope. There will often be a contact address of some kind for you to let them know personally you will not be able to attend, but you will also usually receive a letter that allows you to RSVP.
If you cannot attend, they should understand, and it may even cut down on their costs. Provided you send a thoughtful gift to let them know you are thinking of them at this exciting and turbulent time in their lives, there should be no social friction at all.
Most importantly, note if the RSVP address or contact information is different from that of the parent or parents-to-be. This may be because the baby shower is a surprise.
If this is the case, be sure not to tell the person directly and just let the organizer know you will not be able to make it. Contact them and ask about sending a gift that they can bring in your stead at the baby shower; they will likely be more than happy to do so.
Be sure not to tell anybody else about the shower either.