Love them or hate them, a baby shower can be a great thing – or it can be super tacky. If you’re planning your own and want to make sure it’s the former as opposed to the latter, here’s a few things you can do to make it a great day – and not remotely tacky.
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What is a Baby Shower?
A baby shower is a party or ceremony of gift-giving or pre-baby celebration that is traditionally hosted by the mother or a friend or relative of the mother, and is usually a female-only event.
It celebrates the delivery or expected birth of a child or the transformation of a woman into a mother, and usually features gifts for mom and baby, as well as party food and games.
Why Baby Showers are Considered Tacky
The baby shower originated in the US, but has become increasingly popular throughout the UK and Europe in the last few years, and it’s one trend that has a very mixed reception.
They appear to be either loved or loathed – with no in-between.
Many opinions seem to gear towards baby showers being rude, assuming, boring, and tacky. The latter part can often be because of ‘baby shower etiquette’.
A baby shower hosted or ‘thrown’ by the parents themselves is considered tacky, but if thrown by someone else, it’s more ‘socially acceptable’. There is no set rule stating that a baby shower is tacky (regardless of whom it is thrown by) – it is simply a matter of opinion.
As with bachelorette parties, they can go one of two ways: a tame, classy affair (cream tea and champagne at the Ivy or Ritz) or the vulgar route – pink sashes, penis hair bands and shots of tequila. Naturally, out of the two, the latter is widely considered to be the tacky version.
It’s generally the same with baby showers; a social get-together with the women in your life with some finger food and lots of great advice from other moms can be a really useful thing – especially to a first-time mom. However, showers that involve games like ‘Pin the Sperm on the Womb’ and the expectancy of your guests forking out for cots, car seats and all your baby’s other needs is where the word ‘tacky’ starts to rear its ugly head.
Baby Shower Etiquette
If you are expecting a new bundle of joy and feel that a baby shower would be something you and the women in your life would enjoy – there is absolutely no shame in indulging in one – and no one should make you feel guilty for doing so.
Pregnancy, birth and baby-rearing can be a scary, lonely thing for a lot of women and having a team of women in your corner helping you out and sharing their wisdom can certainly take the edge off of it. However, if you want to make sure your baby shower isn’t a tacky affair, here’s what you can do.
How to Throw a Great Baby Shower
Whether it’s you or a friend/family member throwing your baby shower, here’s how to make sure it’s a success:
Select a date and time
Consult with the guest of honor to choose a date and time for her party. Start planning early on in her/your pregnancy and set it for around the seventh month of the pregnancy.
This time frame will allow everyone plenty of time to book the day off work, get gifts, organize catering, and so on.
Create the guest list and budget
Once you or the mom-to-be has given you the complete guest list (be sure she gives you emails or addresses, too), come up with your budget. This will guide your selection of a venue, food services, etc. If your budget is quite low, then home-hosting is an option.
Choose the venue
And base it around the time of year the baby shower will be taking place (especially if an alfresco event is favored). Other considerations should be the number of guests, and of course, the budget.
Hosting a shower in your backyard or living room is intimate, and you won’t have to pay a fee to reserve the space. If the guest list is large, or you have a bigger budget, consider a nearby hotel, restaurant, or function room.
The venue really depends entirely on budget.
Send the invitations
It is wise to use physical invites, as opposed to e-Invites or Facebook event invites, for those who may not be a regular internet-user. Guests should receive their invites at least six weeks before the shower.
That way they’ll have plenty of time to reserve the date, RSVP, shop for gifts, book time off work, and find a babysitter (if need be.)
Plan the menu and decor
Again, this can often be budget-dependent, but when planning a baby shower, nail down these details early on, so as to provide ample time for bookings, etc. Finalize the menu to mesh with the guest of honor’s tastes.
It’s her shower, after all, so make sure she’ll love every part of it! Consider serving miniature portions to make it easier for guests to manage the food and take part in the event.
Alcohol, such as champagne, (for the other guests) can be a nice touch – just make sure the mom-to-be is catered for with her favorite non-alcoholic drink.
Come up with an agenda
This is only really applicable for larger, more formal baby showers. Most showers include games, gift opening, eating, and drinking.
The key is organizing these activities to create a fun flow that keeps guests entertained and engaged. Give guests 15 to 20 minutes to arrive and offer drinks to people as they come through the door, then serve food.
Pick baby shower favors (if budget allows)
A parting gift is a simple way to thank your guests for attending, and it doesn’t have to be extravagant; a small box of candies or a little card or bouquet of flowers will do.