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Baby Shower Q&A: Etiquette
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The first and perhaps obvious question should be; 'What is baby shower etiquette?'  Well ... Etiquette is generally what is considered to be 'proper behaviour', often based on long standing traditions or customs.

Etiquette is not unlike that recent social evolution we call 'political correctness'. It's what we should be seen to be doing, even if at times it privately seems to be somewhat ridiculous.

The purpose behind etiquette is to prevent awkward and perhaps even inflammatory social situations from arising by providing everyone with a set of simple rules or guidelines.

By following these rules/guidelines, we can avoid inadvertently being rude and/or offending someone. Of course, for this to work requires that everyone plays from the same book, which seems rarely to be the case these days.

Another important point to mention is that etiquette will also evolve over time, particularly as cultures merge. So things that were once considered 'unthinkable' may eventually become common practice and the new standard or default.

Our Q&A section on Baby Shower Etiquette is therefore at best a guide on what to do and what not to do ... it is in no way legally binding ... or the last word on the subject. The purpose of this section is to help you through difficult situations, or even better, to avoid them.

 

The Baby Shower Etiquette Q&A Pages - Quick Lookup Topics:




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Q:
Is it appropriate to bring the hostess of the shower a gift?

A:
While it is a thoughtful gesture, guests do not bring a gift for the hostess. Usually, the mom to be will give the hostess a thank you card and gift.



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Q:
I am hosting a baby shower for the daughter of a friend. I am about to ‘date’ myself, but my question is in regard to a corsage. I personally do not like them, but should I have one for the mom and grandmother to be??? If not, is there something else that is done to honor them? The type of shower is going to be a luncheon or a come and go buffet. The gifts will be displayed. Thank you for your help with this question. -Kathryn

A:
You are by no means ‘dating yourself’ with your question.  Corsages are still a very common practice and you can use them or not.  If you want to stick with the traditional corsage but don’t want the huge monstrosity perched on the chest of the new mom and grandmother, then I would suggest using a small wrist corsage or possibly using a boutonniere since they are very simple and, thankfully, small.  Yes, I know that they are for men but you can order one that is feminine with a sprig of jasmine and a single carnation; the symbol of mother’s love.

If you want to steer clear of the whole corsage option, there are many ribbons and medals out there that say things like “New Mom” or “World’s Greatest Grandmother”.  These are nice and compact and have the added bonus of being flat, which is great for sticking in a scrapbook. 

Another alternative is to purchase a t-shirt for the mom-to-be or grandmother.  At one shower I attended, the expectant mother wore a t-shirt stating how many months she was and there are many shirts stating, “Baby on board,” “Grandma’s soon to be sweetheart is safe within,” and so on.  For a fun twist to the shirts, you could have custom aprons made for Grandma and Mom that list out all the tasks they will soon be doing in their new careers.  This can be a great gift and every mom and grandmother will enjoy using them when they get the aprons home.

I hope this helps and that you find the best way to honor both the mom and the grandmother.  All the best with your shower to come.



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Q:
How do you treat step mothers?  Should you give them a corsage and treat them like a grandmother or should they be treated like a regular guest?

A:
If the step mother and the mother to be aren’t that close, then I would just treat them like a regular guest. However, if they have a strong relationship and in many ways are like a mother and daughter, then I would treat her like another grandmother.  Remember that all these people will fill the life of the new baby with love, so there is no harm in providing someone who will be acting as a step grandmother with the full respect you would give to a grandmother.




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Q:
A few months ago, a close family member passed away and I’m wondering if it is appropriate to throw a shower for my sister so soon after a death in the family.  Should we not have a shower?

A:
I’m sorry for your loss.  Grieving for a family member or friend is a very difficult time and it can take a while before people actually feel ready to celebrate anything but I don’t think that you should miss having a shower for your sister.  I have found from personal experience that celebrating a new life can help people forget their grief, if only for a moment and it can remind them that life continues on and there is much to celebrate.  Try to have a low-key shower where people can not only celebrate the new life but also honor the life that was lost.



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Q:
My friend is a “mature” first time mom and I am wondering if maybe she is too old to have a baby shower thrown for her.

A:
Even if your friend was 100, she isn’t too old to have a baby shower...well, okay, maybe a 100 is too old but that has more to do with being physically able to have children and less to do with whether the party would be appropriate.  Remember that you are celebrating a baby and it doesn’t matter if that baby comes at 20, 30 or even 50.  You may find that gifts might be different since many “mature” moms have more funds to purchase everything they would like, but of course this might not be the case. A Spa Shower is a great idea here if the mom already has everything she needs.   Simply enjoy the shower and celebrate the new life.



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