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Baby Shower Q&A:
Guests and Invitations

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Guest Lists & Managing Numbers
   
Q: Way Too Many Guests?

My cousin & I volunteered to give our other cousin a baby shower. We were under the impression when we offered that it would be a baby shower for close friends and family. We both wanted very much to help the mother-to-be prepare for the new little one and celebrate the happy event. It has taken a very long time for this pregnancy.

The problem is that the mother-to-be has now told us that she wants a couples shower & has given us an invite list with 65 invitations resulting in over 100 guests. This is no longer a baby shower. It is a huge party. We do not have the time or budget to pull this off. She seems to think we can do a potluck & be done with it. She has also given us names of people to help out, but I worked with these same people for her wedding shower and I was stuck with a huge bill.

What are we to do now to either convince her to have a baby shower or to limit her guest list for what I'm now thinking of as a baby celebration party?


A:
Firstly, I am glad that you are having a shower and sorry to see that you are faced with this problem. What I would recommend doing is simply letting your friend know about the budget. If she still doesn't understand, phone one of the people she suggested would love to help and ask them if they would like to give a second shower. Blame it on the size of your venue if you need to but simply say that you can only invite x amount of guests and thought it might be nicer to have a second, larger one.

A good way to avoid a couple's shower is to make the theme pampering for mom or a girl's night. Men don't usually come to those. Then you can have a smaller fair and invite a make up consultant or someone similar to come and provide facials for the guests. This might add a bit more to the budget but I once threw a similar shower and ended up spending 15 per person on the facial and then made the meal a very light affair.

A potluck can reduce the amount of money on the food but the size of the location as well as the clean up, and gifts can be very trying for both your wallet and you. Be honest with your friend and try to find a way to host her a small shower and leave the "big" party to someone else.

Editor: Expectation management can be challenging at times and budgets can easily get blown out. A simple solution and explanation would be to provide the mother-to-be with an estimated 'cost per guest' (based on the cost of catering, venue, invites, etc.) and then an estimate of how much money might be raised through the 'Potluck' if each guest donated a nominal amount. Some simple maths should then reveal the 'real' cost of the baby shower. The number of guests (or budget) can then be adjusted accordingly.



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Inviting Distant Relatives & Friends

Q: Invitations for Baby Shower Guests Too Far Away to Attend?

My partner and I are throwing our own get together/shower and I was wondering if it is appropriate to invite family that live far away even though we know they will not be able to attend (our families are scattered across the US and Europe). Is it still appropriate to send them an invite so they know we were thinking of them, or is it better to just send out announcements once our little one is here and keep the gathering/shower invites to those that live in the area (no immediate family lives in the area)?

A:
Congratulations! In regards to your question, I would make it an announcement/invitation. Generally, I would recommend sending out an invitation, even if you don't think people will be able to make it, however, if you are sending out to Europe or you are in Europe sending out to the states, it may upset some of your family members. Instead, tell them that baby is here and that you will be having a shower for him or her. Let them know that you would love to talk to them on the day of the shower or if they would like to see pictures of the baby shower, you can send them to whoever would like them. By finding ways to include everyone, you won't be hurting anyone's feelings and it can be a nice way to connect with family on your special day.

Editor: Consider Skyping with distant relatives and friends. That way you can have some face-to-face communication and have them feel 'involved' even though they can't physically attend the baby shower.

   



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Children at Baby Showers

Q: Baby Shower Overrun By Children?

We have sent the invitations out for my daughter's twins baby shower. Yes, RSVPs are coming in but I have had multiple requests asking if they could bring their child to the baby shower. Children’s ages range from infant to 7 years old. This shower is turning in to a nursery now - I don't want the shower to be overcome by the children. How do I tactfully tell the invited guest to please not bring their child. There is one exception - my daughter has already told a friend that she could bring her two children, only because her husband is in the military and is gone and she does not have family in the area that could sit for her. I do not know if she can afford a sitter. Help !!!!

A:
Asking people to not bring children after you have given the okay to the first ones will be difficult. If you can, try to find a sitter for your daughter's friend and then let everyone know that it is a pampering for mom's shower where everyone gets to enjoy an afternoon without the kids.

If it is too late to do that, I would recommend hiring a babysitter to come and do a little kid's party in a separate room. Put out games and kid friendly foods and ask the babysitter to put on a movie or co-ordinate games with the children attending. The main focus is to keep the children in a seperate room and away from the main party.


Q:
My sister is planning a shower for me.  Many of the guests are moms of toddlers and preschoolers (my daughter is 4), and in the weeks before the shower I'm hearing from numerous guests that they want to bring their kids.  I just wanted a "ladies only" relaxed party - if everyone brought their kids, the little ones would outnumber the grown-ups!  How do I handle it if people arrive with their children?  - I have nothing planned for kids.

A:
First, baby-shower.com would like to send congratulations your way. Second, I would like to say that you should sit back and relax, let your sister handle the errant moms.  I know that it can be difficult to do this and you will want to help your sister if some children attend but remember that this is your day to celebrate an upcoming baby.

In regards to guests wanting to bring their children, make sure you stress what your desire is beforehand.  Tell them that you are trying to organize a shower where you celebrate both your upcoming arrival and moms as a whole.  That the plan behind the shower is to give hard working moms a chance to relax.  You will be surprised at the response that approach will have and you may not have as many moms wanting to bring their children.

Another great way to get around having kids at your baby shower is to suggest having a get together when the kids can meet the new baby.  Empathize how boring a grown up shower will be and how kids usually have more fun if there is a baby to stare at. 

If this doesn't work and you have people come with children, I would recommend having a few quiet games and coloring activities for the children can do. Having a few small activities will alleviate having to plan anything big for children and you can focus on the "grown up" aspect of the party.

All the best and we hope you have a wonderful baby shower.

Q:
I am the mother in law and I am helping the mother’s sister with the shower. The shower is at my mother’s house ... The mother to be and I said no children (my mom has a pool etc.). Well now my mother has told my sister in law to bring her 5 month old baby along ... Since some of the mother-to-be's friends have infants and had to work hard to find a sitter ... what would be proper, to offer all nursing mothers to bring their infants? Or leave it as is and explain it is my mother’s house and she invited her grandchild?

A:
I would simply leave it as it is and let them know that the grandchild was invited before you knew that she had been. If you are worried that people will be upset, I would recommend letting people bring children under the age of 9 months, so it keeps the number of children down and will also allow people the option to leave their child with a sitter.



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Q: Family Tensions?

I am hosting a baby shower for a friend and I have a question over inviting family members that do not get along.  Both her mother and mother-in-law can barely remain in the same room together and I’m not sure if my small home will be able to give them enough space.  Should I not invite one or the other or should I just pray that they get along for the day?

A:
That is as really tough choice that you have been placed into and I can only sympathize on how your friend must feel since she is in the middle of it all.  I would hope that they could put their differences aside for just one day but strong emotions can make that almost impossible.  If you are able to swing it, I would suggest having two showers instead.  Have them on the same weekend so you can reuse the decorations and make sure that you split the guest list evenly.  Have everyone from her immediate family and half of her friends come on one day and then have her in-laws and other half of her friends come the second day.  It is not the ideal for you but it will get you through the day, fairly unscathed.  Another alternative is to ask someone else to throw a second shower to include either her immediate family or her in-laws.

 



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Q:
When should I worry about calling people who have not RSVP’ed?

A:
I wouldn’t start worrying until the end of the third week or the beginning of the second week before the shower.  If you read our timeline, it suggests phoning people at the beginning of the second week to confirm if they are coming.  Hopefully, though, you won’t have to make too many calls. For more on guests.

   



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Q:
Do you have any suggestions for baby shower poetry to include in invitations?

A:
Yes! We just opened up a new section on our site for baby shower poetry.

   



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Q:
I have a large number of people coming to a baby shower that I am hosting and I realized that I don’t have enough seating. What should I do?

A:
The easiest answer to this question is to simply order chairs from a party rental company.  There are many of them out there and you will probably only have to rent a few unless you are having a sit down meal where everyone will be seated all at once.  You will find that during a shower you will have guests that sort of float around and never actually sit.  You will also have guests that are comfortable on the floor so have a few throw pillows down for guests that are fine sitting on the carpet.  If you can’t secure chairs from a rental company, phone around to friends and family and ask if they will donate kitchen or lawn chairs for the party.  You will find that many people will rise to the occasion and all your guests will have chairs, although they probably won’t match.

 

Q:
I am the mother of the Mommy to be and I am giving the shower for our side of the family. Is it appropriate to invite the grandmother, stepmother (the biological mother is not in the picture), or sister of the Daddy to be? They are not friends of mine, but I hold no ill will toward them. I am confident they will give a baby shower of their own, but I don't know the etiquette on whom to invite. Thank you.

A:
Congratulations on becoming a grandmother and it is wonderful that you are hosting a shower for your daughter.

Regarding your question, it is very appropriate to invite the immediate family of the father. It is not uncommon for grandmothers and sisters to attend several showers so don't hesitate in inviting them. Also, if it is possible, attend the shower that they throw if you are invited. This is an excellent way to keep everyone happy and no one will feel slighted.

If you are worried about offending them at all, phone them with the invite.  Mention that you are having a shower and that you wanted to invite them personally. If they say that they are having a shower, let them know that they are still welcome to come and you would be happy to see them there, but leave the final choice up to them.

Another way to get around the whole to invite or not debate is to ask if they would like to co-host a shower. This is very popular and many families will get together to co-host a big bash together.

 

Q:
My family is throwing us a co-ed baby shower, but they do not want to combine it with his side of the family even though his sister expressed an interest in getting my sister’s number in order to plan a shower.  We are not sure whether his side is planning on throwing one or not.  We are not married and would like for them to be combined.   Who would be invited to my side's shower from his side? -Andrea

A:
The staff at baby-shower.com would like to express congratulations to you and your partner.  It can be an exciting time when you are planning for a new baby and many people really enjoy getting in on that excitement through baby showers.  It is wonderful that you have so many people who are eager to plan a shower for you so the first thing that you should do is simply enjoy it. 

When it comes to having a shower for two sides of a family, there are many different ways to do it.  The first thing that I would recommend is to open up the communication between both sides.  Although your family is excited about the new baby and would like to have a shower for you, your partner's side of the family is probably no less excited by the news.  For this reason, the baby shower should be used as a way to share the excitement and should have less to do with who threw what and when.

Of course, it rarely works like that so I would recommend extending an invitation to your partner's sister or parents to co-host the shower with whoever is hosting it on your side of the family.  This is usually the best solution since everyone feels like they contributed to the shower.  I would recommend reading our 8 Step Baby Shower guide, especially the section that touches on co-hosting

If no one wants to co-host a shower, you will need to coordinate what is going to happen on both sides of the family.  If your partner's side of the family is going to be throwing you a shower, it will be a good idea to know about it before hand.  This will help in cutting back on the guest list at your family's shower. 

If it looks like you will be having two showers, don't sweat it.  Many women have two or more showers so it is not an uncommon occurrence.  When it comes to inviting people to the baby shower that is being thrown by your family, I would only invite your partner's immediate family and close friends.  Cousins, aunts and other distant relatives and friends should only be invited to one but it is very common for mothers, sisters, fathers and brothers to go to more than one shower. 

Hopefully, all the baby showers will go smoothly and you will have many sweet memories to write down in your baby book as you wait for the big day. All the best and we hope your shower(s) are wonderful!

 

Q:
I am being given a shower at my church and a shower at my cousin’s house.  I was told to invite family to both showers, is this okay?? -Cindy

A:
Before I answer your questions, the team at www.baby-shower.com would like to express a heartfelt congratulations.  When you are expecting, it can be such a wonderful time and it is made even more so by all the interest that people have in your pregnancy.

That is wonderful that both your church and your cousin are throwing you a shower and when it comes to guests, I would say that inviting family to both showers is perfectly okay.

However, I would limit the number of guests to immediate family and close friends and family.  Usually, many guests prefer to only be invited to one shower not two.  The exception to this rule, of course, is your immediate family, who generally attend most, if not all, of the showers that you will have.  The best solution is to make a list and split it into thirds.  The first third is guests that would have no problem being at two.  The second third is the guest list for the church shower and the last third is the guest list for the shower that is being held at your cousin's house.  By being selective in who you invite to both, you won't put anyone in an uncomfortable position if they can't or don't want to attend two and both guest lists will be well rounded and full.

Again, congratulations and all the best in the future.

 

Q:
What is the best way to provide directions to the baby shower?

A:
I find that the best way to provide directions is to place them on a separate paper in the invitation.  This way guests can take the paper without having to worry about the invitation and you will have more room to add a little map if you feel it is necessary.  One point I would make about directions is to make sure that you place the address and phone number on the directions so guests will have them if they get lost. For more on baby shower invitations.

 

Q:
I am not looking for a theme. I am having a co-ed diaper party. I just don't know how to word the invitation. If there is anybody that can help me, that would be great. Thanks for your time.

A:
When you are inviting couple’s to a baby shower, it is better to be direct that it is indeed a couple’s shower.  Many men may try to get out of the shower if the invitation only hints at it being a shower for both.  Saying things like, “We are having a couple’s baby shower for Jane and John,” or “Jane and John are requesting the company of all their friends...”  If you don’t want to specifically say that it is a couple’s shower, hint at in the list.  Something like, “We will be having lots of games that will appeal to both men and women and we are having a competition to see if the girl’s can win more games than the boy’s.”  One thing that I like to suggest is to call it a celebration or party to take away any fears that the male guests will have over being seated at a small table with an even smaller tea cup in their hand as they are forced to suffer through birth stories.  Knowing that it is a party will have all the guests eager to attend. For more information on showers where men are attending.

 

Q:
A friend and I are co hosting a baby shower for one of our friend's daughter whose sister also wanted to be part of the planning etc. It is time to send out invitations now and we were give an guest list of 79.  We feel this is way too many. Even though the Mom to be does not expect them all to come she feels obliged to invite all of the women at work ?? HELP

A:
First I would like to say that it is wonderful that you are co-hosting a shower for your friend's daughter.  Hosting a shower is not an easy venture and although co-hosting can make things easier, it does present new challenges to overcome.

In regards to your shower dilemma, I know that most people plan to have a large number of people not come to the shower, it is a general rule that plans don't work out.  I have had parties where I have been adamant, "these people will not come," only to get an RSVP back with them stating they would be delighted to attend.  For that reason, I always follow the rule, "plan for them to come."

Since 79 people are on the guest list, take some time with your mother-to-be and get her to trim the list. She will know much better than you who would come and who wouldn't.  For the latter, I would suggest just omitting them when you send out those invitations. 

Another great way to trim down the guest list is to make it for close family and friends.  That means that coworkers won't be invited unless they are friends outside of work and the distance third cousin twice removed can be taken off the list as well.  If you are concerned about the coworkers, suggest that she ask a coworker to throw a work shower.  This is a very common practice and her work may already be planning a baby shower. 

In the end, you will need to be clear about how many people you are comfortable inviting and you will need to express it to your friend's daughter.  Explain that you want to throw her the best possible shower she could have but your budget and venue can't accommodate 79 people.  She may be upset at first but if you approach it in a calm and clear manner, hurt feelings will be forgotten when she steps through the door and sees what a truly wonderful shower you have created for her.

 

Q:
Hello, I would like to do an "Unwrapped" Shower and am looking for suggestions on how to word the invitations.  I would like to include a note card with the invitation so each guest can write their names on the gifts for them to be on display at the shower.  Do you have any suggestions?? Thank you! -Kristin

A:
An unwrapped shower is a great idea and offering note cards for the display is also great.  I find that the best way to word an invitation is just to be straight forward about your theme.  Say something like, "Baby is wrapped in comfort but the gifts don't need to be."  or "Let's display our little treasures for a beautiful unwrapped baby shower."

Another way to do this is to place an insert into the note card that says, "Please use this note card as the only wrapping for your present.  We are having an "unwrapped" baby shower and will be displaying your gifts and note cards in a beautiful manner that will bring heartfelt tears of joy to our mom to be."

You may find that people are phoning you to find out if you want the presents to be unwrapped, since most people are not used to this, but after a few calls, most people will have no problem with it.

 

Q:
What is appropriate regarding the people invited to the shower? I am going to be a new grandmother but I am wondering if it is okay to invite some of my friends or co-workers when in fact they really don't know my daughter?

A:
Congratulations on becoming a new grandmother.  It can be an exciting time for you and I understand wanting to share it with your friends and co-workers, but, and isn't there always a but, it is not considered appropriate to invite people who your daughter doesn't know.  Remember that this is your daughter's baby shower so it should only have people that she would like to have at it.  She may feel very uncomfortable having to spend her shower with people she doesn't know and your friends and co-workers might feel uncomfortable about it all too.

My best recommendation is to simply leave the baby shower to your daughter's friends, co-workers, and, of course, family.

 

Q:
On the invitation, do you put the places the mom-to-be registered on the invitation or on a piece of paper and insert into the invitation or neither?

A:
On the invitation, you can put the places where the mom-to-be is registered but don't make it the central focus of the invitation.  Instead, put it on the bottom along with all the RSVP information and directions. Remember, the emphasis shouldn't be on the presents.

Placing it on a piece of paper is okay as well and it is really a matter of preference rather than an actual etiquette issue.

 

Q:
My grandma and aunts live out of state but we will be visiting before the baby and they are planning a shower for me, my  shower back home is the following weekend and I was wondering about sending invitations to the people who are attending
the one of my  grandmother's. I don't want them to feel as if they are not invited, but I don't want them to think that I am greedy and want another  gift out of them.

A:
Congratulations on your new baby.  I think that is wonderful that you are having a shower
with both your grandmother and with your friends and other family members.  While there
are opinions to your question, my rule thumb is that you should only invite immediate
family or close friends to more than one shower.  Your grandmother might be happy to come
to a second shower but your aunts, especially if you are not that close to them, might
not.  Instead, let them have a shower for you and then mention that you are having a
second one and everyone is welcome to come to that one if they wanted.  Have a number
ready to give them if they say yes but don't be surprised if they don't.

 

Q:
If a 2nd shower is being thrown should the stepmother be included if the others mothers are being invited?  Especially if the stepmother has been involved in a good way in their lives?

A:
When it comes to a second baby shower, it is really up to the individual host on who they would like to invite and how big they want the shower to be.  That being said, if the stepmother is close to the mom-to-be, then it is important to have her at the showers with the other mothers.  If there are problems with the stepmother and the grandmother, then simply ask one of them to make a concession for the sake of the mom-to-be.  Either don't fight, don't come or only one should come but since the stepmother has invested a lot of herself into having a good relationship with her stepdaughter, it is appropriate for her to go to all the showers.

Do you have a baby shower question that we have not covered?

 

 


 

 

 
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