Baby Shower: Top Etiquette Questions
Encore Baby Showers or Sprinkles
Is it proper to give a baby shower for a second baby? Some say that baby showers should only be given for the first born.
It's fine to have a baby shower for a second or third baby. This party is often (cutely) called a "Sprinkle" instead of a shower since the family welcoming the new child likely already has many of the items needed (though not always!). Immediate family and very close friends are usually included. If a parent(s) truly needs nothing, some will opt for a party that focuses on giving advice, or even hold a sip n' see instead (which is more like a brunch where you get to meet the baby.) Every new child welcomed into a family can be celebrated if the family feels like it's the right choice for them.
Shower Invitations for Far Away Guests
On several occasions I have received invitations to baby showers that are thousands of miles away. I am certain that the people inviting me know that I cannot afford to fly to the event. Is it in poor taste to send an invitation to someone who cannot possibly attend the shower?
No. Since declining the invitation does not carry with it the weight of needing to send a gift, then this is more an act of inclusion than one of confusion. While it may not be practical, the intent is honorable - most likely your host didn't want you to feel left out. The guest list can be a dilemma for a shower host, who wants to make sure that relatives and close friends feel included, even if too far away to attend. Today, with everyone being more familiar with virtual events, including friends and family who cannot attend physically but who could sign into a Zoom or Skype is a win-win! If you're hosting a virtual shower (or a virtual component to the shower) be sure to set clear expectations, and request that guests not forward the call link to anyone.
I am having a baby shower, and my invitation requests an RSVP by a certain date. However, that date has passed and some people seem to misunderstand RSVP to mean call only if you are coming. My understanding is that regardless you should still call. If so, should I be calling the individuals who have not responded? And what does RSVP really mean?
RSVP (or, R.S.V.P. or rsvp) is the abbreviation for the French rèpondez s'il vous plait—please respond—whether you are attending or not. Replying is one of the basic obligations created by an invitation, and failing to do so shows a lack of consideration on the part of a guest. However as the host, it's your job to create a welcoming vibe. You should follow up with guests who haven't not responded yet and always do so with a friendly and inviting tone. "Kelly, I kinda need a head count to be able to prepare for the party so I need you give me an answer now." is neither friendly nor good etiquette. Instead try: "Hi Kelly! I'm following up on RSVPs to Chandra's baby shower on the 15th. Did you receive the invitation and will you be able to attend?" It's perfectly okay for you to do this—after all, you need to know how many guests to expect!
Organizing a Luncheon Instead of Inviting to a Shower
How do you send an invitation to about 10 people for a small lunch get together just to celebrate a friend having her 4th child (not an official shower, just a little intimate time as friends)? Also, how do I let the people know that we'll all be paying for our own lunch?
While a "sprinkle" or "Encore showers" is perfectly acceptable, these are hosted events where invitations are sent and the expectation is that the host is covering the costs. When we organize an event instead of host it, that is when we are in good stead to suggest that everyone pay their own way. Because no one is hosting and attendees are expected to pay their own way, invitations aren't mailed or sent in the traditional way. Instead we suggest that you call (or possibly email) the group with your proposed suggestion: "Hi Felicity, I know Kerrie-Anne isn't interested in a shower to celebrate baby number four but I was thinking it might be nice for our little group to get together and take her out to lunch - we'd each pay our own way and cover the cost of her meal. So far a few of us were thinking April 10th at at River Run? What do you think, are you in? Do you have any suggestions?" You'll need to make it clear that the event is a group effort and that you are only the organizer, not the hostess. The important thing is to make sure each person is aware of the payment arrangements ahead of time, as you don't want anyone to be surprised at the event.
Baby Shower Thank-you Notes
What is the acceptable length of time within which to send your thank-you notes out after a baby shower?
If possible, try to send all your thank-you notes before the baby is born. Resist the urge to speed things along by having shower guests pre-address their own thank-you notes or by sending a generic blanket statement thank you that is the same to all guests. (In a pinch your shower host, partner or a relative can help you get the task done.) Given how hard the first few months of life with a newborn often are, it's unlikely to expect new parents to get thank-you notes done during this time - especially if there are any complications they may be dealing with or adjust to. This doesn't mean the notes should just be dismissed. Bottom line: Preferably get your notes done before you welcome your new family member, but remember that it is never too late, what matters is that you send them!
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