Baby Shower Etiquette: 16 Rules for Success

Baby Shower Etiquette: 16 Rules for Success

Who to invite, when to have it, what to ask for… baby shower etiquette is a delicate business.

The history of baby showers goes back to America in the late 1930s, but there have been a few changes since then!

Baby showers have grown in popularity for mamas around the world, but this doesn’t always mean it’s a straightforward event to host (or plan!).

If baby shower prep has got you stressed (if you’re a mama or an organizer), keep reading for our tips on hosting, planning, and attending a baby shower like a pro.

We’re talking baby shower etiquette for guests, baby shower etiquette for mom-to-be, and baby shower hostess etiquette.

But you know the best thing about baby shower rules?

You can bend them!

In this article: 📝

  • 1. Who is traditionally supposed to throw a baby shower?
  • 2. Who should be invited to a baby shower?
  • 3. Sending baby shower invites
  • 4. When should you throw a baby shower?
  • 5. What to include on the baby shower gift registry
  • 6. Do you have to bring a gift to a baby shower?
  • 7. What do I wear to a baby shower?
  • 8. What do guests do at a baby shower?
  • 9. How do you welcome guests at a baby shower?
  • 10. What food do you serve at a baby shower?
  • 11. Do you have a baby shower for second baby?
  • 12. Can you do a joint baby shower?
  • 13. How long should a baby shower last?
  • 14. Don’t forget to say thank you!
  • 15. Virtual baby shower etiquette
  • 16. What should you not do at a baby shower?

1. Who is traditionally supposed to throw a baby shower?

Traditionally, according to baby shower etiquette, the host would be someone outside of your immediate family – like a close friend or relative.

These days, the baby shower rules are more relaxed, with some pregnant mamas even hosting their own baby shower if they’re not keen on handing over the reins.

We say, whatever works for you – although handing control over to a loved one is a great way to unload and take the pressure off!

Who should not host a baby shower?

The customary baby shower etiquette is that the mama-to-be or their partner shouldn’t host their own baby shower.

But, at the same time, it’s also ‘against’ the baby shower rules to ask someone to host your baby shower.

To be frank, these baby shower rules aren’t really followed to the letter nowadays ‒ some mamas on Peanut prefer to throw their own baby shower.

Is it weird to plan your own baby shower?

No, it’s not that weird!

Sure, it’s baby shower etiquette to have a close friend or relative plan and host your baby shower, but can you throw your own baby shower?


Can a mother throw a baby shower for her daughter?

Yes, they certainly can!

While, traditionally, according to baby shower etiquette, the grandmom-to-be shouldn’t plan the baby shower, over the past few years, we’ve heard of more and more grandparents getting more involved in the baby shower planning process.

Who pays for a baby shower?

It’s a delicate question, and there’s not really a clear answer anymore.

Standard baby shower etiquette dictates that the host, whoever that may be, pays for the baby shower.

But we’re living in an Instagram world, with picture-perfect baby showers that cost a small fortune, so it’s not unheard of to ask a few close friends and family members to co-host and share the cost.

How much should I spend on a baby shower?

There’s no clear answer on this in the baby shower rulebook, although, according to our mamas-to-be on Peanut, their baby showers ranged from around $75-$800.

How much you spend on a baby shower depends on your budget, your circumstances, the time you have to plan, your theme of choice, and how you’re feeling.

We’ve got a whole host of baby shower themes for you to choose from, and you can tailor all of them to suit your budget.

2. Who should be invited to a baby shower?

Invite everyone special to you – simple, really!

While some mamas are happy for their co-workers to mingle with aunts and grandmas, some might prefer to have several smaller baby showers, each with a more select group of friends or family, and that’s fine too, and well in-keeping with baby shower etiquette.

What is a good number of guests for a baby shower?

The average number of guests at a baby shower for our mamas-to-be on Peanut is between 15-20, but some can reach up to 100 people!

Consider the event location and budget to put a realistic cap on the numbers – and creating a guest list super-early in the planning will help.

Send out invites with plenty of notice (and RSVP info) to make sure everyone you want to be there can make it.

Do husbands go to baby showers?

So, do guys go to baby showers, and do dads go to baby showers?

Well, most baby showers still tend to be female-only events, but that’s not a hard rule.

If your male besties or baby-daddy is keen to come along and bring his closest buddies, the more the merrier!

Plus, as people are embracing more non-binary gender identities, you can also feel free to invite those who aren’t men or women to your baby shower!

3. Sending baby shower invites

Before you even host the baby shower, there’s so much to think about!

What about the invitations? What’s the baby shower etiquette on when to send them, whether you should add the gift registry, and what to write on them?

Let’s take a look at the baby shower rules on sending invitations.

Is it rude to put a registry on baby shower invitation?

Absolutely not! In fact, according to baby shower etiquette, guests expect you to add information about a registry.

It makes it so much easier for them to buy gifts, if they want to.

But it can help to add a note saying that gifts aren’t compulsory, so your guests on a budget can still attend without feeling awkward.

Adding a range of differently-priced gifts to your baby shower registry is also a great idea, as people will have different amounts that they can realistically spend.

Not sure where to start with your baby registry?

Try Babylist, where you can add whatever you want, from any store, claim your free baby box, and get 15% discount from the Babylist store on completion.

What should baby shower invitations say?

There are a few basic bits of information to include on your invitation, based on the unwritten baby shower rules:

  • The host’s name and contact information
  • The mama-to-be (and their partner, if applicable)
  • The baby shower venue
  • The date and time of the shower
  • How to RSVP
  • Whether you’ll be serving food (requesting any dietary or lifestyle needs)
  • Information about the baby registry

Everything else is up to you! But if inspiration isn’t quite reaching you today, have a browse at our baby shower invitation wording ideas.

Whose name goes on baby shower invitation?

Make sure the baby shower host (usually a close friend or relative of the mama-to-be) and the mama-to-be’s names are included on the baby shower invitation.

How far in advance do you send out baby shower invitations?

Sticking with baby shower etiquette, you should send out your invitations as soon as possible ‒ allowing about a month to 6 weeks for people to RSVP.

Considering most mamas throw a baby shower between 28 and 35 weeks, that would put your baby shower invitation sending date at about 22-31 weeks.

How do you RSVP for a baby shower?

That depends on the baby shower invitation and host.

Typically, you should contact the host to RSVP, as per baby shower etiquette, but if the mama-to-be is the host, then send her a quick text or message to say you’ll be coming.

Be sure to include how many people you’ll be bringing, what time you think you’ll be there, and whether you have any dietary requirements.

4. When should you throw a baby shower?

When are baby showers usually held?

Baby shower etiquette dictates that most baby showers tend to take place somewhere around 28-35 weeks pregnant.

Then, the mama-to-be will have enough energy to enjoy the day and shouldn’t have to worry about going into labor during any of those party games!

She’ll be rocking a cute baby bump for photos too, and by this point, the parents may already know the baby’s sex.

Baby shower after baby is born

While they’re a little less common, baby showers after the baby is born do happen.

They’re called sip and see parties, where people come to see the newest member of your family and sip a tasty drink ‒ whether that’s tea, lemonade, or cocktails is up to you.

Generally speaking, the baby shower rules say that the mama herself hosts a baby shower after baby is born, so you can tailor it to however you’re feeling.

5. What to include on the baby shower gift registry

Setting up a baby registry with a reasonably-priced chain or online retailer will make it simple for the guests to shop.

While some mamas might feel awkward asking for gifts, it’s actually good baby shower etiquette, making the gift-buying process so much easier for guests.

Traditionally, big-ticket items like the stroller and crib would be taken care of by the expectant parents or close family, but including a couple of more expensive items on the registry isn’t a big no-no.

Several guests might club together to get you a group gift if it’s what you really want.

Is it rude not to open gifts at a baby shower?

No, it’s not rude to not open gifts at a baby shower, according to baby shower etiquette.

While it’s traditional to open gifts at the end of the shower, there aren’t really any explicit baby shower rules to say that you have to.

One thing to remember is that, if you’re not opening gifts at your baby shower, you should send out “thank you” notes to your guests.

What is a display baby shower?

A display baby shower is a baby shower where the mama-to-be doesn’t open the presents ‒ instead, the guests don’t wrap their presents and they’re put on display for everyone to see.

6. Do you have to bring a gift to a baby shower?

It is traditional baby shower etiquette to bring a gift to the baby shower.

Even if it’s a small gift for baby, like some cute baby socks, or a little something for mama, like a relaxing bath bomb, bringing a gift is always greatly appreciated.

How much should you spend on a baby shower gift?

In the baby shower rules, there isn’t a set amount that you should spend on a baby shower gift.

It’s all about your budget ‒ you shouldn’t go overboard if you’re not able to.

Even a $5 gift will be appreciated, just as much as a $50 gift.

What is the average cost of a shower gift?

If you’re really not sure what the baby shower etiquette is for how much to spend on a gift, and you don’t have an idea on a budget, go for around $50-$75.

That’s the average spent on baby shower gifts for friends and non-immediate family.

If you’re welcoming your new baby niece or nephew, grandchild, or your best friend’s baby, then around $100 is the average.

What to bring to a baby shower?

If you’re not sure what to get as a baby shower gift and there isn’t a baby shower registry, here are a few gift ideas:

If it’s a particularly posh baby shower, bringing something for the host is also considered good baby shower etiquette ‒ a bottle of wine or some chocolates.

7. What do I wear to a baby shower?

When it comes to what to wear to a baby shower, etiquette errs towards smart-casual.

Dress for the season and the weather ‒ if it’s hot, go for something light, if it’s cold, opt for thicker clothing or layers.

Also dress for the venue ‒ if it’s at someone’s house, smart jeans should be fine, but if it’s at a fancy venue for afternoon tea, a cute tea dress or smart pantsuit will work great.

What to wear to my baby shower

While smart-casual is the go-to when it comes to baby shower rules of what to wear as a mama-to-be, you also need to think about your comfort.

Something like this maxi maternity dress would work great for the summer ‒ it’s loose and flows so you feel like the goddess you are.

And if it’s not your style, we’ve gathered a whole list of stylish maternity clothes.

For the winter, we love this long-sleeved maxi maternity dress, which comes in a range of colors, so you can match your baby shower theme!

The best thing about wearing a maxi dress to your baby shower as a mama-to-be is that you can wear whatever footwear you like!

What to wear to a baby shower as a guest

Smart casual is expected when it comes to baby shower etiquette ‒ somewhere between workwear and what you’d wear to a wedding.

Need a few ideas of what to wear to a baby shower as a guest? How about:

8. What do guests do at a baby shower?

It’s totally up to the baby shower host!

Baby shower etiquette suggests mingling, playing games, opening gifts, and eating are all key components of a successful baby shower.

But if you want to skip any of those, you can!

How do you make a baby shower not boring?

Having a few fun games planned adds a little more activity to a baby shower.

After some baby shower game ideas? Here are a few for you to choose from:

Want more baby shower games and tips on how to play these games? Head over to our 15 Baby Shower Games!

What do you do at a baby shower without gifts?

There’s still lots to do at a display baby shower or a baby shower without gifts!

Playing fun games (complete with prizes), cutting the baby shower cake, eating food, and catching up with the other guests, like a normal party!

9. How do you welcome guests at a baby shower?

In traditional baby shower etiquette, the host (or the mama-to-be) welcomes the guests, pointing out where the bathroom facilities are, when and where food will be served, where to put the baby shower gifts, and to thank them for coming.

But we’ve also seen some mamas-to-be on Peanut setting up a welcome board with all the information their baby shower guests will need, so they can mingle with their friends or take a well-deserved rest.

10. What food do you serve at a baby shower?

The sky’s the limit when it comes to baby shower food!

There aren’t any specific baby shower rules when it comes to what food to serve, but a few ideas are:

  • Afternoon tea
  • Pizza
  • Potluck
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Grazing table
  • Themed food

Head here for more delicious baby shower food ideas.

Should you serve alcohol at a baby shower?

You can serve alcohol at a baby shower, but it’s good baby shower etiquette to just serve alcohol-free drinks, out of respect for the mama-to-be.

There are some delicious options for non-alcoholic drinks, though! How about:

  • Homemade lemonade
  • A selection of herbal teas
  • Mocktails
  • Fruit juices
  • Sodas

11. Do you have a baby shower for second baby?

Yes, of course! There’s nothing in the baby shower rules to say you can’t!

Every little baby miracle deserves to be celebrated! If you don’t need as much baby gear as the first time around, mamas can always enjoy a “baby sprinkle” – perhaps with fewer gifts, but just as many fun memories!

12. Can you do a joint baby shower?

If you’ve found your Bump Buddy on Peanut, or your close friend or family member is also expecting their own little one, you might want to consider a joint baby shower.

While it’s unusual for baby shower etiquette, it can happen, and can make planning a budget baby shower a bit easier.

13. How long should a baby shower last?

Just how long are baby showers?

According to baby shower etiquette, they don’t tend to last too long, since the mama may get tired, depending on how far along she is.

So 2-3 hours seems to be the general baby shower rule for how long baby showers last.

14. Don’t forget to say thank you!

A traditional baby shower etiquette rule that still gets a thumbs-up from us is sending out personalized thank you notes a week or two after your shower (before baby makes an appearance and spare time is a thing of the past)!

Thank you gift for baby shower

If you want to send the baby shower host a little something to say “thank you”, congratulations! You’re following all the classic baby shower etiquette rules!

A small gift like a bunch of flowers or a piece of jewelry is a special way to thank the host or organizers for their hard work.

15. Virtual baby shower etiquette

What if you’re hosting a virtual baby shower?

What’s the baby shower etiquette when you’re not really there?

Well, most of the baby shower rules are the same for virtual as for an in-person baby shower.

You’re expected to show up on time, RSVP, and take part in the games.

It’s also good virtual baby shower etiquette to turn your camera on, even if you’re a guest ‒ it can be a bit disheartening for the mama-to-be when she can’t see you.

16. What should you not do at a baby shower?

Being a guest at a baby shower can be a new experience too.

But “what not to do at a baby shower” really varies depending on your group of friends or family.

We’re not here to tell you how to behave, and only you’ll know what’s appropriate and acceptable for the mama-to-be.

Most of all, this is a day for her to enjoy the company of her besties and loved ones, celebrating her bundle of joy.

That’s all the baby shower etiquette you need to know ‒ now go out there and have a fabulous time!

Popular on the blog
Trending in our community