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Baby Shower Guest Etiquette

Published July 03, 2014        by Rae Ann

Flickr Photo Credit:  April KillingsworthHeaded for a baby shower in the near future? They’re great events, to be sure, but if you’ve recently received an invitation, you may be wondering about your responsibilities as a guest. This quick guide can help you sort it all out.


The invitation should have a number you can call or an email address you can use to let the shower host know if you’ll be attending. If you have a previous engagement for that date, you should certainly call to let them know you won’t be there. Make certain, though, that the shower isn’t a surprise before you tell the mommy-to-be that you can’t make it. Etiquette demands you tell at least the host, not necessarily the mom. If you’re not coming, you’re not necessarily expected to send a gift. Just wait until the baby is born to send the gift.

The Gift

You want to go to celebrate this exciting event in your friend or relative’s life, but there’s a little matter of the gift before you head to the shower. Wondering if you need to buy one at all? Generally gifts are expected at a baby shower. Unless otherwise stated on the invitation, you should at least bring a card or a small baby gift to the shower. If you’re having financial difficulties, there are lots of small gifts available, and if it’s a recycled shower, it’s completely expected that you’ll bring a gently used gift anyway.

You may have noticed registry information printed in the shower invitation. While you can certainly use that as a guide to know a bit more about what the parents-to-be would like, you don’t have to feel obligated to buy from the registry. This is a chance to shower her with gifts for the baby, but they don’t necessarily have to be specific gifts. In some cases, the shower might be themed for certain gifts, like a library shower where guests are expected to bring books for baby, but for the most part, you can bring whatever gift you like.

Deciding how much to spend can be the toughest part of the equation. Factor in how close you are to the mommy before you decide what you want to spend. If it’s a very close friend or a family member, you likely want to spend a bit more on that gift. Going with a big gift for a baby you’re going to get to know in the years to come is a perfect idea.  If it’s a coworker or someone you don’t know very well, keeping it to around twenty dollars is completely appropriate. If you’re budget-challenged, spend only what you can afford on a gift.

What to Expect

If you haven’t been to a baby shower before, you may not know exactly what you’re getting into. Expect some party conversation, a few silly games that are always fun, snacks or cake (unless otherwise specified on the invitation) and the chance to see what everyone else brought as the new mommy opens her gifts.