Miss Manners Baby Shower Etiquette

by Tamiya King

Judith Martin, the professional columnist known as Miss Manners, assists individuals in displaying proper etiquette and social graces in a variety of circumstances. When it comes to baby showers, Martin provides guidelines for those hosting the event, as well as suggestions for the guest of honor. If a loved one is expecting, it's important to know the etiquette associated with baby showers to avoid offending anyone.

Hosting the Shower

According to Miss Manners, it's not proper etiquette for a relative of the expectant mother to host the baby shower, as this implies that the family is begging for gifts. The Baby Shower 101 website asserts that baby showers were traditionally thrown by a close female friend of the family, a coworker or good friend of the guest of honor. These days, however, more baby showers are hosted by the sister or aunt of the expectant mother.

Subsequent Baby Showers

Miss Manners doesn't recommend that a pregnant woman have a baby shower if she is welcoming any other child other than her first. The purpose of baby showers is to equip the guest of honor with all the items she needs to care for her first baby; once the woman is having a second or third child, it's in better taste for her to have a small, informal gathering if her close friends and loved ones insist on having a celebration for her. Setting up a gift registry for a shower that isn't for the guest of honor's first child is bad manners, and gives the impression that the honoree is begging for gifts.

Guest of Honor Etiquette

It's not proper for the mom-to-be to behave in a demanding manner when it comes to putting together the details of her baby shower. Miss Manners suggests that it is acceptable for the host of the baby shower to decline her position if the guest of honor has a lengthy guest list or makes extravagant requests like hotel accommodations for her out-of-town guests. Asking for specific gifts in a certain price range is improper etiquette as well. As a general guideline, it's important for the expectant mother to be gracious and accept the effort of her host in organizing a shower she will hopefully enjoy.

Baby Shower Gift Registry

Since it's not proper for the expectant mother to ask for the gifts she wants, Miss Manners also asserts that it's bad taste to include a registry list in the baby shower invitation. Registries, she suggests, are simply a way to get someone else to purchase items for you that you don't want to buy yourself. Purchasing a gift from the registry also takes the thoughtfulness away from gift giving; friends and loved ones should be observant enough to sense what the guest of honor would need or want based on her decorative preferences, or by listening to her conversation to pick up on what she may need for the nursery.

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