A very dear friend just announced that she is pregnant and expecting at the end of February. I am very excited for her, and because she is a close friend and I love hosting parties, I am planning to host her shower.
I know that she is not really a fan of standard baby shower activities, and I have to say I can’t blame her! Many of the games I’ve had to play at baby showers have been boring at best, gross on average, and at worst, humiliating for the mother-to-be. Needless to say, I will be very selective about any games we play!
I’d like to host a more “modern” shower. It will probably be co-ed, per my friend’s wishes, and we may do it in the evening as either a cocktail party or a coffee and dessert party. I have a few questions about the etiquette for this kind of event, though! Most of my friends and I live in apartments or condos. The only one who doesn’t is my friend who is expecting! Thus, she is the only one with a home large enough to host more than 12 or 14 people. I know that a mother-to-be should never host a shower for herself, but can I host at her house?
If we are not able to find a private home to use, we may have the event at a restaurant in a private dining room. It is appropriate to have a cash bar at a hosted event of this kind?
Part of the standard events at a normal baby shower is opening gifts. I am having a hard time imagining this working well at a larger-co-ed event — it can seem interminable even at a large all-women shower. I have heard of showers where the mother-to-be opens gifts as guests arrive or as they leave, which might work well for a “come-and-go” shower, but makes keeping track of gifts much harder. Must the mother-to-be open gifts at the shower, or is it acceptable to bring the gifts home unopened and simply send thank-you notes as you would at a wedding?
How do you phrase the invitation for a baby shower so that people know it is co-ed? It seems a little gauche to write “co-ed” on the invitation! Any other suggestions you have for making this event a success are very much appreciated!
Thank you so much, Clueless in Seattle
Dear Clueless in Seattle,
Congratulations to your friend! No matter what kind of shower you decide to throw, she’ll be delighted by your thoughtfulness. These days, baby showers can be anything from tea and cookies to a full-scale, co-ed soiree. I don’t blame you for being overwhelmed with questions.
Though obviously it’s not ideal, I think it’s OK to host the shower at your friend’s house under these circumstances. Be sure to arrive with all your own supplies. You’ll also need two groups of reliable volunteers, one for set-up and one for a very thorough clean-up.
Hosting the shower at a restaurant is great, but not if it means having a cash bar. Have you looked into parks or community centers in your area? Sometimes you can rent them inexpensively or for free, then serve whatever libations match your theme. For example, you could have a baby shower/BBQ at the park with beer and wine. (Did you know Target sells the latter in juice boxes? Genius!)
I also like your coffee and dessert idea. In that case you could host the party somewhere fab without serving any alcohol at all. This works well with a budget because you’ll have a clear understanding of your costs going in — there won’t be any big surprises upon receiving the bill.
I know what you mean about gift-opening dragging on for days. Still, the whole purpose of this party is to shower the mother-to-be with gifts so she’s prepared for the baby’s arrival. Is it possible to open presents without bringing the festivities to a halt? Maybe this can happen in another room or a designated corner. Those who are interested can watch and coo over each item, but nobody will be forced to do so for 45 minutes.
As for the invitations, there’s no need to emphasize the co-ed element in writing. Simply address the invitations to Amy and Andrew rather than just Amy. Your guests will get it right away. If you want, you can also incorporate the words “Couple’s Shower” into the invitation (much like the one shown here).
For more inspiration, check out Hostess with the Mostess. This blog is full of fantastic ideas for parties of all kinds!
Remember, your friend and her husband will be thrilled no matter what you decide. Have fun planning the fete!