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Discussion Forums

The Etiquette Queen Parties

Showers, Baby & Bridal
See Other Categories

Ask your questions of the Etiquette Queen now.
You may even see your question and answer posted in the space below.


Nina asked:

One of my good friends and are expecting the end of Sept. It will be her first and his second and they had a difficult time getting to this point. We just found out that no one is planning a shower for her and we wanted to throw her a Jack and Jill "Surprise" shower. The problem is we all live in such a scattered area, about 2 hours apart, and her husband and I are trying with one other friend to get this together and still be special. Have any ideas on a throw together, economical, yet very special shower for an extremely Special friend? i.e.. invitations, theme, etc. P.S. He has an EXTREMELY large family, and she has almost none but we have a Huge friend base as well. I could use your help... Thanks

The Etiquette Queen says:

What a great friend you are. Getting everyone together isn't the problem. Organizing it might be. Why not have a picnic on a Sunday to allow for travel time for those that live farther. You can grill and do all the picnic stuff. In case of rain, it's still easy to move indoors. As for a theme, there are many on party411.com/themes. Look at www.oriental.com for great decorations and favors.


randie asked:

I and 4 other people are hosting a baby shower for my sister-in-law, how should the costs be divided.

The Etiquette Queen says:

Evenly! You're all hostesses.


Susan asked:

My friend is throwing me a baby shower in mid August. I'm not sure who I'm supposed to invite. I've only been to baby showers at work. All of my friends (except her) live way out of town. Is it ok to invite people from church who are my parents age?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Invite whoever you are close to, age is not important. Invite those who you think would be giving you a gift anyway. Send an invite to you friends and see if they can make it.


Mary Ann asked:

My mother is hosting a baby shower for me. I was not interested in inviting my husband's side of the family in an effort to keep the party small. Is it proper etiquette for my husband's side of the family to host a shower also?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Well, you might be opening a can of worms. How does you husband feel? Each side could give a shower but you should have both grandmothers-to-be. Good luck!


Joyce asked:

I am in a bridal party of 5 girls but not the maid of honor. The matron-of-honor and I are doing the main planning. The other girls don't seem too interested in planning. I don't want to take the bulk of costs. I'm already making invites (stamps), decorations, food, and deposit for a clubhouse, and favors and prizes to games. The matron of honor wants to just make food only. What are your opinions on splitting the costs of the bridal shower?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Well, I can't understand why the mail of honor and other attendants won't participate. If they're good enough friends to be in that position, they should pitch in. but since you decided to have it with one person, figure out all the costs and divide them in half, no matter who is doing what.


Kendra Christie asked:

I am hosting a bridal shower for my best friend and she is having a very small wedding (only 25 people). I feel that it would be rude to invite people who are not invited to the wedding, but is there any point in having a bridal shower with only 4 people there? Or should I change it into a jack and jill shower? My only concern with that is that one of the girls does not have a significant other in her life. I really wanted to have a shower for her, and I'm sure she would be thrilled if I did, but I am not sure if it is appropriate. Can you help?

The Etiquette Queen says:

If anyone is not invited to the wedding, there's no way to tell if they would attend a shower. Feel out a few of these people and if it seems that they would enjoy it, go ahead. Or, you might have a party for the bride after the wedding and invite people who didn't attend.


Sarah asked:

I am 7 months pregnant with my second child, and my son is only 17 months old. Because my children will be so close in age, I still have all of my son's "baby things" in good condition and not all packed away. But this baby is a GIRL and I have absolutely no clothes for her. My mother had paid for the expenses of my son's shower, but I did all of the work. I don't have any friends here, just work acquaintances and I do NOT get along with my in-laws...so I don't have anyone else that would possibly throw a shower for me. My mother has told me that she feels that it is inappropriate for her to host the shower, and that she would rather spend her money on things she knows we need and really like for her new granddaughter. I know that you have said that this is not true these days, but she just will not do it and I don't want to push. I don't want to throw myself another shower, and I don't want to impose on anyone ~ I certainly DO NOT want to ask someone to throw! !

The Etiquette Queen says:

First of all, I have never look at an old family album and seen pictures of any baby shower or any display before I was born. I'm not scarred from it. No one is. Take you mother up on her generous offer. Those that want to give the baby a gift will do so after she is born. Relax, there are many more things to come. Trust me, I have 2 grown daughters and 3 grandchildren.


Louise asked:

We planned a baby shower for a friend's daughter in late February. The baby was due in late April. Unfortunately there were complications with the pregnancy and so we postponed the shower. The baby was born in late April and everyone is doing great! The husband is a student and they could use some shower gifts. Is it too late to have the baby shower now? If so, what would be a good theme?

The Etiquette Queen says:

I'm very glad that mom, dad, and baby are doing well. It's never too late for a shower, especially with those circumstances. Have it as soon as you can so the new parents can benefit from the gifts. One great idea is to provide a gift certificate for a number of hours of babysitting. That's one of the hardest things for new parents to find.


Tanya asked:

My mom wants to throw my baby shower. Does that go against proper etiquette?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Of course not. I think it's wonderful for both you and your mother. It will bring you closer now and when the baby's born.


Jill asked:

My co-workers are giving me a baby showers at work, this is my first baby, Should they pick the date and time? or should they ask me when a good date is? I know that they want to have it 6 weeks before my due date, I was hoping to have it sooner, just in case the baby comes early. Also, I wanted to invite my sister, mother, and mother-in-law, and sister-in-law. Is this ok?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Sit down with the hosts and pick a date. 6 weeks before sounds ideal to me. Will your coworkers feel OK with your family? Will your family feel OK with your coworkers? Is there going to be another shower where you could invite them?


Rochelle asked:

I will be hosting a bridal shower in Septic will be an outdoor BBQ, and the bride has picked a shower theme of "Time of day" where each guest is assigned a time of day ex: 7:00am and they are supposed to bring a gift that applies to that time of day. How do I word the invitations so that it doesn't sound like we are just asking for gifts? also since it is an outdoor bbq do I still have to stick to the time of day theme with the decorations? I was thinking of maybe a tropical setting would that be ok?

The Etiquette Queen says:

You can use any theme you want, i.e. tropical. Just make sure the invitation says "Time of the Day" and assign one to each guest. Have some suggestions in case they ask.


Lisa asked:

A friend was engaged just this weekend and the wedding is in 3 weeks-July 16...(He had everything planned out before he surprised her by popping the question! Her sister and friends are excited for her. However, her mom didn't respond positively. She told my friend that she is happy for her engagement but doesn't want to plan a reception for her. My friend is disappointed and hurt (there is a bigger story here) that her mom doesn't feel it important enough an event to recognize it socially or even within her own family. So, her sister and I would like to at least do something for the happy couple. Can you suggest an EXTREMELY economical shower/reception/celebration type event that we can do relatively quickly. It will probably have to happen after the wedding, but we would still like to provide an evening to recognize the momentous event. Any suggestions?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Why not have a pitch-in dinner. Everyone bring something to eat (someone coordinate that) and people can bring a wedding/shower present at the same time. It's a shame her mom is so cold but she shouldn't let that ruin everything. Just jump into a good party with both feet. Look at party411.com/themes for some party ideas.


Janie asked:

A few of my friends are hosting a bridal shower for me. Is it proper etiquette to give all the hostesses a gift for throwing the shower or would a thank you card suffice?

The Etiquette Queen says:

A thank you letter would be fine as long as each one is individually written to each hostess with different things said.


Gina Lofberg asked:

A lot of us are unsure whether or not it is considered appropriate to have a baby shower for your second child? We are throwing a neighborhood shower for a friend in July who is expecting her second child after 6 or 7 years, so we figured she definitely would need some new and improved baby items. However, I am also due with my second child this fall, but my first will just be 3 years old. Some family members thought they'd throw me a shower as well. This caught me a little off guard since I was always under the assumption that you only got a shower for the first pregnancy. I admit, however, that I could certainly use some help with the expense of a new baby, and would enjoy some new and updated gifts. Should I accept this offer, and if I do, who do I invite? I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable inviting all the same guests as before. I don't want to offend anyone. What do you suggest?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Nothing wrong with a shower for the second child, especially if it has been a few years. Clothes get beaten up and there are always new styles. Also, second children deserve some new things. You don't need new equipment. Invite family, they'll give you a present anyway and any friends you believe will also give a gift. Don't worry, if someone doesn't want to participate, they'll not come.


Jennifer asked:

What is the protocol for telling guests on a baby shower invitation where the mother-to-be is registered? Is this tacky or sensible?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Whatever happened to letting the guest decide what to give? If you like them enough to have to a shower, trust their judgment. If anyone asks like when they are RSVPing, tell them. Otherwise, keep your fingers crossed and remember you can always return and exchange.


Nanette asked:

Yesterday most of the family found out that my cousin is getting married this Saturday. She is getting married in the Pastor's chamber with only a few people present. Shortly after the wedding the newly married couple is moving to another state. Should I rush to give her a bridal shower in the next few days, should I wait until after the wedding before they leave town, or should I just say forget it and just give her a gift.

The Etiquette Queen says:

Ask your cousin what she wants. You really don't have time to do it before the wedding so forget that. Try to put something together for after or when she is coming to visit.


Laurie asked:

I am having a Bridal Shower for my cousin who is getting married this November. When should I have the shower? Some people tell me a month or two before the wedding others say three to 5 months before the wedding. What is best?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Usually the showers are a month or so before the wedding but you work to the convenience of you and the bride-to-be. More than 6 weeks would be a bit of a reach.


Carole Stephens asked:

I am hosting a baby shower in a restaurant for my daughter who is expecting her first child in September. Some of my friends who are already grandmothers may want to bring their "little tykes". How do I tell them that I do not wish to have kids at the shower and that if they do have to bring them they will have to pay for them?

The Etiquette Queen says:

As a grandmother myself, I cannot believe that anyone would want to bring a child. This is no place or time for children. You should make that clear when issuing the invitation. This party is about your daughter, not someone else's grandchildren. After the baby is born, they can all attend a kiddie party.


Lisa Blackmore asked:

I am throwing a shower for a close friend. It will be at the end of July. Are Baby Shower's usually on Saturday's or Sunday's and what is the most appropriate time if just finger foods will be served. Is champagne appropriate for the guests?

The Etiquette Queen says:

The day of the week doesn't matter. Champagne is just fine but be sure to have some non-alcoholic beverages for those who can't or don't drink. Have the party anytime between 2-5. You are not serving a meal and traditionally showers are not in the evening. That doesn't mean that you can't have it at night. There are no rules about a shower except to have fun.


Nora asked:

I am going to give my stepdaughter a bridal shower . The question is should I send a invitation to her mother even if I feel she would not come . I have no problem with her being there and feel she should be there for the daughter . Should I leave it alone .

The Etiquette Queen says:

Ask your stepdaughter what she would like you to do. Be sure to tell her what you said about having no problem but not the part about her not coming. It will then be up to your stepdaughter and her comfort level.


April asked:

I am giving a baby shower for my best friend soon. Since I have no kids of my own, my house is not suited for children (having white carpet and leather couches). Her mother has told me that if I write on the invitations "adults only please" people will be offended. Is it proper to have an adult only baby shower? I do want everyone to feel welcome but am not able to accommodate children. How can I word this on the invitations making it clear to leave the kids at home without being rude?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Mom was wrong. You may, of course, say "adults only please". I would never think of bringing a child to a shower anyway. Maybe you could have it in the evening and let the daddies baby sit.


Linda Meikle asked:

My friend is giving me a shower (our wedding is June 19th). What is the etiquette concerning invitees? Our wedding is going to be small and we can only invite a few friends. However I have lots of girlfriends at work. Would it be rude to invite them to the shower and not the wedding?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Not really. Invite those who you think would give you a gift. You never can tell about these things. You and your fiancÚ might want to have a party after you're married and include those who didn't go to the wedding.


Keisha T. Watkins asked:

I am having a baby shower in early Aug. It is scheduled to be an outside event, what is a good number of guest? My fiancÚ's mother and I attend to separate churches I have met her members and they are excited about the baby, Do I invite them. I have a decent size church but is very personal who do I invite I would want some people to feel left out. HELP ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Etiquette Queen says:

Why not have separate showers. You host the one for the people you know and let your future mother-in-law host another. Be sure to help her out with her plans. Too many people at one shower is boring and takes too long to open the presents. It is always more fun the other way. Or, you can divide the guest by age.


Angela Dickinson asked:

My sister-in- law had a baby 2 weeks ago and is planning on attending my baby shower next week? Should she bring her new born to my baby shower?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Only if a few things are said before. First, what do you want her to really do? Will you resent it or not mind? Assuming you don't mind, ask her if she would like to bring someone to watch the baby in another room. Ideally, it is your shower and it's your baby-to-be who's starring but there are no real rules. If it was me, I'd get a sitter and enjoy a kid-free day.


Cindy asked:

As the mother-to-be, am I required to buy a gift for the hostess of the baby shower?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Of course not. The party is for you and your baby. Don't forget to send a thank you and you might want to include some flowers.


Betty asked:

A friend's college-age daughter is having a baby in 2 months. She is living at home while going to college and will not marry the father. My friend thinks her daughter should not have a baby shower "because of the circumstances." What is the proper etiquette ruling on this?

The Etiquette Queen says:

In today's world, the rules are different. There don't seem to be any. If people want to give her a shower, by all means, do so. The baby will need things whether it has a live-in daddy or not.


Rachael Giallongo asked:

I would have to disagree with you that the Mom-to-Be wants to plan her own baby shower AFTER the baby is born and then not allow children!!! I would be scared to see what kind of parent this woman turns out to be if she already can not tolerate children! Just MY opinion!! Rachael Giallongo

The Etiquette Queen says:

And we are all entitled to have our own opinion. But if the new mommy wants adults only for just a few hours, let her have it her way.


Jennifer asked:

Is it okay for me to help in the planning of my baby shower? My friend who wants to give it for me lives out of town as do I. I want the shower to be in the town where I am from (where most of my friends live). I would like to help in the planning. Is that selfish?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Not at all. How else would this get planned? I only wish more people would get involved at the beginning instead of complaining at the end!


Sister's Baby Shower asked:

I am giving a baby shower for both of by sisters. The shower is at 2:00pm on Sunday. Do I need to have more than cake and punch? It seems that most showers have lunch or dinner. Thank you!

The Etiquette Queen says:

Most showers are at lunch or brunch. You don't have much time. Get trays from a local deli or the supermarket.


Lmount asked:

Who can give a bridal shower? Friends only or can relatives give one? Here in the South, I hear that relatives are not to give you parties. This applies to baby showers as well. Thanks!

The Etiquette Queen says:

Anyone who wants to can give a party for the bride as long as she says yes. Relatives or friends.


Laura Mount asked:

Who should give me a baby shower? Friends or can my sisters give it?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Anyone who wants to - same people will be invited.


Karen asked:

My sister in law is pregnant and wants a Jack and Jill baby shower. My brother is concerned about his single friends. Is it now considered proper to have a Jack and Jill Shower? If so, how do I handle my brother's concern about the men that are single and make the single men feel comfortable about coming?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Couples showers and Jack and Jill showers are getting more and more common. Actually, it is all how you word the invitation--and I think your brother is over-concerned. Make it a party and baby shower in one. That should help. If you want help with an invitation, let me know.


Frances Poage asked:

I'm having a bridal shower for my neighbors daughter, along with two other friends. The neighbors are like family and we're very close. The problem I have is that my neighbor is expecting us to invite the 300 guest that will be getting wedding invitations, and this is being done at the suggestion of one of the ladies helping with the shower. The 3rd lady feels the same way I do about the situation. Since this is the only shower she is having, they want everyone to know where the couple is registered for gifts. We know that 300 people won't come to the shower, especially since 1/3 of the people live out of town. I am so uncomfortable with this situation that I'm thinking of bowing out of the shower but hate to do that. I think this is tasteless and will add unnecessary expense to the shower. The postage alone will be $99. Can you think of another way of them letting others know where the couple are registered? I feel like this is just begging for gifts and it! ! makes us unable to plan for our shower. Who knows how many people will really show up. Please, please, please help soon, this shower is in 3 weeks and the invitations have to go out within the next 3-4 days.

The Etiquette Queen says:

Frances! Tell your neighbor that you certainly don't invite people from out of town to a bridal shower--otherwise, it looks like you are just asking for gifts, which truly isn't in good taste. As I reread your message, I see that you said those exact words--and you are right. Frankly, this idea of "telling" people where a bride is registered is a new one and many people find it offensive. When they send the second mailing to out of towners (which is usually what is done with a list of things going on for the weekend)...they can mention the places the couple is registered at that time. I sympathize with you. It's hard when it's a close friend and you have been put in, as you say, a very uncomfortable situation.


Roxie Macklin asked:

If you are planning your daughters baby shower, what type of people should attend outside of close friends and family members. Should you include the neighbors and distance friends of the mothers? The daughter now lives in another city for over 8 years with her husband. The mother is throwing her a baby shower in her hometown where she grew up? Who should really attend the hometown baby shower?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Close family, friends and co-workers of the mom-to-be and, if you want and your daughter approves, some of your close friends that know her. As far as people from out of town, that's almost like asking for a gift. A baby announcement at the time of the birth is more than enough. Congrats!


Jane asked:

Is it proper for the grandmother-to-be to give her daughter a baby shower? Thanks...

The Etiquette Queen says:

Absolutely.


Kathleen asked:

My friend is having a baby shower for me after the baby is born. I want it to be a couples shower so my husband can be involved. My problem is - I don't want people to bring their kids, so we're having it on a Sat. evening. However, my baby will be there and so will one other baby who is still breast feeding and can't be left with a sitter. #1 - is it tacky to allow these 2 kids and no others? (the other 12 kids are ages 1-10). #2 - if I say "you are invited to a couples baby shower" I don't want my single friends to feel left out. Can I say "you and a guest are invited to a baby shower"? Any other suggestions for a successful evening?

The Etiquette Queen says:

1. Having children at a shower that do not speak, run around or otherwise create havoc is totally different than allowing children that do. So don't feel bad. You're okay. 2. Don't do it quite that way. Address the invitations to "Sherri Foxman & Guest"-- that way you can call it a couples shower and not even worry about what the invite says. Other ideas...there are some fun games; or you can ask everyone to bring advice for raising children. That should be great fun...have them present it to the group. I guarantee you some good laughs.


Michelle asked:

I offered to give a baby shower for my sister-in-law. She provided me with a list of 50 people. My mother-in-law added 10 more people. Included in the list were family members that were hosting another shower for her. My question is... Do you invite people that you know are hosting another shower?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Yes, Michelle, you would invite everyone that's close to her provided by the family. I know it sounds kind of redundant, but that's how it is done. Some people are invited to two and three showers.


Maryanne asked:

My best friend is getting married and although we've always been close I don't feel we still maintain the same friends and acquaintances. We were college roommates and our relationship is still as close and familiar as it was 10 years ago (we talk almost everyday). I'm in a quandary about whether or not I should host the wedding shower. I feel I am the most qualified candidate but, I'm afraid that if I do, I would be organizing a party for guests I do not know. Shouldn't the guests know the host? Moreover, all our shared acquaintances are so scattered about the country that it would be impossible to get everyone together. What should I do?

The Etiquette Queen says:

It's very rare that the hostess of the shower knows all of the guests. There's nothing you can do about people being all over the country; you send out the invitation and hope people will attend. But then again, I'm sure she has relatives, friends from work and others-- so your numbers could be quite high. But only do this if your heart is in it, because it can be quite an expensive proposition. On the other hand, you may want to approach a sister, her mother or someone else to co-host with you. Hope I helped.


tabitha asked:

When throwing a surprise bridal shower for the bride---should special attention be given to the invited list? If someone is invited to the bridal shower, does that necessarily mean they are invited to the wedding? We are concerned we may put the bride in a tough position. Thank You so much!

The Etiquette Queen says:

Yes. Usually people that are invited to the wedding are then invited to the shower. Rarely does someone get invited to the shower who isn't on the guest list. Gifts, etc. It can get expensive...so invitations to wedding showers/weddings, etc., should be reserved for close friends.


Micah Toombs asked:

Is it inappropriate to have a baby shower for the third baby?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Absolutely not. Every baby stands alone and is independent of the one before! Do it.


Cheryl McConkey asked:

I'm getting married in December, and it's an immediate family only kind of wedding. It's short notice, we're just starting to send invitations, and we only want immediate family there. What's the nice way to say "No guests?" One more thing, who throws the bridal shower and things like that?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Cheryl, if you send out an invitation with a person's name and no "and guest" following that--that is a direct indication that they are invited without a guest. As far as your bridal shower, a close friend, sister or relative can throw it for you. Congratulations!! Live well and long.


denyse asked:

As mother of the "mother-to-be", is there any special gift that should be given. I have already purchased the crib and mattress, but have nothing to "wrap" for the shower?

The Etiquette Queen says:

I know what you mean. It sounds like you want to be part of the "shower." What if you bought a special set of sheets or a special blanket to use in the crib. At that time, your daughter can tell everyone you also bought the crib and mattress. By the way, congratulations.


Amy Gazard asked:

Comments = My husband and I have been invited to an engagement party. The party is being hosted by friends of the bride-to-be. Are we expected to bring a gift to the party?

The Etiquette Queen says:

I don't know how close you are to the bride-to-be. If you are not close, an engagement gift is unnecessary. If you feel obligated, a small gesture would be fine (like an hour of counseling -- just kidding--) like a gift certificate for a romantic dinner or something similar. Don't go overboard. There will be showers, weddings and anniversaries, too!


Molly Jackson asked:

Comments = Dear Etiquette Queen: We have been invited to an engagement party for a younger cousin. Is it appropriate to bring a gift, and if so, what is an appropriate gift? Thank you.

The Etiquette Queen says:

It's your choice whether or not to bring a gift; if you do, I always suggest something like a gift certificate for dinner or a weekend away. This is so much more appreciated than the usual "household" stuff. Time and time again, people will say to me they wish they would have gotten gift certificates rather than "gifts"--and I truly understand what they mean. Don't you? Go, have a good time and do what you think is right.


Tricia asked:

At my bridal shower who should get a corsage? There are many opinions on this issue? My mother says the bride and the mother of the bride and mother of the groom. My maid of honor says no only the attendants. Who's right?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Tricia...well, I called a few florists to make sure I was in the ballpark, and the typical response was bride, mother of the bride and mother of the groom (not the attendants).  On the other hand, since following rules isn't something I do very well, if you want to get corsages for everyone, do it!  It's such a lovely gesture and will make your attendants feel special from day one. Do what's in your heart; not what's in the Emily Post Guide to Wedding Behavior!

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