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Discussion Forums

The Etiquette Queen Parties

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


Becky asked:

My sister-in-law and I want to throw our sister-in-law a bridal shower. This is a second marriage for both bride and groom. Is there an etiquette problem with us throwing this shower and do couples generally have showers the second time around?

The Etiquette Queen says:

I wouldn't have a shower since they were both married previously. Why not have a couples party instead. Otherwise, you might look greedy. Those that want to get them something, will get them a wedding present on their own.


Ren asked:

My question is this. Is it wrong for me to throw my own shower or ask someone to throw my shower for me? My family lives 1500+ miles away and my fiancÚ's family and I have only met 3 times, although they are significantly closer in distance than my own. I have many friends, although none who are close enough to think of planning the party themselves. My best friend also lives where my family is. This is our first child, and I would love to have a co-ed party, both to get some of what we need as well as just an afternoon of baby fun. Can you help?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Do not throw your own shower or ask anyone to do it for you!!! That will look like you only want presents. You could wait until the baby is born and see who sends a gift. You could send birth announcements at the time. A shower is given by a host/hostess who wants to so see if your husband's family offers.


Cheryl asked:

We are located on the small Island of Guam in the South Pacific. I am expecting my first baby in April and some friends have offered to throw a baby shower. Should I include my family and friends from home in the invitations list although they obviously can't be here for the shower. I have a number of close friends and very close family but is this asking too much?

The Etiquette Queen says:

If they can't be there but would normally send a present, don't send a shower invitation. That would look like asking for too much. Some will probably send a gift before the baby is born but you should send birth announcements to all.


Carol asked:

My son has been married before and is getting married to a girl who has not, is it inappropriate to have a wedding shower for them inviting the same people who came to his first wedding shower?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Have a shower inviting the girl's friends and family. You could include anyone you think would not feel put-upon to buy another gift such as his aunts, sisters, etc.


Rema asked:

Is it traditional to "toast" the mom-to-be at a baby shower? I am hosting and need to know if I should purchase special glasses for a toast.     Thanks.

The Etiquette Queen says:

You don't need special glasses for a toast. And a toast is appropriate at any time if it is genuine.


Sue asked:

I am getting married in June. My bridesmaids are all under the age of twenty-two and still in school. Since none of them really have the money to throw me a shower, one of my aunts is going to throw it for me. She wants to keep the shower under fifty people. The problem is that I have been told that proper etiquette is that every woman who is invited to the wedding has to be invited to the shower. There is no way I can keep the list under fifty people, and I am positive I am only getting one shower. Any Suggestions?

The Etiquette Queen says:

What you were told is not true. You only invite those people who are close to you such as sisters, mother, mother-in-law, bridesmaids, other close friends of either you or your mom. Not every woman at the wedding. Whoever told you that is WRONG!


Erin asked:

I am getting married in April. My Maid of Honor is throwing me a shower, and asked me for a list of invitees. I gave her a list of immediate family and friends (25 total) and my mom added 2 that I hadn't thought of. The place is booked, favors bought, and my future mother in law comes up with 30 people that she needs to invite. Everybody is upset. Now my MIL is mad at me, my MOH is mad at her, and I knew nothing about this until it became a problem! I am going out to dinner with my MIL on Thursday....what do I do?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Boy are you caught in the middle. The best solution is for your MIL to help arrange another shower. To have everyone at one event is too many both time wise and price wise. Plus half the party won't know the other half. Suggest a separate party where she can "shine".


Jen asked:

My best friend is throwing me a baby shower. I have another friend who has been talking about throwing me a baby shower with a very specific group of friends. I am very close to the family of one of those friends. I would like to invite his mom and grandma to the first shower. My dilemma is: will be awkward to have invited Mom & Grandma but not my friend's wife? I don't want to double invite people; however, since I haven't heard of any plans for the second shower, I doubt it will actually happen. I don't want anyone to feel left out but I am ADAMANT that I don't want to double invite people. I'm comfortable explaining that the second shower had been talked about but never came to be, and that's why they weren't invited to the first. But am I just creating more of a nightmare situation? Plus, the first shower is ladies only, and to invite the ladies that would be invited to the second shower will a) put the number of guests way over what's reasonable, and b) I've! ! e been friends with the guys since high school, not their wives, and I know they would be hurt not to be included. Advice? PS -- How should the shower invitations be addressed? My mom says, "Mrs. John Smith", except if widowed, and I had "Mrs. Joan Smith". I'm not sure if I'm comfortable addressing them to just "Joan Smith" b/c my mom is VERY big on my not addressing her friends by their first names and I don't want my best friend to present the suggestion of over-familiarity.

The Etiquette Queen says:

First of all, unless a date has been set and the preparations made, there is no party. So assume that there is only one shower and invite all the women to that. That way there are no hard feelings. If the other person wants to do something for you, have it after the baby is born and let her have a tea or something. But do invite all to the first party, because you never know if there will be a second one and you don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. Secondly, if the party invites are going to your mom's generation, address them as Mrs. John Smith if they are currently married, Mrs. Joan Smith if they are widowed or divorced and if they are your close friends, do it any way you want.


Jennifer L asked:

I am planning a surprise baby shower for my sister who lives out of town. The baby was born on Jan 6, 2000 and I was planning to go with a millennium theme. Also since she does live out of town and has no friends here would it be appropriate to invite some of my friends to the shower. I will be having it at the end of Jan.

The Etiquette Queen says:

Does your sister know any of these people. If not, they would probably resent having to bring a gift. Why not have the shower at her home town. Invite her friends. It will be easier for her and the baby.


Kim asked:

My sisters-in-law are planning a bridal shower for their other sister's daughter. They have decided whose house it will be at. When it comes to us "sisters-in-laws", is it okay for them to assume that we are helping throw the shower and delegate responsibilities such as, buying the cake, buying and making favors, providing flowers for the tables as well as a gift and couple of appetizers. We were never officially asked to help or if we wanted to. Or is it the responsibility of the person or persons who decide to throw the shower? Thanks Kim

The Etiquette Queen says:

First of all, a hostess decides whether to give any sort of party no matter what. Second of all, while she should have talked to everyone about the plans, just go ahead and do what you have to do. Why make your niece suffer? Speak to your sister-in-law privately afterwards and let her know that in the future you appreciate being asked, not told. Get the others to go along with this.


Richard asked:

We are having a Bridle shower for our cousin. Do we need to buy her a gift, when we are bearing all the expenses? Plus, my wife is invited to three more showers for the same cousin, is she required to get a gift for each shower see attends?

The Etiquette Queen says:

For the shower you are hosting, give the bride a good bottle of champagne and a box of chocolates for the wedding night or honeymoon. I don't know what you intend to give this cousin for a wedding gift but if you can split it up into 3, give it in stages. Or, write a cute poem telling her that all good things come to those who wait and give her the wedding gift at the last shower.


Magda asked:

My sister and I are hosting my sister-in-law shower. She is due in July. How early should we start making plans? Is the month of May too early for the shower. We are all so excited!

The Etiquette Queen says:

Perfect month. Things are starting to bloom and grow and have new life and that's what you are celebrating.


Angela asked:

My sister has decided to have her baby shower at an expensive restaurant. She wants 6 of us to each put in $100. Some of us offered to have it at our homes, but she didn't want it. She is now complaining that she feels no one cares and no one is planning the games and favors, etc. We are also expected to buy a gift I am sure. I feel that everyone feels like she is "throwing" the shower and that is why no one is really getting involved in the rest of planning, not to mention no one knows each other. What are your thoughts?

The Etiquette Queen says:

You sister sounds like a selfish, immature girl. A party that's given should be planned entirely by the host/hostess. That includes the place and how much is spent. That's an awful lot of money for anyone to spend on anything, not including a present and other things. Either your sister should get over it and let you all do the planning or, if it was me, I would forget the whole thing and just have everyone get her a present when the baby is born.


LMclendon asked:

If you have a Baby Shower at a restaurant who should pay for the food. I have been given two different answers. The host should pay or it is ok to expect the guest to pay for their own meal. 

The Etiquette Queen says:

You have to decide. If you are actually hosting a party, you pay. If you are arranging for everyone to get together for a party, they pay individually.


kimberly asked:

My friend is getting married in March 2000.I am in the wedding and was recently notified by her sister that they are going to have a Bridal shower at a restaurant for 100 people and she is expecting the bridal party to pay $250 each to cover the expense and to get a gift. She dropped this bombshell 3 weeks before Christmas. Customarily speaking, who should bear this expense and can you specify the type of woman whom a shower of this magnitude should be thrown for ? The bride to be just recently had her 2nd child, each by a different man and already tied the knot with the 2nd baby's father at the municipal courthouse....

The Etiquette Queen says:

And this is a friend - honey, I would have to meet your non-friends. You are crazy to participate in this farce. This is a gold digger. And you can tell her I said so!


Marcia asked:

My best friend is getting married in 6 months. She has not yet asked me to be in her wedding party, nor has she said anything yet about who, if anyone, she has chosen. Regardless, some friends and I want to throw her a shower. We want to include her in the plans, but we don't want her to think that we are assuming anything about our participation in her ceremony. What is the best way to handle the situation? Also, is there a proper way to ask if she has decided on her bridesmaids? I don't want to put her on the spot.

The Etiquette Queen says:

I would wait until she makes some decisions before making some of your own. Let her lead the way. You have plenty of time to put a party together.


Jeannie asked:

My sister-in-law is expecting her first baby. I know anyone can give the baby shower, I don't want to hurt her only sister's feelings, but since her sister is not financially able to do it, I offered and my sister-in-law accepted. When I called her sister to ask about planning the shower, she seemed to want to be involved, but she doesn't even have the time or the resources to help me plan. Should I just go ahead with my plans, consulting only my sister-in-law for who the shower is for and put my name as Hostess on the invitations?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Why not have her involved in the planning, the invitation and the whole thing. She can coordinate the food, or accept the rsvp's or make something for the shower, or locate what you need. Having a baby is a "family" thing so get her involved.


CHRISTENE asked:

I am pregnant with my 3rd child and have already had 2 showers but my youngest is 6 years old. I know you had answered a lot of questions about 2nd children but this is my 3rd. My mom and friends have suggested a luncheon instead of a "baby shower" but in essence the guest will be bringing a gift for the new baby. Is this a good idea to call it that or can I have a shower. Thank you in advance for you help

The Etiquette Queen says:

You can call a party anything you want but if you call it a shower, you are asking for a gift and if you call it a luncheon, you leave it optional. You decide.


Kelley asked:

My Mom is having a baby shower for me and I would like to give out thank-you messages tied with a ribbon from the baby. I need to find a poem for it but all I can find is for when the baby is already born. My son is 4 months old. PLEASE HELP!!!!!

The Etiquette Queen says:

Well, you could write one, find someone to write one for you, or go to the library and ask the librarian to help. I'm sure that there are some poems for this but I do not know one off-hand.


Beth asked:

I am pregnant with my second child. My first one was born at 28 weeks and doing GREAT. I was not given a baby shower for the first one due to the situation. My sister has asked if She may have a shower for this baby, but several people has said that it is wrong for a sister to give a baby shower, and if I called Miss Manners she would say no no no!!! I was wandering what the Etiquette Queen would say? Please help!

The Etiquette Queen says:

Neither Miss Manners nor I say no, no, no. We say yes, yes, yes. First of all, you never had a shower with your first child (glad it's doing so well). But that is not important. Each child is a new being and a new celebration and deserves to be treated as such. So go ahead and have the shower and enjoy it and poof to the nay Sayers.


Amy P. asked:

I am throwing my sister a bachelorette/bridal shower at a pottery painting restaurant. I have paid the overhead and will be catering heavy hors dourest. How should I word in the invitations that the guests purchase the pottery that they paint for the bride, as well as drinks? Thanks!

The Etiquette Queen says:

Explain the concept lightly in the invitation and when they RSVP, you can explain the entire thing with the range of items and the cost. What a great place to have the party.


m. pearce asked:

Is it proper for a mother-to-be for the second time to have another baby shower?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Why not, it's a new baby isn't it.


sarah asked:

if the mom to be is involved in the planning of the baby shower is it still okay for her to participate in the games

The Etiquette Queen says:

Of course, unless they involve some danger to either her or the baby.


Danielle asked:

I am the maid of honor in my best friend's wedding, and I am throwing her a shower this weekend. My mother told me I have to buy the Bride and her mother a corsage. I only thought it was the bride. Do I need to buy on for the Mother of the Bride?

The Etiquette Queen says:

There is no rule about this. I have never given the bride a corsage for a shower but used fresh flowers as part of the decor. The corsage is dated but do whatever it takes to keep peace.


Kim asked:

If it has been five years since my sisters first baby, Can I have another  baby shower for a new baby???

The Etiquette Queen says:

Of course, new baby, new things.


Shelley asked:

Dear Etiquette Queen, My sister is trying to get pregnant with her second child but her husbands first. Her other child is 10. Is it proper to have another baby shower since it is her and her husband first child together and such a gap between children? Thanks for your reply.

The Etiquette Queen says:

Of course. Each child is new and special and deserves to be recognized as such. And, what lasts for 10 years? Have a shower and have fun.


Nancy asked:

I'm throwing a (my first) bridal shower for my best girlfriend/bride-to-be. I've been given different feedback as to who is responsible for the final bill. I've been told that all the bridesmaid and the mother of the bride and then others have told me that just the maid of honor and the mother of the bride. Which is right? And how can I ask the other bridesmaid for money since she hasn't offered yet?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Usually all the bridesmaids, maid of honor and matron of honor host the shower and split the costs equally. If you are hosting this alone, I think you might be making a financial mistake unless you go with a tea so that it doesn't cost as much. Remember, the host(s) pay.


Mary asked:

My 21yr old is having a baby out of wed-lock should I invite the father's family & friends to her baby shower or only his mother? If not, should he be allowed to partake in the festivities later on or if the shower is co-ed with her family and friends only. I would appreciate any help you can give me. Thanks, Mary

The Etiquette Queen says:

Mom, you better ask your daughter how she feels and what she would like. Don't start out with bad feelings all around. If for no other reason than that a baby is involved and always will be. I personally would invite anyone who cared to come and will be involved in this child's life. by the way, out of wed-lock is no longer used. If you must refer to her marital status, she is single.


K. CHANG asked:

I would like to throw a baby shower for my sister in law. I would like to invite her sister, problem is that her sister has three problem children. I do not want to invite them. What to do? Without hurting feelings.

The Etiquette Queen says:

You simply put on "everyone's" invitation that it is adults only. If she asks, tell her to let dad baby-sit and plan it for a time when that would be possible.


Sara asked:

I attended a baby shower that cost $15.00 (for the food at the restaurant), had a small gift listed on the invitation (small package of diapers, baby rash cream, etc.) to bring, and on top of that I bought a bigger gift for the mother to be. I am throwing a baby shower for my sister and we are having it at her mother-in-laws house (so the $15.00 would not apply). Is it okay to include the small gift suggestion on the invitation?

The Etiquette Queen says:

The mere fact that it is a shower means that the guests bring gifts. You might want to suggest that they add something practical like diapers, bibs, etc.


Lyn asked:

HELP!! My sister is having a baby, after a very long struggle, at first I was told her best friend should have it now all of a sudden they say I should have it, I need advise, if I should have it, and I would LOVE too, I need some good suggestions and lots of fun. Please let me know if this is what need to be done as far at etiquette is concerned? Her baby is due in November 1999 so I need quick response!!!  Thanks for your help!!!!!! Lyn

The Etiquette Queen says:

Relax, there really aren't any rules. Why don't you have it together. Recently my daughter hosted a shower with the girl's sister and another friend. Pick a date any time before the baby comes. Decide whether to have brunch, lunch, tea, etc. and where to have it. For a theme there are many ways to go. First, check out party411.com/themes for some ideas. Look at www.oriental.com for great decorations and favors. HAVE FUN!!!


Rachel asked:

Please Help! I am having a baby shower for a close friend -The date is Oct. 24th which is close to Halloween & I don't want to stick w/ the traditional baby shower themes--I wanted to have somewhat of a Halloween theme involved in the shower but I am having difficulty being creative...have any creative ideas for this shower i.e.: party favors/games/foods/?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Why not have a pumpkin patch and instead of pumpkin seeds, put little baby dolls. You could use real or fake pumpkins for decorations and get small baby dolls wrapped in blankets from a toy store. Use balloons in the appropriate colors and sprinkle candy corn and miniature chocolate bars all around.


Mandy asked:

My sister-in-law is a mother to be and I received an invitation to a baby shower given by her sister. We are close and I called her sister to ask if she needed help. How do we split the cost, if there are others in the family who are willing to help? I enjoy parties, yet I like them simple and don't want to be overwhelmed with doing all the work. My name is not on the invitations as a host. I really don't care about that, but my mom thinks buying the invitations and getting them out does not make you the lone hostess if other's are helping you after the fact. I have planning experience in these matters and want to help make it a nice occasion. Any suggestions? How should we handle this? Is it also okay to ask others to bring covered dishes or finger foods and we provide the cake, drinks, party gifts, more foods, building rental etc.? Need to know ASAP.

The Etiquette Queen says:

Wait a minute, who's the hostess here? I think you should ask these question of her sister first. She might have a few thoughts on the subject and it is her party. Ask her what she would like to do and then listen. There are no rules about the food and things, just have a great party for the mother-to-be.


TRIMETRES asked:

Can you have a baby shower for the second child? Can you give your own baby shower?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Yes to the first question. A new baby is a new baby. But have someone else host it.


Amanda Heilers asked:

My friend is having a small family wedding with only fifteen to twenty in attendance. Is it appropriate to have a bridal shower in her honor even though nobody who will be invited to the shower will be invited to the wedding?

The Etiquette Queen says:

It really depends upon those you would like to invite. Test out one or two and see how they feel about it.


Carletha asked:

My question is I'm having a baby shower at work and at home with family and friends do I ask like my close friends at work to come to both or not I don't want them to feel like they have to bring a double gift??...Please help...

The Etiquette Queen says:

Unless someone is in the wedding party, or a relative, one shower is enough.


Pat asked:

I am thinking about hosing a shower for a young girl who is a friend of the family; I do not know her family. Is this proper? I would also like to plan this as a "honeymoon" shower. Is there any way to ask for guest to bring money to help the couple finance a weekend trip?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Money is not a shower gift, it's a wedding present. Sorry, good idea but not doable. You can give the shower, just pick a different theme. Also, since you should invite the bride's mom and any sisters or family she would like, get to know them ahead of time. Check with them to see if there's already one being planned.


MaryLou Mendenhall asked:

Who could and who should not host a baby shower?

The Etiquette Queen says:

Anyone who wants to host a shower may do so. There are no rules as to who can and who can't. Usually a sister, best friend or aunt gives it. It could be day or evening, just girls or couples.


Julia asked:

My mother-in-law is planning a baby shower for me in September. She told my husband she would like it to be held at our house. My husband said that was fine with him but I think that would be improper. What is your opinion?

The Etiquette Queen says:

There's nothing wrong with having it at your house. Actually, think of it this way. You won't have to transport all the presents and you can show off the baby's room. You'll also make your mother-in-law very happy.


patty asked:

I'M THROWING A BABY SHOWER IN OCTOBER, SINCE IT'S IN OCTOBER THE WEATHER HERE IS NOT SO GOOD THAT TIME OF THE YEAR, DO YOU HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS OF WHERE I SHOULD HAVE IT? PLEASE RESPOND A.S.A.P. MY 2ND CHOICE IS HOME, BUT JUST WANTED TO HEAR IF YOU HAVE ANY PLACE BETTER. THANK YOU HOPE TO HERE FROM YOU SOON.

The Etiquette Queen says:

October is such an iffy month. And you have at least one pregnant woman to care for. Why take a chance. If you have a patio or backyard, make some plans to use it and if the weather turns on you the last minute, you can come inside. Better safe than sorry.


Mary asked:

My younger sister is having a very small wedding in October--only very close family will be in attendance. My older sister and I would like to throw a co-ed shower for the bride and groom. However, many of the friends who we will invite to this shower will not be invited to the wedding. How should we word the invitation?

The Etiquette Queen says:

You should send the invite for the party with no reference to the ceremony. One idea, have the party after the wedding and call it a wedding party instead of just a shower. That way the guests will feel like they're invited to celebrate. A lot of people have a small private ceremony and then a party with lots of people. Combine the shower/party.


See more Etiquette Queen Questions on Showers, Baby & Bridal.

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