Hint: Registry information not included. 

Hint: Registry information not included

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Hosting a baby shower? Start the celebration off on the right foot with by following invitation etiquette. Believe it or not, there are right and wrong ways to announce a gathering in honor of the soon-to-be mother (or parents) and arrival of the new baby.

Plan to host the shower four to six weeks before the baby’s due date. The expectant mother won’t yet be at a stage where she’s uncomfortable, and there will be no fear of her water breaking during gift opening. It’s also appropriate to host the shower a few weeks after the baby’s birth, which could be helpful for guests when shopping for presents (especially if the parents waited to find out the baby’s gender). Send out invitations three weeks before the party to ensure guests will have time to book babysitters, shop for gifts, and make arrangements to attend the party.

There’s a great debate between sending paper invitations vs evites. We suggest going with paper. Grandmothers and other elderly relatives probably don’t use e-mail, and the process of gathering everyone’s address will make the thank-you note process for the mom-to-be much easier since she should send them before baby arrives. Paper invitations are also keepsakes for slipping in the baby book.

WATCH: Baby Shower Etiquette with Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hays

As for phrasing on the invitation itself, etiquette expert Gayden Metcalfe recommends avoiding the word “shower” altogether, as the word can sound off-putting. “Say something general like ‘It’s a Girl!’ to help those of us who are going to the party know what kind of present to bring,” Gayden says. Some mothers are superstitious about including the soon-to-be-born baby’s name on the invitation, so stick with a generic heading like “Celebrate Baby Boy!” or “Welcome Baby Girl!”

To include on the invitation: the name of the expectant mother or parents; the host’s contact information and address, RSVP information, and reply-by date if necessary for party planning; and, if revealed, the baby’s gender. To not include: registry information. If your guests are internet savvy, they’ll know where to find online registries. Or you can enclose a separate card in the envelope that lists registry information, but don’t list it on the invitation itself.