Everything You Need To Know About Planning A Baby Shower, According To Experts

Hint: Registry information not included.

Baby Shower Invite Etiquette
Hint: Registry information not included. Photo: Getty Images

Are you hosting a baby shower? Start the celebration off on the right foot 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 the new baby's arrival. For this special event, planning when to host, what to send invitations, and what details to include are all essential factors to set your party up for success.

Gayden Metcalfe, author of Being Dead Is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral, is a hosting and etiquette expert offering advice on throwing the perfect baby show. Here are the best etiquette tips for planning a baby shower.

Gayden Metcalfe is a hosting and etiquette expert and the author of Being Dead Is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral.

Baby Shower Planning Etiquette

When is the Best Time to Throw a Baby Shower?

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).

How Far in Advance Should You Send Invitations?

Send out invitations three weeks before the party to ensure guests have time to book babysitters, shop for gifts, and make arrangements to attend the party.

Should You Send Paper or Email Invitations?

There's a great debate between sending paper invitations or e-vites. We suggest going with paper. Grandmothers and other elderly relatives probably don't use email, and gathering everyone's address will make the thank-you note process for the mom-to-be much more manageable since she should send them before the baby arrives. Paper invitations are also keepsakes for slipping into the baby book.

What Phrasing Should You Use?

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!"

What Details Should You Include (or Not Include) on the Invitation?

To include on the invitation: the name of the expectant mother or parents, the host's contact information and address, RSVP information, 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 instead of the invitation.

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