Baby showers are traditionally a fun and intimate gathering of all of the most important ladies in an expectant mother's life. And baby shower invitations, like wedding invitations, come with some etiquette guidelines baby shower hosts should definitely keep in mind. If you're hosting a baby shower for a soon-to-be mother in your life, it's a good idea to work together to choose the design and message of the invites (unless, of course, the shower is a surprise). Here's a guide for everything you need to know to choose and send baby shower invitations:
Traditional baby shower invitations are on the more formal side, meaning they may something along the lines of, "[The host] requests the pleasure of your company at a baby shower to honor [the mom-to-be]." However, these days, less formal invitation wording is absolutely OK, so you and the expecting mother should decide what you think is best. The rest of the invitation message should include the date, time and address of the baby shower, and an ending time if applicable. Then, include RSVP information at the bottom. If you want, feel free to add a short message about suggested attire (say, if you're having a themed party) or any other special instructions.
The formality or informality of your baby shower invitations should be reflected in how you address the envelopes. If you've chosen formal wording, envelope addresses should include titles and non-abbreviated street addresses. Remember: For women, titles should be "Miss" if she's under 18, "Ms." is she's over 18 and "Mrs." if – and only if – you know that title is her preference.
The registry information
Baby showers are so named because the parents are "showered" with gifts by guests, but asking for presents or money is still a very tricky situation. Hosts often opt to leave gift registry information off of the baby shower invitations and provide it only to guests who ask. However, it's OK to include the information on the invitation itself, especially if the guest list is very small and contains only close friends. Another option is including a separate stationery card with the registry information on it. If the parents don't wish to receive presents, add "No gifts, please" to the bottom of the invitations.
As far as who's receiving baby shower invitations, it's usually up to the host to decide. If the shower is not a surprise, you and the mom to be should come up with a guest list together so nobody important is accidentally left out.
When to send
Baby shower invitations should be sent at least four to six weeks before the party, which means they should be ordered ahead of time to allow ample opportunity for you to address them and send them out. Remember that baby showers are typically held around one to two months before the due date, but if the expecting parents' schedules are particularly full around that time, you may want to consider an earlier date. Welcoming showers are also becoming more popular, which is when showers are held a few weeks after the baby's birth.
Thank you cards
While the baby shower's host is responsible for sending baby shower invitations, thank you cards are typically the responsibility of the parents. Ask the soon-to-be mom and dad if they'd like you to order thank you cards when you place your order for the invitations so that they can stay on top of sending them out.
If you're hosting a baby shower, you may want to set aside one invitation and have it framed for the expecting parents – it's a lovely touch and a gift your friend will be able to hold onto for years.