Who Traditionally Pays for a Baby Shower

Selection of cupcakes


Footing the Bill for Baby's Celebration

What could be better than spending hours surrounded by loved ones who want to celebrate your impending motherhood by showering you with gifts? Having someone else foot the bill; that's what. You have a lot of expenses coming up in your near future, but paying for your own baby shower isn't one of them. The person or people who host the shower typically pay for everything. All you should have to do is show up with a smile.

Etiquette Says

Traditionally, the mom-to-be's closest female relatives—her mom and sister(s) and the mom and sister(s) of her partner—were the only family members who couldn't host a baby shower. For many years, that was considered inappropriate, because it could appear as if the family was hosting a shower just to get gifts for themselves.

Instead, other women who were close to the mom were expected to host. Aunts, cousins, coworkers and close friends of either parent-to-be would organize the showers and pay for them. Often, multiple people will team up to organize the event and split the cost.

Today's Traditions

Happily, the strict etiquette rules pertaining to baby showers are all but ignored today. That means a woman's mom, sister, mother-in-law or sister-in-law can host a shower without hesitation. And while it was once traditional that only women would attend a baby shower, that rule no longer applies either. The baby's father can attend the entire event if he'd like to, and you can ask that other men be invited too.

However, remember that some hosts may still care about traditional etiquette and might be unnerved by the idea of inviting men to the shower. Throwing a shower is a generous gift, so talk to the host about her ideas for the shower and respect her wishes if you can. If she insists on a ladies-only shower but your husband really wants to come, you may have to make a tough decision about whether to disappoint him or graciously decline the host's offer altogether.

Shower Success

Love being the center of attention? Hopefully, you'll get to do it several times in the months leading up to your baby's birth. Many first-time moms have two or more showers, depending on who steps up to host. Some moms also get showers for new babies even if they have older kids.

At minimum, it's normal to have one shower for the mom's family and one for her partner's family. Your coworkers may throw a separate shower. You may invite friends to one of the family showers, or have a separate shower for just your closest pals. And if you have close family in multiple cities, you may have multiple family showers in different places.

But while it's now appropriate for anyone to host your shower, it's always inappropriate to invite the same group of people to multiple showers, since a shower invitation is an implicit request for a gift. However, your mom, mother-in-law, partner and close siblings may want to go to both family showers and even another one hosted by friends. Make sure there are no other crossovers, or at least reach out to those people to stress that they shouldn't feel obligated to give you multiple gifts.

As for the shower itself? The person who's paying for everything gets to make the planning decisions about refreshments and activities, but she should ask for your input about scheduling and the guest list. After all, it's your party.