Proper etiquette isn’t something that’s reserved just for formal events and high tea. As a mommy-to-be who will soon be showered with baby gifts, becoming familiar with the dos and don’ts of baby registries can help you be a gracious recipient of everyone’s gifts, time and attention. But don’t worry, we’re not talking about a rigid set of white-gloved rules. Modern manners simply dictate a more thoughtful way of conducting yourself.
“Etiquette today is more lifestyle based and has more to do with how we make other people feel,” says etiquette expert and syndicated advice columnist Elaine Swann .“We need to ask ourselves if our actions will make someone uncomfortable, hurt their feelings or embarrass them. This is the kind of consideration that we can apply to our baby shower registries.”
Hold Back on High-End Stuff
Um, is there a thousand-dollar stroller on your wish list? It’s okay if you have a taste for luxury baby swag, but you don’t want your guests to feel pressured into buying you such expensive items by adding them to your registry. “If your friends and family are not in the income bracket where they can afford those kind of gifts, then you should not register for them,” Swann says. Doing so would be inconsiderate and may make your friends or family feel embarrassed that they cannot afford to buy what you really seem to want. Create a baby registry with items that every guest can afford and you’ll have no worries.
Cut the Registry Insert Cards
It doesn’t matter if the store provides them or your shower host hand writes them in calligraphy, mentioning a registry in your invitation is like directing guests to buy you a gift—and that is a definite no as far as etiquette goes. “Your registry should just be passed along by word of mouth,” advises Swann. “When people RSVP they can ask where you are registered and your shower hosts can share that information with them.”
Forget old-school thinking that dictates a baby shower should be held for firstborns only. It’s perfectly acceptable for family or friends to celebrate your second (or even third) baby, just make sure that you skip the baby registries and follow modern etiquette guidelines when planning. Swann advises that you ask your hosts to throw you a sprinkle (a celebration for repeat moms) instead of a shower. “A sprinkle is a smaller gathering of close friends and family,” says Swann. “Guests can bring their children along and gifts are not the emphasis. It’s more about celebrating the arrival of another child.”
Don’t Go Viral with Your Registry
While you may want to get every single one of the cool items that you’ve taken the time to register for (who wouldn’t?), sharing your registry with the world on social media is well, tacky. Swann advises that all moms should resist the urge to post, share or tweet their baby registry. “If they are not invited to the party, then they should definitely not be invited to buy you gifts.”