Baby Shower Invite Etiquette - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-01-2008, 04:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My friend is throwing my baby shower for me and I need to come up with a guest list. I have family all over the country that probably will NOT be attending, just due to the fact of travel and the timing of the event (near schools starting back up again). I should still send them invites even though I know they won't come, right? I don't want to seem like I'm fishing for gifts (the invites will include my registry) but I don't want to be rude by not inviting them even though I know they won't be coming. Thoughts?

Mama to my Addie Bug wool.gif (10/2008) and angel1.gif (6/2010); nursing student & childbirth educator
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Old 07-01-2008, 04:41 PM
 
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I would never have sent an invitation out to someone who could not attend, because to me, that's gift-grabbing. But my MIL was appalled when she learned I wasn't sending out invites to her "close" relatives out of state, who obviously would not attend the shower.

She said they would be far more offended to NOT be invited than to be invited, even with the assumption they would not attend.

So I swallowed my adamant feeling that I was coming off looking greedy, and sent them invitations. My only consoling factor was that if you do not attend a shower, you are not required by etiquette to send a gift. But of course they sent gifts. So I just sent very nice, prompt, thank you cards with a note about how much they were missed at the shower, etc.

But I did NOT send out invitations to people from my family who would not be attending. They would've viewed it as gift-grabbing, I'm afraid. My ILs are odd people. It's more important that they feel included in everything.

So it depends on your family and how they'd view it, honestly. I'd have gotten in more trouble by not inviting my ILs.

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Old 07-01-2008, 04:46 PM
 
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I had the same experience as the pp- while it was humiliating to send invites to people clear across the country that I had never before met- my MIL insisted on it and it made her a lot happier.

Iowaorganic- mama to DD (1/5/06), DS1 (4/9/07), DS2 (1/22/09), DS3 (12/10/10), DD2 (7/6/12) and a new kid due in early 2014

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Old 07-01-2008, 04:57 PM
 
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Everything depends on how people view it, and it's hard to please all of them

In our part of the country, putting the registry info on or with the invitation would be the impolite aspect, not the act of inviting people who likely can't come.

Why not just take the registry info off and send them the invitations? Those who want to use the registry will know to ask the RSVP-contact or relatives for info.
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Old 07-01-2008, 05:07 PM
 
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It's not gift-grabbing if you put a disclaimer on the card that says while well-wishes are appreciated and gifts are not necessary.

It's a shame that some people look at invites as folks begging for handouts. I know there are some people out there who are into the whole getting loot thing, but that's really rare. Planning a huge event ends up being pretty expensive—especially if you are doing it yourself and you involve food and alcohol. I'm not saying that justifies believing your guests have to bring gifts, but after all that work and money, the gifts come out in the noise.

I haven't had a baby shower, but I planned my own wedding. I invited a lot of extended family—some for the sake of parents. Quite a few did not come because they were far away and it wasn't a good time for them, but they still appreciated the invites (the invites were handmade which made it more special).

Then there were the long-distance relatives who actually did come. These included folks I didn't often see. They were really excited to come to see us marry, but a big reason they came was to see a large number of family members they'd not get the opportunity to see otherwise. It was kind of like a family reunion for some of my family, and it was really special to a lot of them. Our wedding was more than just an event...it was a party where everyone shared in our joy.

I wasn't initially interested in a baby shower, but my husband is. We will probably plan it the same way.

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Old 07-01-2008, 05:23 PM
 
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Most of my friends are many states away and I knew they were unable to attend my baby shower. I did not send them an invitation because I felt that was a 'formal' way of asking for a gift and in my opinion it can be seen as a little rude.

Rachel - Married to my Best friend & Mama to Quinn Patrick 7/18/08 - Mama to : Clover too
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Old 07-01-2008, 06:30 PM
 
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I would send the invites but NOT include the registry info. When people call the hostess to RSVP they can ask for registry info if they want it. For long distance friends, you might want to call them or email them yourself and let them know that as much as you would love to see them you don't expect them to travel to your shower. Your mom/MIL can take this same step with the out of town relatives.

My shower is just my side of the family (except MIL and SILs) and my friends--I think all friends/relatives in the Northeast were included but not my west coast friends. Basically anyone who could reasonably drive if they wanted to. My cousin in Seattle is also invited, but that's because we know she's going to be on the East Coast on the date of the shower.
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Old 07-01-2008, 07:57 PM
 
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My MIL made us invite a ton of people to our wedding that were her relatives from far away. I felt awkward about it because I knew they wouldn't come and also because DH (and certainly not I) had even met most of them. It was even more awkward when they sent gifts which I had to then write thank you notes for (I personally think thank you notes are the dumbest thing ever, especially for showers or birthday parties where you open the gift in front of everyone and tell them thank you in person... sorry tangent). It was hard trying to figure out what to say to these people that I didn't even know.

This time since my MIL is the one actually footing the bill for the shower she's being a little less demanding about the guest list and trying to keep it as small as possible. I'm having to fight for some of my best of best friends to be on the list.

I have a few friends that live far away, but I still consider close. They also happen to have been bridesmaids of mine. She wanted to know why I didn't have them on the list, but I know they are really busy with school and other commitments right now and wouldn't come all the way back to our city just for a shower. I mean maybe they would surprise me, but I think the chance is pretty slim. So I'm not sending them invites. I'm kind of afraid of them thinking that I didn't care to invite them, but I also send them e-mail updates about the pregnancy and they can read my blog if they really wanted to (everyone I know, knows about the blog) which has a link to my registry. I figure if they wanted to send us something then they would. But I'm not going to shove an invitation asking for a gift (especially to poor college students) when I know they won't be coming and don't have the time.
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Old 07-01-2008, 09:06 PM
 
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I wouldn't invite friends that live far away. However, I live in Massachusetts and my family all lives in Indiana. I know that my mother and MIL would certainly try to attend. My grandmothers might be offended if they weren't invited even if they couldn't attend. Right now there isn't a shower for me on the horizon, but I don't plan on inviting my grandmothers or other female relatives far away (offended or not).
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Old 07-01-2008, 11:17 PM
 
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I always send invites to people I know can't make parties. I guess I feel like it tells them that we do want them there and we wish they could make it. I would leave out the registry info from the invites at all, but that's just me. Registry info can be spread by word of mouth.

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Old 07-02-2008, 10:20 AM
 
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Yup, i'm with PPs-- here in the South, you would invite anyone who might have their feelings hurt if not included. Etiquette allows that registry info can be included and usually is, but I find that a bit distasteful, personally. That being said, with my last pregnancy, I had two showers-- one for family, and one for coworkers and friends. I was not involved in producing or choosing invites, just in submitting a guest list, to which each hostess added whomever they wanted. Both invites included gender, desired colors and registry information. Most people didn't follow that at all.

And I am a whole-hearted believer in the good, old fashioned graciousness of thank you notes. I hand write them immediately with as much detail and excitement I can muster and try to include photos from the event that include the gift giver. In this fast-paced, impersonal world, I think a hand-written thank you note offers a touch of class and grace, and I definitely notice when I don't get one from a wedding or baby shower. Just my southern 2 cents.

Whatever you choose, hope it's wonderful!
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Old 07-02-2008, 12:03 PM
 
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We sent invites to people we knew couldn't make it because it was the only announcement that we were having a baby. I never thought of it is a being rude, just an easy way to share the news that we were expecting.

Karen happily partnered mother of 3 beautiful girls (teen/toddler/newborn).
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Old 07-02-2008, 12:41 PM
 
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I'm in the same pickle as the OP! I had decided to not send invites to people I knew wouldn't be able to make it, but I'm not sure if that's the best thing to do or not. I'm going to see if Ms. Manners has anything to say on the matter.
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Old 07-02-2008, 03:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks ladies!!

I'm thinking I'll just put on there "for registry information, please contact Amber Lion's Mom" b/c my friend isn't really that up on my family and registry stuff. That way they can call her if they want to know it and it won't be in their face, but I do feel like I want to include those people, let them know we would have loved them to be there, even if they can't come. Sound reasonable?

Mama to my Addie Bug wool.gif (10/2008) and angel1.gif (6/2010); nursing student & childbirth educator
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Old 07-03-2008, 12:12 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KatyLinda View Post
I always send invites to people I know can't make parties. I guess I feel like it tells them that we do want them there and we wish they could make it. I would leave out the registry info from the invites at all, but that's just me. Registry info can be spread by word of mouth.


I don't overthink the guest list that much. I guess I feel like it's my job to invite whoever I want to include, and it's the guest's job to either come or not, and send a gift or not.

Who I invite is who I want to celebrate with- what they do with the invitation is up to them.

Sleepy mama to Colin Theodore 8-12-08 and Trevor Arthur 7-17-12.

 

 

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Old 07-03-2008, 02:19 AM
 
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I just checked Judith Martin's book Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior and she said that showers are only for local guests. However, should you invite people and be concerned that it sounds like a gift grab, refer to the event as a tea instead of a shower.
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Old 07-03-2008, 02:35 PM
 
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Judith Martin's parents, siblings, and in-laws must all live in the same (small) state. (My money's on Connecticut )
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Old 07-03-2008, 02:42 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nautical View Post
I just checked Judith Martin's book Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior and she said that showers are only for local guests. However, should you invite people and be concerned that it sounds like a gift grab, refer to the event as a tea instead of a shower.
Thanks Nautical (and Miss Manners). I googled endlessly yesterday and couldn't find anything definitive.. I kept my guest list to locals (+ one for my Mom in California just as a keepsake). I think my hostess was nervous at first about me inviting too many people (we had a little bit of drama over it earlier on), so I felt better keeping the guest list shorter, anyway.

I'm pretty sure it doesn't matter too much either way. I'm just trying to keep my hostess happy without offending my out-of-town friends/relatives. Now I can defend my actions by referencing Miss Manners! What a relief.
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Old 07-03-2008, 05:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by magpiedee View Post
And I am a whole-hearted believer in the good, old fashioned graciousness of thank you notes. I hand write them immediately with as much detail and excitement I can muster and try to include photos from the event that include the gift giver. In this fast-paced, impersonal world, I think a hand-written thank you note offers a touch of class and grace, and I definitely notice when I don't get one from a wedding or baby shower. Just my southern 2 cents.
I agree 110%!!!

Rachel - Married to my Best friend & Mama to Quinn Patrick 7/18/08 - Mama to : Clover too
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Old 07-03-2008, 05:47 PM
 
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My MIL see's it as gift grabbing. We recently got married, had an immediate family only wedding and a big party a couple months after and she wanted us to send invites out to family that lives in Jersey and CA...knowing full well they wouldn't come. She told DH that at least they will send gifts...

Needless to say, I didn't send them invites. I think it's tacky. I would just send something after the baby arrives to let them know.
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Old 07-03-2008, 06:38 PM
 
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i threw a shower for my sis-in-law, and invited her out of town friends and family - BUT added on their invite "in lieu of gifts please send written good thoughts/wishes for mama and babe." people mentioned how happy they were to be included.
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