I think I'll be declining this time. If my friends were closer geographically, I'd definitely say yes, but it's only dh's family around me and (this is horrible...) last time the shower was kinda lame/uncomfortable. I mean, it was nothing but kindness of them to throw one, but it's weird going to a shower where half the guests are uncles/cousins of your dh that HE hardly knows, much less me.
I do think small, intimate showers are great for non first-timers. I threw one for my SIL earlier this year, and she loved it-- We took her to her favorite sushi restaurant, had a private room with a sunken table, and it was just her closest friend, her MIL, and her SILs (also friends). Each setting at the table had a pretty plate with baby clothes "sushi", and the center of the table was filled with SILs favorite lilies....she got gifts and got to take the ceramicware and "sushi" home.
The funny thing is that, even though she *really* wanted the sunken table room, she had such a hard time getting up and down from it! We were all doubled-over laughing!
My own opinion about Welcome Baby parties...I'd be too paranoid about winter viruses to have one. Anyone with kids would know to stay away if they have a cold/virus, but some folks without kids are so oblivious to the fact that there's going to be a newborn in the room. When my babes were born, we had to turn a couple ill visitors away at the door. For some reason they thought "oh, it's just a cold--no big deal. I don't want to miss the party!"
: I think if you have one, it would be vital to be very firm about illness instructions, and definately have everyone march straight to the bathroom to wash their hands!