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How to Throw Yourself A Baby Shower That Isn’t Tacky

By Amalah

First of all, I love your website. It is witty and funny, and I am thoroughly enjoying it.

I have a conundrum, and I am hoping you can set me straight. I am in my second trimester (15 weeks) in a new-ish place (2 years), and have not made a whole lot of close friends. We moved to DC for my husband’s job, and I am now working. The issue is a baby shower. It is our first baby. My family lives far away (250-500 miles away.)

My sister advised that she wants to throw me a shower, but she lives 500 miles away, is flakey with financial issues, and is extremely anxious and can barely endure everyday living, never mind plan anything. It would be a situation where she would say she is throwing it, and then it would just never happen. I do have a few close friends, but they just aren’t the type to step forward to do this type of thing. Even though I threw one of them a shower for her first baby last year. And now she is pregnant again.

My thought is to do one of two things: (1) have my husband reach out to one of my close friends in the area and say he is going to throw me a surprise baby shower, and ask for her advice and help, and then get a few of my other friends involved with small tasks (one does decorations, one does invites, etc.) That way there is no one person who has to take it all on. Or (2) the husband and I have a last hurrah cocktail party or barbecue to celebrate freedom before the baby, and just treat it like a big party (with no mention of gifts or anything; just a good time). I love throwing cocktail parties and dinner parties. It is kind of my thing.

Do those options seem like a good idea and NOT tacky?

If you don’t desperately “need” your friends and family to outfit your nursery and buy you baby gear, I would DEFINITELY vote for option 2. It sounds like fun, and steers completely clear of any shower etiquette faux pas, because it’s not a shower.

If you really and truly have your heart set on a “traditional” baby shower, option 1 isn’t the WORST proposition I’ve heard, assuming that none of your friends figure out that you’ve basically conspired with your husband to plan your own fake surprise shower. That would be…kinda yick, yes. I would only attempt this one if you’re really, really confident in your husband’s acting skills and this is really that super important to you.

As for the basic idea of a husband hosting a baby shower: I am fine with it, because in some cases it just makes sense if no one else steps up, or there isn’t an appropriate local hostess. Families are so scattered nowadays that plenty of women end up pregnant away from close friends/relatives, and traveling for a shower isn’t always possible either. I think a partner-hosted surprise shower can be done right — if it’s all about the mom-to-be and making her feel loved/celebrated and not a blatant gift grab. [NO REGISTRY INFO ON INVITES THIS IS THE HILL I WILL DIE ON, YOU GUYS.]  But I must add the caveat that not everyone agrees. You will run the risk of some guests being grossed out by a dude throwing a shower for his own baby. Completely up to you to decide how much weight you care to give their opinion(s).

From your letter, however, it sounds like the traditional shower isn’t all that important to you — you’re more concerned about other people taking on too much responsibility, but still want to do SOMETHING to celebrate, rather than wait around for someone to step up/follow-through and be disappointed in the end.

So. I would go with the Last Hurrah Before Baby party. Do it yourself, as it’s your thing. It’s a great idea and I bet you’ll have more fun than outsourcing balloons and streamers and shower games to flakey and/or unwilling friends. No gifts or registry info on the invites. (Not to say that you can’t register. Just only offer than information up when EXPLICITLY ASKED.) If people do bring baby gifts, take them and put them somewhere not visible to guests that don’t.

Just be prepared, however, that hosting a party at 8/9 months pregnant can be a TOTALLY different experience than what you’re used to. Consider making it a potluck, or a casual Open House sort of thing where people can drop by as opposed to all showing up at once demanding drinks/food on the same schedule. Make it clear on the invites when the party ENDS to minimize stragglers hanging out past your exhaustion point. And maybe treat yo self to a cleaning service post-party!


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About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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