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Too Many Baby Shower Hosts!

By Amalah

Hi Amy,

I’m a big fan of your blog and the Smackdown! Thanks for all your advice!

I have a question for you. I am pregnant (with twins)! We have had an outpouring of support from our friends. Three different people have offered to throw showers for me. I (graciously, I hope) accepted offers in from the first two. When the third person asked, she said, “Has anyone offered to throw you a shower?” I replied, “Yes, and I’d love it if you are able to attend. I’ve requested that (the host) invite you!” Her response was disappointment that she hadn’t offered to host sooner. Then, she asked if she could host a not-official-shower gathering for a group of friends that I probably would not have invited to one of the official showers. (Basically, the group is my husband’s college friends, who we love to see, but usually only manage to see once or twice a year.) I accepted her offer, and she threw a very nice not-official-shower. Also, that whole group of friends went in together and got us a very nice gift.

So, now the question is – should I still invite the not-official-shower host to one of the official showers? On one hand, I told her that she was going to be invited. On the other hand, she has already done so much, I don’t want her to feel obligated to attend and/or buy another gift. I am not sure how to proceed and would appreciate your feedback!

Trying to Follow Proper Etiquette!

Okay, so first of all, I’d recommend you drop this whole “official vs. unofficial” shower thing, as it seems to be making things overly and needlessly complicated. You’re having three baby showers. Three different hostesses, three (I assume) different guest lists.  One down, two to go.

What your friend did was lovely, and there’s no reason her gesture should be thought of as anything other than what it was — she hosted and organized a small totally-real-and-meaningful shower for you. You write her a very nice thank you note for all her efforts and tell her what a wonderful treat it was to see all those friends at the shower, blah blah blah.

As for inviting the hostess of one shower to another shower, it’s really up to you. Typically you want to keep guest lists unique for each shower, but plenty of times that’s just not possible, so it’s not like some big breach of etiquette. Close friends and family members — or members of the wedding party, in the case of bridal showers — are often invited to more than one shower, and Emily Post makes it clear that they are NOT obligated to bring a gift to each and every shower. If you’re invited to more than one shower, you bring one gift to the first shower and that’s it.

(Although if you feel odd showing up completely empty-handed, Emily Post suggests bringing something very small, like chocolates or something homemade. And the guest-of-honor/bride/mother-to-be should make a mention of their earlier generosity, in this case, a public thank-you to your friend for organizing the get-together and the group gift.)

Since you did mention the other shower(s) and told her an invite would be forthcoming, it’s probably best to leave her on the guest list, but have a talk with her about first. Nothing huge, just a casual heads up: Oh hey, so remember how I mentioned I put you down on the guest list for another shower before you offered to organize one yourself? I think invites will be going out soon, so please know that 1) You’re totally still welcome to come, but 2) There’s ZERO obligation to attend if you don’t want to or just can’t make it, and 3) you’ve already gotten me a gift so NO GIFTS THAT’S AN ORDER, ha ha lol ttyl. 

Basically, make sure she knows she is welcome and hasn’t been mysteriously booted or demoted from the guest list, but ALSO impress upon her your gratitude/recognition for everything she’s already done and that there are no further expectations from her (attendance or gift-wise), other than to keep being such an awesome, sweet friend.

More Etiquette Advice from Alpha Mom:

  1. The Etiquette of Baby Shower Guest Lists 
  2. What to Do With Pre-Baby-Shower Shower Gifts
  3. Self-Hosting a Joint Baby Shower: Yay or Nay?

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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