Baby Invitation Etiquette

by Della H. Harris

invitationsHave you ever wondered what the etiquette is for the multitude of baby shower and life event invitation that are out there?

Whether you're planning a baby shower, baptism or your child's birthday, the invitation will be the first impression your guests have of your celebration or event.

Make sure your invitation conveys the same theme, style and message that you are planning for your occasion.

Use these how-to's to get started!

General Invitation How-To's

Whom to Invite

This really depends on the type of event. Please reference the below events for specific details.

When to Send

If a party is informal, invitations should be extended two to three weeks before the event. For more formal events, six to eight weeks are required.

What to Include

You have many different styles and themes to choose from depending on your occasion. The best way to generate verse ideas is to browse through our sample verses. Typically, an event invitation would include the following:
-- Opening: Short phrase inviting your friends and family to the event.
-- Description of Occasion: The purpose of the invitation and what the event is about.
-- Host(ess) Name: Full name of the host(s) or hostess(es) hosting the party
-- Honoree Name: Full name of the child (children) being honored, such as the birthday boy/girl, the mother-to-be.
-- Date and Time: Day, date of the party followed by the time. Avoid using abbreviations if it is a formal event.
-- Informal Event: Saturday, September 27th 8:00 p.m.
-- Formal Event: Saturday, the twenty-seventh of September
at eight o'clock in the evening (Note: it is acceptable to include an end time on an invitation. If time is an issue, you should include it to let guests know to arrange pick up times for the children).
-- Location / Place: Name of the place you are holding the party if the venue has a name (Crossings Restaurant). The address should only include the street and city. You can include the state if out of town guests are invited. Zip codes are excluded.
-- Other Instructions: Indicate appropriate attire if you think there may be any ambiguity. If your party requires specific directions such as what to bring, it is acceptable to print this on the invitation.
-- RSVP: RSVP is an abbreviation of "réspondez s'il vous plait." Put your name, phone number (or email address) and RSVP deadline date after your RSVP wording. Here are a few standard

Reply Cards

For informal events like birthday parties, a reply by email or phone is acceptable. For formal invitations like christenings and baptisms, including a response card and envelope is recommended as a way to encourage your guests to RSVP quickly. You should also include a stamped, self-addressed envelope. Lastly, it also helpful if you enclose a map of the venue to help the guests find their way.

Baby Shower Invitation Etiquette

Who to Invite

Generally, close friends and family of the mother should be invited. It is a good idea to ask the mom-to-be to finalize the guest list to ensure no one has been accidentally forgotten. If the shower is not the first shower for the mom, one acceptable way to shorten the guest list is to only invite close friends or those who have not been to previous showers.

When to Throw a Baby Shower

Showers are typically thrown for an expecting mom a month or two before the baby's due date. This allows the expecting mother to take inventory of what she still needs to buy after the shower and before the baby arrives. A Welcoming Shower can be thrown a few weeks after the baby is born to accommodate special out-of-town relatives who come to see the baby after the birth but cannot travel to the baby shower.

When to Send Out Invites

It is commonly accepted to send out invitations 2-3 weeks prior to the event. If guests include out of town guests, you may send the invitations a little earlier.

How to Invite Guests

The printed invitation is the preferred way invite guests to a baby shower. Printed invitations should include the important details including the party theme and specifically any items the guests are supposed to bring for the mom.

Baptism and Christening Invitation Etiquette

A christening or baptism are religious services in which a child is introduced to the Church. These special occasions include family and close friends and typically have a broad range of ages attending.

Whom to Invite

Invitations to baptisms or christenings should only be extended to those with close relationships or friendships with the parents.

When to Send Out Invites

About a month beforehand to ensure that guests have ample time to ensure their attendance.

Enclosures

Guests may travel a long distance to attend a christening, so information for out of towners should be included. You may want can include a list of local hotels, parking directions, and details of the nearest public transportation.

Children's Birthday Party Invitation Etiquette

Whom to Invite

You should put together the guest list with your child. While you do not need to invite everyone in your child's class, it is important to be sensitive to those who do not get invited. You can encourage your child's friend's parents to attend a party for your child. It is acceptable to specifically encourage parents to attend on the invitation. For example, you could add, "Parents are welcome to stay and enjoy the party." Just make sure to offer them coffee and food for volunteering to help baby sit!

When to Send

Two to three weeks is ample time for an informal birthday party for a child.

Delivering Invitations

Mail or hand-deliver the invitations. To avoid hurt feelings, do not allow your child to distribute them in class.

Gift Etiquette

If you don't want guests to feel obligated to bring gifts, it is perfectly acceptable to specify "no gifts" on the invitation.

What tips can you share?