UK Baby Shower Etiquette?

posted 6 months ago in Babies
Post # 2
1245 posts
Bumble bee

I’ve lived in the UK but I have never attended baby showers there so this might be completely useless. The baby shower trend has arrived to the continental Europe where I live and we don’t have the same etiquette as Americans do. The whole concept is new and it is adapted to the culture while having some stereotypical American baby shower things as seen on film.

Here all the participants pay for the party. The mother to be does not participate in the palnning. If they do, then they pay. Then the gift is bought as a group or individually but usually as a group. Last baby shower I attended cost about €15-20 including the gift, food and decorations. Paying for the  hosting (a lot) and still buying an expensive gift is quite cheeky. Maybe buying a gift with a few people so it wil be cheaper? Also I wouldn’t expect the father to contribute to this unless he is specifically requesting the organisation of the event. But obviously this might be totally different in the UK since I’m sure you guys have adapted the party to fit britishness a bit more.

Post # 3
3737 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

I’m in the US, so things will likely be different, but at most of the baby showers I’ve attended, the hosts either went in together to buy a gift or brought something like diapers or other cheaper but necessary items. You don’t have to buy anything extravagant off her registry.

Post # 4
318 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2019

I am the UK and have attended one baby shower but heard of many. I have never ever heard of there being a gift registry. People bought gifts but they were £15 / £20 ish type things. Games were cheap and easy and there wa cake etc. 

But £150 plus another £100 on a gift? I don’t bloody think so.

As an aside I think they are god awful things and I hope I don’t have to go to any more! Xx

Post # 5
1211 posts
Bumble bee

I have attended a couple of baby showers and have also never heard of a registry, that’s bizarre and gift grabby imo (I think baby showers are gift grabby anyway, but still), also every baby I shower I have been to was hosted by the expectant mother or her family. Paying £150 each to host a friend’s baby shower is insane!! I have paid £15 for afternoon tea at one of my best friend’s showers and got her a gift for around £15. 

Post # 6
7 posts
  • Wedding: August 2018

I don’t know if this helps but I’m from the states and every baby shower that I’ve gone to was hosted by the mother-to-be and her family. They paid for the party and not their friends. There is almost always a baby registry with gifts ranging from a couple bucks to a couple hundred so you could choose how much you want to spend (usually depends on how close you are to the mom-to-be). 

I find it odd that she and her husband are not paying for this baby shower but instead her friends are.

Post # 7
494 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

I live in the US and have hosted and attended a ton of baby showers. Typically the host(s) pat for all things related to the shower- and then often give a gift of their choice together- if there are three of you. The last shower I hosted I think we gifted the Mom to be a stroller that we split the cost of (came to 50 bucks/person in addition to what we’d spent on the shower).  Dads traditionally are not involved- though the “couples” baby shower is gaining in popularity as is the “dad-chelor” party (a night out drinking with friends before the baby arrives for guys).  My husband and I are pretty non-traditional and ended up having a couples babyshower at a bar- we had drinks and snacks opened no gifts and had an amazing time. So- frankly- the “rules” are very flexible. 

The registry itself is just a guide for people who want to buy something for the couple- not a mandate. So if you can’t afford or don’t want to get something extravagant off the registry- give a book or a cute outfit. Enjoy the shower! 

Post # 8
8205 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: Dorset, UK

idontevenknow :  UK bee here who has been to a couple of baby showers. This sounds OTT. The ones I have been to have been cakes and nibbles and drinks either at the Mum to be’s home or in a local park. Very low key but still lovely. I have NEVER heard of a baby shower registry here and asking people to buy expensive equipment seems super rude. Buy a couple of cute outfits for baby and call it a day. To spend £250 on someone’s baby shower is insane. 

Post # 9
4391 posts
Honey bee

U.S. here.  Unlike a PP, I’ve never heard of the mom or dad to be contributing (you don’t throw yourself gift-giving parties), nor the family necessarily contributing.  The host or hosts pay.  Now a family member may offer to host a party, but they arent required to – anyone (friend or family) can offer to host.

But for the most part most of what you wrote doesn’t seem unusual.

1.  Hosts pay for the party (food, decor, etc.)

2.  Just like a wedding registry, you aren’t required to buy off the registry.  It’s just a list of what they still need and preferred brands variations so that if you wonder what to get them, you have something for reference.  It also helps minimize duplication.  But a registry is a suggestion of what they like, not a mandate of what you must get them.  If you have a different gift in mind, then that is perfectly fine.  All of my friends and family received a mix of registry items and off-registry items (particularly because there’s a lot of cute stuff out there for babies and it turns out people really like cute stuff and buying things for adorable babies).  I realize it isn’t the norm in the UK, but if you guys are going to adopt US-style traditions, then this is generally how registries work in the US.

3.  Many people go in together on more expensive items.  Six of us went in together to buy the video baby monitor for the last shower I attended and it came out to like $30/PP (actually less – it was going to be 30 PP and then we bought it somewhere else that had it on sale).  Some of us also bought a cute outfit on our own as well because baby clothes are cute and cheap.

4.  Some places offer completion discounts on whatever registry items are left after the event so that if you didn’t receive some things you can buy them yourself at a discount.  I’ve known people who weren’t having showers at all create them to track what they need and get the discount (and people still look for them and use them for gift-giving on their own even if there isn’t a shower).

5.  In my experience, hosts give a smaller gift since hosting a party in someone’s honor is also a gift itself or the host goes in on a group gift.  The rules didn’t really change – they’ve always been “give what you can afford”.  So if you were planning on giving an outfit and a book, then that’s cool.  Also no need to run your gift by anyone else unless what they were asking is if you want to go in on something on the registry.

6.  .  Leave their finances out of it.  So only poor people are worthy of gifts?  Gifts should be given freely out of kindness because you want to give a gift.  If you don’t want to give a gift then don’t, but don’t use their finances as a scapegoat to justify it.  Just own the fact that you don’t want to give a gift or feel like your contribution as host is sufficient.  I’m sure whatever you planned to give in your budget is sufficient and will be appreciated.

Post # 10
29 posts

Also from the U.S. but I’ve attended & hosted several baby showers and have lovely friends who hosted a wonderful baby shower for me. 

In general, the host(s) of a party pay for the party, including showers. I’ve never heard of a tradition where the parents-to-be cover costs. It is also up to the host(s) of the party to determine budget, location, activities, etc. The guest of honor needs to be consulted on date/time amd guest list, and it is nice/appropriate to get additional input on what they’d like to do, but it would be rude for a guest of honor to demand something like a catered party at a specific venue if the host is comfortable woth cake & punch at their home. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen all the time, but it is completely apppropriate to hold firm on what you can afford and are comfortable organizing. 

I don’t think it’s strictly required, but I have always purchased a gift when I’ve hosted showers and have only gone in on a gift with my co-host once, but that can be a great option to save some money. If that’s not something you want to consider, I think it is perfectly appropriate to buy something off registry if the registry items are more than you are comfortable spending or even if you just feel like doing something different. I have frequently gifted a large box of diapers (because you can never have enough) and a children’s book with a note to mom/baby on the inside cover, and this gift has always gone over really well (and even been copied by some of my friends since). 

That said, I don’t think anyone should judge a person for including expensive items and things they know they have to have for the baby on a registry. The point of a shower is to celebrate the new baby and help the parents get set up with what they need, so practical registry items are totally appropriate. I also wouldn’t buy a cheaper version or different brand of a big ticket item on someone’s registry since they most likely chose the specific item for a reason. Also, at keast in the U.S. there are frequently times where family members/super close friends who aren’t hosting want to purchase a bigger ticket shower item, a group of friends goes in together on an expensive item, and/or stores offer a discount for the guest of honor to buy unpurchased items on their registry after the fact, all of which are reasons to include some bigger ticket items. That said, it is still courteous for a guest of honor to be sure that there are registry items at all price ranges and to update the registry with new items in a certain price range when needed. 

My last thought is that unless your co-hosts are asking for your ideas on which registry item you should all purchase together, they don’t need to know what you are gifting. And it’s okay to tell them you haven’t decided or are thinking about something off the registry. 

Post # 11
2697 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

God I hate baby showers. I’ve had 2 babies now and never felt the need to pretend to be American (I’m British) 

I’ve been to 2 showers though and the mum to be organised it and we all paid our share of afternoon tea. There was no registry. 

I personally hate giving baby gifts before the baby gets here. I think it’s counting your chickens. I usually give a token present for mum at the shower (some smellies etc) then give the hand crocheted blanket that I make for all my friends once baby is here 

Post # 12
2010 posts
Buzzing bee

I’m from the states and that sounds exactly like our baby showers.  Close family or friends host.  Registry with a range of gift prices but quite a few people just bring clothes/books/toys they selected.  Most hosts do gift but I think the price depends on their budget.  I totally understand if your etiquette is different but sounds like she’s looking at our etiquette books.

Post # 14
7865 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

You definitely don’t need to feel pressure to buy a gift off the registry. At my baby shower, there were 6 hostesses and they all pitched in to get me my crib, which was $200. That was in addition of course to the expenses of hosting the shower. I thought that was super generous of them, and would have also understood completely if there was no gift at all, because the shower was a significant investment in terms of both time and money.

Registries are so normal in the U.S. that I don’t usually bat an eye at them (unless everything on there is super high end and there are no affordable options of course). But I can see how it seems gift grabby in the UK where they haven’t fully caught on yet. 

Post # 15
738 posts
Busy bee

 £150 each for hosting is bloody ridiculous. I really don’t think you need to get a gift too.


I really loathe the fact baby showers are now more of a thing in the UK

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