The ‘Baby Shower Debate’: Who Pays?

olivia mackinnon baby shower

A rite of passage for pregnant women and expecting parents all over the world, the baby shower is a much-loved tradition enjoyed by millions each year.

Presenting itself in many forms; from gatherings in the home, to intimate lunches, and garden soirees, to full-blown parties with dancing - baby showers have become big business.

In fact, there are thousands of businesses in Australia alone that are dedicated to the planning and executing the perfect baby shower.

Adding to that, is the newly created and highly popular ‘Baby Sprinkle’, which is basically a ‘lighter’ version of a full-blown baby shower, often adopted as a celebration for second and subsequent pregnancies.

So, as often the question with bridal showers and hen’s parties… who is actually paying for these celebrations?

Like many, I myself was excited to throw a baby shower when I was pregnant with my first child, Eva. I was lucky enough to be able to use my parent’s home, choosing to lightly cater with mostly cheese platters, fruits and baby-themed cupcakes. Being my first pregnancy, I also had a lot of time for DIY-decoration prep. Boy, was I proud of my efforts. It was a lovely afternoon with a few games, and while I was a little stressed in the lead-up, the guests were comfortable and we opened gifts together at the very end. 

When I fell pregnant with my son just 13-months later, I decided that an active toddler at my feet would prevent a repeat of such DIY-mastery. This time, I adopted the ‘baby sprinkle’ approach, booking a lunch at a restaurant with a $55 set menu. This was made clear to guests at the time of sending the invitation, and I didn’t have a gift registry. In fact, I requested no gifts!

I bought a few bottles of wine and jugs of soft drink per table, but everyone paid for themselves, and my pre-organisation was significantly decreased to finding a dress I could fit into - and booking a spray tan.

olivia mackinnon baby sprinkle

Let’s not forget the Baby-Q

A fairly recent addition to the baby shower scene is the far more laid back, ‘Baby-Q’. The premise of this kind of gathering is that it is an all-inclusive event, for both parents-to-be, and friends and family. The other variable with a ‘Baby-Q’ is that as often as these are put on before the baby is born, they’re equally organised for after the baby’s birth, in the form of a casual meet and greet. 

The other factor to consider is how catering is provided. While some couples may choose to provide the food and drinks, others adopt the ever popular ‘bring a dish’ concept, meaning that the load is shared among many friends. This is particularly favourable if you are hosting the event once the baby has arrived - as the last thing you’ll want to do is set-up for a big gathering! You know what they say, many hands make light work.

You could also get get people to bring their favourite drinks, while you provide the food. The sky’s the limit!

The rise of the ‘surprise baby shower’

A new trend I am seeing emerge on social media, the ‘surprise baby shower’ is gaining more and more momentum. Most recently with newly pregnant investing influencer, Queenie Tan of @investwithqueenie. She documented incredible photos of a beautifully decorated space, filled with beautiful food and decorations. She and her partner Pablo were absolutely floored by what their friends had produced for them - and it had me wondering, did their friends foot the entire bill?

The risk of a surprise baby shower is the obvious… that perhaps no-one will think to throw one for you. If a baby shower isn’t something you place a lot of importance on, then maybe the gamble is worth it for you, but for those who have their heart set on celebrating their impending birth, it may be worth putting your planning pants on and finding celebration styles to suit your budget.

Because after the couple of years we’ve experienced, isn’t it worth celebrating whenever we can?

Who do you think should pay for a baby shower?

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