Baby Showers

A co-ed mixed tradition baby shower?

My family is VERY excited about this baby --- it's the first grandchild on my side (and I have a big family) and only the second grandchild on my husband's side.  My parents want to throw my husband and me a big baby shower (50+ people) but they want it to be a co-ed baby shower.  

I am of Indian descent and my husband is Caucasian and my parents want to integrate some different cultural aspects of the Indian culture into this baby shower.  Basically, there would be a half hour or so Hindu religious ceremony said in Sanskrit (which is oriented toward my husband), then a half hour of Indian baby games where all of the women place bangles on my wrist to ward off evil spirits (oriented toward me).  Then, we would have a more traditional American baby shower with food and drinks and such --- though I doubt we'll do any baby shower "games."  I personally think it will be really fun to combine both of our traditions --- our wedding was also similarly a combination of traditions and everyone loved it.  But, I know that this isn't a normal approach.

So, here's the question after this super long story: what do you think of this baby shower concept?  Do you think it would be boring to come and basically attend a full hour of other stuff before you got to the other normal baby shower stuff?  Do you think that co-ed baby showers are weird?

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Re: A co-ed mixed tradition baby shower?

  • I would be uncomfortable being a guest at a baby shower that had any kind of religious ceremony.  Especially one that lasts a half hour and is in another language.  I attended a friends baby shower and her MIL led a blessing/prayer in Italian that she wanted everyone to be involved in.  For me it was very uncomfortable because I did not know what was being said and those who did were acting very emotional (tearing up and hugging the MTB after).  Several of her guests that were friends HATED that part of the shower....none of us told her though.  I'm not familiar with Indian/Hindu culture so I'm not sure if what you're planning for your husband would be similar to my experience.

    Other than that I think what your planning is great.  I love the idea of combining your traditions with your husband's (since that's how you'll be raising your LO).

    I also think that co-ed showers are alright when it's family.  They feel like a family reunion, but in a good way.

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  • I don't think co-ed showers are weird at all, I've been to plenty and think they're a lot of fun.  I also really like the idea of blending your traditions.  As far as the religious ceremony in Sanskrit, if you think most of the guests will be family who will appreciate the ceremony, go for it.  I'm not religious and typically feel very uncomfortable at religious events, unless it's a ceremony for someone I'm close too and I have a vested interest in learning more about their religion.  I think casual acquaintances would have a much harder time sitting through a long ceremony they didn't understand.
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  • I'm surprised your parents would host a shower for you at all but maybe it depends on what part of India you all are from.  I have two Indian friends and they both said that it is not their custom to have baby or bridal showers.

    I don't think co-ed showers are weird although I know a lot of men do not like going to them (my husband included).  Is there a way to shorten the Hindu ceremony to 1/2 hour total...so 15 for each MTB and DTB?  I think it would be interesting to see/hear a shorter version of the Hindu ceremonies...but an hour would get boring since I don't know the language.

  • I'd be bored to tears during that first hour of stuff.  It's not a religious ceremony; it's a baby shower.  I'm all for experiencing other cultures and have travelled extensively, but to have an hour of stuff "forced" on me before the shower actually starts?  I'd be ticked off.
  • As far as the coed part goes, it completely depends on your family. This would be a no go in my family because the men would hate it. But if the men in your family are up for it, then do it.

    A friend of mine is Indian and had a 2part baby shower. The first hour was probably like what you described, but she really only invited her Indian family members to that part. Then her American friends came for the second part, which was more like a traditional American shower food and gifts. She did the same thing for her wedding. So if you have people who might be uncomfortable with the more traditional part in the beginning, that's always an option.

    For me personally, although I think it would be really interesting to see the Indian traditions, I might be really confused not knowing the language and if I was supposed to be doing anything or just watching. You can always have one family member or friend assigned to your Englishspeaking friends, and she can walk them through the different traditions so they don't feel so left out and bored.
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  • image Cranang:
    I'd be bored to tears during that first hour of stuff.  It's not a religious ceremony; it's a baby shower.  I'm all for experiencing other cultures and have travelled extensively, but to have an hour of stuff "forced" on me before the shower actually starts?  I'd be ticked off.
    This is kind of where I fall.

    What I'd suggest doing is including a description of the first hour and let everyone know that they are welcome, if they'd like to come.  But that the "traditional" shower will start an hour later if they'd prefer to come then.

    But... even in writing that, you still need to be careful because people may feel bad if they don't come for the first hour then come out of obligation. 

    Maybe it is best to just invite your fmaily to the first hour, then have everyone else come later.

     

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  • There has never been a man in the history of the world who enjoyed going to a co-ed baby shower. Don't make them do it. It's a form of cruel and unusual punishment.

    Someone's probably going to respond and say, "Oh no! My husband LOVED our co-ed baby shower!"

    No, he didn't. He just went because he didn't want to piss you off.

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  • image SouthernMom70:

    There has never been a man in the history of the world who enjoyed going to a co-ed baby shower. Don't make them do it. It's a form of cruel and unusual punishment.

    Someone's probably going to respond and say, "Oh no! My husband LOVED our co-ed baby shower!"

    No, he didn't. He just went because he didn't want to piss you off.

    Agree.  My husband and male family/friends aren't into baby showers.  They would probably begrudgingly come, just to be nice, but I wouldn't put them through it. 

     

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  • Overall I think it is fine, though I think you'll have to schedule it so that it starts when people won't be hungry or ofter something light to eat before the first "phase" of your shower. Most guests born in the US will probably expect something to eat right away particularly if the shower falls at a meal time. Have you considered flipping the order of this? Give people about 30 mins to arrive then do food, gifts and then wrap up with the ceremony and Indian game?
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  • I think this is the epitome of what a shower should be... a celebration of the parents and the new baby that will be joining their life... what better way  than to highlight the different aspects of the parents lives, all of which will be a part of the babies life.. ! The guests will get a chance to see whats important to your life...

     

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  • Thank you ladies!  I think this is really helpful and what we'll probably do is this to make it co-ed friendly:

    - No shower games.  Anyway, I think shower games are stupid (no offense to those who love them) so the actual "shower" part will just be about food, mingling, and catching up with family and friends.  We're going to have it at my house and we have a massive backyard so we'll set up a couple of bocce ball courts in the back so that the guys can go out there if they get bored of talking. 

    - Focus on food.  It'll probably be either a lunch or early dinner event rather than brunch (which always feels more girly) and we'll probably have an international themed buffet, meaning some sushi stations, international hor d'ouevres, and other such things.  Unfortunately, it'll be February, so I think a barbeque would be out of the picture.  And, we'll DEFINITELY have some appetizers out while the religious stuff is going on so that people can meander about the house and eat or walk outside or do whatever they feel like.

    - We'll emphasize that the religious part is completely optional and if people want to come they're welcome to, but they don't have to come either.  I know that a few of my friends will want to come but there are others who won't.

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  • I see you're getting some "no"s, and although I'd usually err on the side of traditional, I think in your situation it depends.

    If you live in a part of the country that's more homogenous socially and/or if you think your guests are less likely to be into learning about new cultures, I would say skip the Hindu events. If, on the other hand, you think your guests would be perfectly comfortable at a religious ceremony in another language, whether by virtue of education, travel experience, or curiosity, then I say go for it.

    I should note that I personally love Indian weddings - and I'm a plain old white girl living in the South. :)

    Last but not least, if a typical shower where you are is two hours, keep yours to two hours - even if you have to open gifts afterwards (a perfectly acceptable practice around here if there are 50+ guests, especially if it's co-ed). If you aren't opening gifts at the party and you aren't playing games (which I loathe anyway), you must provide beer and wine in addition to food. A bunch of men and women standing around not drinking while surrounded by pastel wrapped packages is no one's idea of fun!

    Be sure to put all the details on the invitations so guests know what to expect. Mention the ceremony(ies) and the party to follow at the very least.

     

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  • I think it sounds amazing and I would love to attend a shower for a friend of mine where I would get to share such a beautiful part of their culture and celebration.

    I think the earlier comment about a translator is a great idea. I would also consider programs like at a wedding with translations and all the history about the ceremonies.
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  • Anything openly religious makes me uncomfortable, so if I came I as a guest would fell incredibly awkward. If I knew ahead of time that this would be done I honestly would not go, I would still send a gift. 
  • image CooneyGirl:
    I think it sounds amazing and I would love to attend a shower for a friend of mine where I would get to share such a beautiful part of their culture and celebration. I think the earlier comment about a translator is a great idea. I would also consider programs like at a wedding with translations and all the history about the ceremonies.

    Ditto this. 

    I can be uncomfortable around religious ceremonies, but as long as I'm not being preached AT, and no one is trying to convert me, I'd enjoy it as a learning opportunity.

    .

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  • image ggatlanta:

    I see you're getting some "no"s, and although I'd usually err on the side of traditional, I think in your situation it depends.

    If you live in a part of the country that's more homogenous socially and/or if you think your guests are less likely to be into learning about new cultures, I would say skip the Hindu events. If, on the other hand, you think your guests would be perfectly comfortable at a religious ceremony in another language, whether by virtue of education, travel experience, or curiosity, then I say go for it.

    I should note that I personally love Indian weddings - and I'm a plain old white girl living in the South. :)

    Last but not least, if a typical shower where you are is two hours, keep yours to two hours - even if you have to open gifts afterwards (a perfectly acceptable practice around here if there are 50+ guests, especially if it's co-ed). If you aren't opening gifts at the party and you aren't playing games (which I loathe anyway), you must provide beer and wine in addition to food. A bunch of men and women standing around not drinking while surrounded by pastel wrapped packages is no one's idea of fun!

    Be sure to put all the details on the invitations so guests know what to expect. Mention the ceremony(ies) and the party to follow at the very least.

     

     This.

    Other people's religions make me super uncomfortable, but I'm familiar with the ceremony you're talking about and would have no problem with it (even if I didn't really know what was happening, but I think a program w/ translation is a great idea).

    I think the biggest consideration is where you live and who you're inviting. This would not go over well in my home town, but where DH lived when we got married (or anywhere we're looking to move next year for his work) this would be totally fine. 

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  • image nomadgirl:

    We'll emphasize that the religious part is completely optional and if people want to come they're welcome to, but they don't have to come either.  I know that a few of my friends will want to come but there are others who won't.

    That sounds like a great compromise!  I know you've already got all the advice you need, but I wanted to chime in and say I also am one of those people that feels very uncomfortable at religious ceremonies. 

    I was MOH at a friend's wedding and they had a lot of religious ceremonies, both leading up to and during the wedding.  Some were okay (ie. we got to learn the "stick dance" which was pretty fun) and we felt pretty involved, but for most of them, we felt very much like we didn't belong there because we had no idea what was going on. 

    I think it's a great idea for you to make that ceremony optional.  Then everyone can choose what they're exposed to, without anyone feeling like they're sacrificing anything. 

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  • I think its great that you're having a mixed tradition baby shower. I think its interesting to see how other cultures celebrate birth. In my opinion, I think its rude to not stay for the entire shower because you dont agree with a certain part. You are here to celebrate life.

    I don't think co-ed showers are weird at all. We just had a co-ed shower and it was great. We made sure the men and women were entertained. The women stayed inside and played baby games while the men were out on the deck socializing amongst themselves. No one was forced to participate in a specific event. Everyone was present for the gift opening.

  • image SouthernMom70:

    There has never been a man in the history of the world who enjoyed going to a co-ed baby shower. Don't make them do it. It's a form of cruel and unusual punishment.

    Someone's probably going to respond and say, "Oh no! My husband LOVED our co-ed baby shower!"

    No, he didn't. He just went because he didn't want to piss you off.

     

    Thats so funny!  My baby shower is going to be co-ed, but the guys are going to be in the garage drinking and playing poker, its a just a way for them to hang out.  the ladies are going to be inside doing their own thing.  So hopefully the guys at my shower won't be that devestated about the baby shower. lol

  • I guess Im on the other end of the spectrum. I like learning about other cultures and Id love to attend such a special baby shower. So what if you arent familiar with the practice or can understand what is being said? The party isnt for the guests its for the mother. Guests were invited  to a special celebration of life. I think its lovely. And much nicer than what babyfood is this diaper game.... Then again I once listened to a 2 hour Coptic Orthodox service in Arabic and didnt undertand a word, and actually liked it....
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