Baby Showers

Invitation Etiquette Question

I will be hosting a baby shower for my sister-in-law, and I have a question about invitation wording etiquette.  Here's some background info.  My SIL doesn't want to have the shower at my home, as I live 45 min away from her and the majority of the invitees, but she also doesn't want to have the shower at her home, either, as her place is pretty tiny for the 15-20 people she is inviting.  So she has her heart set on having the shower at a local restaurant.  Which I am fine with--less cooking for me!  But it is my understanding that, as the hostess, I would traditionally by responsible for paying the bill--the entire bill--and I just can't afford to do that.  This past weekend our families got together and decided that it would be okay to break with etiquette and have everyone pay for their own dinners.  How do I word this on the invitations?  Most people already know they will be fending for themselves, and are totally okay with that, but there are non-family members on the invite list that I need to politely pass this info on to.

Re: Invitation Etiquette Question

  • Agree with PP. At the very least you should pay for some appetizers and soft drinks. The guests have already spent money on gifts and traveling for the shower, and you would have budgeted for food if you were hosting at your own home.
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    blush64kmcc14antoto
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  • That's actually a great idea, and something I can totally do.  Thanks!
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  • Hey Mandy, I definitely agree with the above post that you could offer appetizers and soft drinks. Those are good ideas. 

    Another idea would be for those people who already know that they will be fending for themselves. And since you have discuss your financial situation with them and they are okay with it. Would you be able to pay for the non-family members only? 

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  • Hey Mandy, I definitely agree with the above post that you could offer appetizers and soft drinks. Those are good ideas. 

    Another idea would be for those people who already know that they will be fending for themselves. And since you have discuss your financial situation with them and they are okay with it. Would you be able to pay for the non-family members only? 

    I don't think this would be the way to go. If it was obvious to the others who paid for themselves, it could cause some upset. 
    DrillSergeantCat
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  • I don't think there is a polite way to ask people to pay for themselves.  I would see if there is a close friend or family member who would volunteer their house or if you have to, just pay for drinks/appetizers.  But it's kind of weird to have it at a restaurant and not provide real food.

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  • The other thing you could do would be to just tell your SIL that you're so sorry but you csn't afford a restaurant shower and suggest an alternative like a smaller guest list or compromise of a location.
    wmam35DrillSergeantCatnikkihp79
  • dufferoo said:
    If you're not treating, you're not hosting; you're just coordinating. So I certainly wouldn't send out invitations to an event like that. At best, you could call people up and say, "A bunch of us are meeting up at Panera to honor Sally next Sunday if you'd like to join us."
    I have to agree with this.  If you are hosting an event, that means you are responsible for all costs of the event.  Your guests should never be asked to pay for themselves.  If this is an event where people will be covering the costs of their meal, then you are not hosting.

    Regardless of what your SIL wants, she has to understand that your budget is your budget.  You do what you can without offending the guests and if she isn't happy with what you can provide, then she is free to decline the shower. 

    Honestly, I'd have a sit down with her, discuss what you can offer, and let her decide what she wants.  But I guarantee that if you ask people to pay, no matter how understanding they may be to your face, they will not be happy about it.  Especially if they are bringing a gift to boot.
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  • neverblushedneverblushed member
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    edited January 18
    I agree with dufferoo's sentiment above.  There's just no way to host a traditional shower and ask people to pay for their own meals at a restaurant without coming off as very rude.  Offering to pay for drinks and/or appetizers mitigates the rudeness, but it's not ideal.

    Since most of the guests are family members who are willing to pay for their own meals, you've already switched gears from "traditional shower" to "friends getting together to celebrate one last time before the baby comes."  Just roll with that and word the invitations accordingly. Making this a less formal event will allow you the flexibility to have everyone pay her way but still welcome the guest of honor to motherhood and provide close friends a chance to "shower" her with presents if they want to.

    ETA:  I would give a huge side-eye to either of the following:  receiving an invite to a traditional shower that lets me know I'll be paying for my own food... OR... getting an invite and showing up to a restaurant shower and then -- surprise! -- being asked to split the check.
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  • I agree with @BreadPoetsSociety and @dufferoo, there isn't a real polite way to put this on an invite. it is completely understandable if you can't budget paying for meals for a bunch of people out to eat at a restaurant. I think there may be a few ways around this without being rude.  Can you sign out an event room at a restaurant during an afternoon after lunch rush and order an appetizer spread? That way no one will be expecting lunch.  If the family is willing to pay for their own meals perhaps they would pitch in for a heavy appetizer spread that would keep everyone happy and satisfied. 

    This is definitely a tough situation to be in.  Good luck!
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  • I would either not hold the shower at the restaurant or I'd order appetizers and soft drinks and be sure to hold the shower at a non-meal time (2pm). 

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  • I would either not hold the shower at the restaurant or I'd order appetizers and soft drinks and be sure to hold the shower at a non-meal time (2pm). 
    I know I'm about a month late on this, but seeing as how this board is dead I assume it's not a problem.

    I agree with this comment above.  Showers do NOT have to be fancy, but they do have to be proper.  Guests should never, ever be expected to "fend for themselves".  I'm really happy that the appetizer idea is doable!  I know your guests will really appreciate it.  And having it at 2-3pm will let them know that a meal will not be included.

    And for future reference for anyone reading this - if you are having a hard time writing something in a polite way, then it's because it's not a polite thing to do.
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    dufferooBringmemylongswordhoSassenach1743LovestruckAJ
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  • I'm only posting this here in case anybody goes searching.

    I agree, it is rude to host a shower and ask guests to pay. I also see not wanting to go back to the mom-to-be and tell her you can't afford it. I would suggest hosting a "cocktail hour" type event during an off time and word it on the invitation: "Join us for light hors d'oeurves and cake to celebrate Mom and baby XX."
          
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