An expecting mother should never throw her own baby shower.

That’s the most important rule when it comes to shower etiquette.

Luckily, almost anything else goes. New parents today are being showered with everything from extravagant affairs to relaxed backyard BBQs.

Read on for additional shower etiquette tips and ideas.

Some experts say family members shouldn’t organize the event because it seems like they are desperate for money and gifts.

But etiquette expert Cheryl Seidel, founder of, says any relative, close friend, or coworker can do the honors.

Having a set shower theme isn’t mandatory. That said, themes can help tie everything together when it comes to games and making sure the guests are having a good time.

Look on Pinterest for inspiration. You’ll find themes for both female only and coed showers.

Feel free to keep it simple. If mom is expecting a girl, pink balloons shaped like pacifiers and pink floral arrangements are visually appealing. If she’s having a boy, a baseball or Wild West theme could be fun.

But the theme doesn’t have to be gender driven. Build a library, spaceships, bun in the oven, or apple of our eye (seasonal fall shower) are all popular choices.

Tacky is in the eye of the beholder. But anyone who has suffered through baby food tastings or guessing how many toilet paper squares are needed to wrap around the mom-to-be’s belly knows that some baby shower games are better than others.

Some fun and universally appealing game suggestions include filling bottles with yummy treats like M&Ms and letting guests guess how many are in the bottles. The person who comes closest to guessing how many candies are in the bottles gets to take the gift home.

You also could organize a diaper raffle where each shower guest brings a pack of diapers to be entered into a drawing for a fun prize.

Not into games? No problem. One solution is to set up craft stations instead.

Guests will love decorating teddy bears, customizing bibs, burp cloths, blocks, and even hangers for the new baby.

Having a theme for the baby shower can come in handy when planning the menu.

For a baseball theme, franks in a baby blanket, Cracker Jacks, and peanuts would be perfect.

If you have a family tree theme shower, you can serve ethnic dishes from each side of the family.

Even if there isn’t a theme, food should be fun, light, and easy to distribute, and carry. Think sophisticated finger food.

Some yummy appetizer suggestions from include:

  • spaghetti and baby meatball bites
  • cake pops
  • salad on skewers
  • mini potato skins
  • miniature pies and quiches
  • old fashioned tea sandwiches

Yes! Setting aside time for the glowing mother to open gifts toward the end of the shower is a nice way to celebrate the expecting parents and their guests.

When it comes to baby shower gifts, the best rule of thumb is to go with the gift registry. But if you want to do something a little more personal or original, there are ways to do so thoughtfully.

Talk to the expecting mom and dad to see what it is they want but didn’t register for yet. Learning the baby’s name comes in handy for monogram blankets and burp cloths. If you prefer the element of surprise, ask close family members.

Some considerate gift givers will even give a small gift for the baby and something as simple and sweet as a candle or more grandiose like a maternity massage gift certificate for mom.

Gift cards for restaurants and meal plans that mom and dad can order once the baby is born are another thoughtful idea. Companies such as even offer healthy vegan meal alternatives.

Mekeisha Madden Toby is a Los Angeles-based journalist. She has been honing her craft professionally since 1999, also writing for Essence, MSN TV, The Detroit News, TV Guide,, People Magazine,, Us Weekly, The Seattle Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Minneapolis Star Tribune, and The News Tribune in Tacoma, Washington. The Detroit native, wife, and mother holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Wayne State University.