Most of us know the proper etiquette when it comes to a baby shower, but gender reveal parties come with a whole slew of unanswered questions for hosts and guests alike. When new types of traditions enter our lives, the first thing we ask ourselves is what the proper etiquette is for throwing and attending such events.
Much like baby showers, there is proper etiquette tied to a gender reveal party, but both of these occasions are not governed by the same sets of rules.
What is a gender reveal party?
Does not knowing what a gender reveal party is make you an old fogey? The answer is no, as they only came about within the last decade, and have only been popularized within the last couple of years. If you’re above a certain age, it’s perfectly normal that you may have never heard of them. For those who fall into this category, gender reveal parties are simply surprise-parties for soon-to-be parents and their friends where they discover (or unveil) the gender of their future child.
Gender reveals can be done in a number of ways, ranging from the simple cutting of a cake that has either blue icing (for a boy) or pink icing (for a girl) to dropping blue or pink balloons, to something more elaborate. And yes, if you’ve seen the YouTube videos, gender reveals can border on very elaborate.
Should I bring a gift?
Maybe. The answer to this question varies by couple. Most soon-to-be parents will communicate it on their invitations with a simple “no gifts, please” at the bottom of the invitation. If the gender reveal party and baby shower are being combined, however, you are expected to bring a gift and follow the typical baby shower traditions, as this is the occasion that takes precedence.
The case of gender reveals happening during baby showers presents a unique problem. Many baby gifts are gender-specific and, well, if you don’t know the gender, you might not know what to get. Fortunately, the solution here is pretty intuitive: simply stick to gifts that are gender-neutral.
These can include baby seats, bottles, strollers, and books. Or, if you are looking for something more sentimental, you can never go wrong with silver items, like engraved silver baby rattles, pacifier clips, etc. Silver is a gender neutral material that lends an elegant air to your gift.
Who should host?
The rule of thumb is if there are gifts involved, then the person (or parents) receiving the gifts should not be hosting the event.
So, if guests are giving you gifts at the gender reveal party then no, you should not host it. Ask a dear friend to host it, like they would a baby shower. One of the nice things about non-gift gender reveal parties is that they are very easy to throw and casual, so most people won’t feel put out by your request to host. You don’t necessarily need to rent a luxurious space or drop a ton of dough.
What can I talk about?
This is a good all-the-time rule: Don’t be intrusive! At some gender reveal parties, it’s a surprise to the parents as well, so avoid asking how they would react based on the gender of their baby.
If the parents already know the child’s gender and are keeping it secret from guests, you should avoid pressuring them into telling you the baby’s gender beforehand. Don’t make tactless attempts to get them to “spill the beans.” At best, guests at the party won’t be too pleased with you. At worst, you’ll ruin the entire purpose of the occasion.
What should I wear?
What to wear depends largely on the venue. As a rule, you should never go less than smart-casual. This means no shorts, no NFL jerseys, no flip-flops, and probably no tank tops. Worst case, you are slightly overdressed—which is far better than being under-dressed.
A simple button-up and jeans is ideal for men, meanwhile women would do well with a sundress or dressy blouse.
When should I host it?
Whether you’re recruited as a host on behalf of the parents, or you’re a parent yourself, it’s important to time the gender reveal party just right. The best time is probably somewhere between 18-20 weeks into the pregnancy. That gives parents enough time to decide if they want to have the party before, during, or after the baby shower (although before is usually recommended).