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Baby Shower Q&A:
Co-worker Baby Showers

Baby showers that involve co-workers can be tricky at times. Workplace relationships with colleagues may be cordial and/or based on mutual respect, but that doesn't imply that co-workers are 'friends' in the true and personal sense.

As with any 'office party', some people will participate purely because they feel it is expected of them. Others may say they would like to attend, but will place little or no priority on actually showing up.

If you intend to have a work place related baby shower (particularly where large numbers of co-workers are involved) it will be prudent to allow for contingencies.

First and foremost, establish exactly who will commit to attending (that is, who really wants to come to the baby shower), then plan accordingly.

Well before the day of the baby shower arrives, double check the attendee list, just in case there are last minute cancellations due to people being 'too busy' or even 'out of town'.

I am in charge of hosting a work shower for a co-worker.  Do I need to invite my co-worker’s immediate family or can it just be for people from work?

No, a work shower is one that is strictly for co-workers of the mother to be and the new mom herself.  Don’t worry about extending the invitation out to anyone else. For more on planning a co-worker theme baby shower.


What is the best way to throw a work shower?

Having a potluck shower for a work shower right in the workplace is one of the best ways to go about having a great work shower.  In my old job, employees had two lunch times over the course of two hours.  When I had my second child, we had a potluck shower where everyone who had the first lunch came, ate, shared stories, gave their gifts and then went back to work so that the second lunch could come up and repeat the process.  When you have the shower at work, you don’t have to worry about the time it takes to commute to the party and people can relax on their lunch while they enjoy good food that everyone brought.


Where should I host a work shower?

I find having the work shower right in the place of work is the best way to have a shower and it allows everyone to come to it regardless of the length of their lunch. For more information on planning a co-worker theme baby shower and guest list Q&A related to co-worker showers.


My company is having a baby shower for me at work but I am worried about going and being questioned about when I will be coming back.  Is there a way that I can avoid shop talk at the shower?

There really is no way to stop your employer from talking shop or any of your co-workers for that matter.  I have found that work showers tend to be just a relaxed event where people talk and unfortunately, work will pop into the equation since it is a topic that everyone has in common.   If you want to avoid that dreaded, “So when are you coming back” question, I would suggest immersing yourself into the other conversations and crowds.  Usually, those questions will come up if you get cornered into a one on one conversation with your boss so try to avoid that.  Hopefully, your employer will be able to contain him or herself long enough to get through the shower but if not, just answer him or her with whatever answer you gave your employer when you started your maternity leave.  Remember to stay firm with your decision no matter how much guilt you feel.


We are planning a party for the director of a store (and  her husband) that is staffed by volunteers, and think we need to  make it an open invitation to all of them (perhaps a 100); mostly  women. It'd be a HUGE group- any suggestions? we are thinking a pot  luck would be fun, but when it comes to games and a theme, it seems  over whelming. Any ideas?

100 people can seem to be a lot but it is not uncommon for people to have upwards of 70+ people at a shower so don't feel too overwhelmed just yet.  I would recommend that you do a very simple theme, nothing too extravagant and that you set up a group of people to organize it.

A pot luck is a wonderful idea for a co-worker style shower and it is something that most businesses do.  Instead of just asking people to bring something, either assign a dish or ask people to email you with what they are bringing. This way you can make sure that you don't end up with 30 desserts and no main dishes.

In regards to games, I would keep them very simple.  Try doing games where there are teams competing instead of groups and also games that can run throughout the shower.  Baby shower pin works perfectly for this and you don't need to do much for it except hand out the pins and then count the person who has the most pins.

Another great idea is to have a scavenger hunt along the way to the baby shower.  In the invitation, tell people to look for things that are centered around the mom-to-be.  If she is a pen addict, you know the ones that always make off with pens, set up a few little stashes of pens and notepads in the coat room, at the door, or by the present drop.  Let people know beforehand that they have to find a pen and a small notepad on their way in for a treasure hunt.  Have one or two pens that write in a different color and then the people who found those pens wins the treasure hunt.  The added bonus with this is that all your guests will have a pen and notepad and you can start a written game such as Nursery Rhymes Memory game.

If you would like more information on hosting a baby shower, I would recommend reading our 8-step Guide to the Perfect Shower and our Good Hostess's Guide to Surviving a Shower.

Lastly, read our theme on a co-worker shower, but before you do anything else, just remember that keeping the decorations simple, the games simpler and the work shared will make it much easier to host a shower with 100 women.


Getting a commitment and payment

I have given several baby showers for co-workers where a donation was collected for participation. Currently, I am hosting an upscale baby shower (employees only) which will not take place at work. Our building has about 500 people. We canvassed an alphanumeric list to see who would be invited; mostly people that the mom to be communicates with on a constant basis.

The invitation was given only to those who confirmed their attendance. The invitation also tells the Invited person that the contribution for food and entertainment is $12.50. It was also explained in detail that there would be over 20 different entrees (well worth the $12.50).

Since the shower isn't at the workplace, but is at a location that had to be reserved, I need firm confirmations and numbers, which I haven't been able to get. Those that agreed to participate said that they would give me the money by September 15th. Well, that happened to be a busy day so, I didn't make a fuss about not receiving money from most. However, there were a hand full of people who sought me out to give me their payment.

I reminded one person in passing; she seemed irritated which made me irritated and embarrassed. I have yet to receive at least 90 percent of the contributions. I have decided not to pester anyone regarding the contribution. However, what bothers me is that the invitation was given contingent upon payment and participation. Now, I face the problem of employees showing up without contribution, and not enough room, as I have to rent tables and chairs.

I prepared a reminder for the rest of the guest list, letting them know that September 30 is the last day to submit funds. What I want to say with proper etiquette; if money isn't received, it is assumed that the person is not participating; therefore, the slot will be given to those declined, and on the wait list to receive an invite.

What is the proper way to express the fact that "if you don't pay, you don't go?" It sounds so mean, but the people that were invited agreed that the payment was reasonable, and seemed excited to participate. What is the proper way to say: contributions not received by the deadline will result in the person losing their slot. I don't want to come off like I'm begging for money, nor do I want to come off like a bully or a dictator. However, I had to exclude so many people from the list to accommodate the guests who agreed to the terms.

If I don't received payment, how do I handle stragglers who decide to show up anyway, even if there is no seating for them? These are educated people, who I perceive to know better, but it seems you can never predict a person's behaviour. Please help.

First, I would say that simply letting people know that they will be marked as not attending if the payment is not sent by the 30th is the best route. While we would like to do it politely, there really is no other way to do it. If people do arrive for the baby shower without payment, simply let them know politely that there is no seating or food for them.

Either stay by the door as people arrive or ask someone to help you with this, so you can step outside with the person to keep it quiet. Just let them know that you had sent out several letters, emails, etc., and that the seat was given to another 'paid' guest. If they get upset, apologize and say that it is not fair to either the mom to be or the staff at the venue to have to accommodate for a guest who wasn't counted. Let them know that there was a head count for catering and no extra plates were calculated into the cost. Hopefully, most people will leave without too much of an argument or those who didn't pay will be too embarrassed to come.

Editor's Note - Most indoor venues are very strict about booked seating numbers and will simply (and quite rightly) refuse to accommodate late, particularly 'on the day', changes. Outdoor venues may offer greater flexibility.





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