"Potluck" baby shower??

@much2say (40138)
United States
July 1, 2010 9:37am CST
I just got an invitation (well, an e-vite) to a "potluck" baby shower. It was just a little weird to me as it said something like let's shower them with gifts . . . please bring food for a potluck . . . cake and ribs will be provided. And then the gift registry info. Maybe I'm a bit old fashioned, but when I know I'm going to receive gifts or that the person I'm giving the party for is, I feel obligated to feed my guests myself. I can understand potlucks for certain occasions - but not a baby shower where they are asking for expensive gifts on top of that (it's my cousin's shower and we're not particularly close). And DUH - I would hope the cake would be "provided". The host (my aunt), nor the house hosts (another cousin's wife) are doing fine financially - neither are strapped for money. I know they are all busy people, but geez - they can get food catered instead of making their guests bring food. Is this proper party etiquette - or is this the norm these days? How would you feel if you got an invitation like this?
2 people like this
8 responses
@jillbeth (2711)
• United States
1 Jul 10
With the sorry state of today's economy, even people who still apparently have money to spend are becoming more frugal. Personally, I don't think a pot-luck baby shower is such a bad idea. I happen to enjoy pot lucks myself, because there are so many interesting foods to choose from. One is never obligated to buy what is on the registry, you know, it's there to help people who aren't sure what the recipient needs or wants. If you're not particularly close to this cousin and don't want to spend money on a gift and don't care for the idea of a potluck, well, don't go.
1 person likes this
@much2say (40138)
• United States
1 Jul 10
I like potlucks too, but that's beside the point. I think it's a bit nervy to word in an invitation "let's shower them with gifts" and to also bring food. I can understand being frugal, but then how is this thinking of frugality for the guests? You're right that no one is obligated to buy what's listed on the registry, but this is "family", so I know they are expecting the big ticket items (that's just the way this family works and everyone knows that). I will probably go as an obligation - but still - I think it's nervy.
• United States
1 Jul 10
I agree with both. On the one hand they may be on a really tight budget but want the experience - on the other hand though why is their registry information phrased in such a way on their invites? seriously?! When I had my baby shower I was registered for some nice items at myregistry.com but I did NOT include the info in my invite. It is up to your guests to buy you gifts or not (they mostly do and my mom and sister directed relatives and friends to my myregistry gift list) and if you're asking them to bring food - that's a big over the top especially since a baby shower is usually not the same as a wedding reception (with fanciness all around)
@much2say (40138)
• United States
1 Jul 10
Zaria34 I think really the big issue with me is the wording of the invitation. To me it shouts bring them lots and lots of gifts for their first baby, oh and by the way please bring something good to eat (the invitation said something like please let us know what yummies you are bringing). Weird. I think it's a bit over the top too.
@jaiho2009 (39001)
• Philippines
1 Jul 10
Potluck for a baby shower? Well,also sounds weird for me. I think it is something about a family occasion celebrating a joyous event of having new addition to their family. I guess,potluck is not normal for this kind of occasion. What i know about potluck is,when,a group of friends sets a dinner just for fun or weekend bonding(for family)then potluck is considered as a formal kind. My friends and i were doing this potluck when we want to have some bonding,or want to celebrate our friendship. Maybe your cousin just want to cut some finances that is why they consider potluck on this occasion.
1 person likes this
@much2say (40138)
• United States
1 Jul 10
Well, it's my aunt and another cousin's wife that are apparently putting this baby shower together - and they really have no reason to cut back on their finances over food for a party . . . they all have good careers and such. It is a supposed to be a joyous occasion, and to help my cousin out with "things" for the baby. So if we are to bring gifts, I don't understand why we are supposed to bring the food as well. I know my parents would never do this . . . they taught us to serve our guests if any gifts were involved.
@skysuccess (8882)
• Singapore
2 Jul 10
much2say, Potluck baby shower of this kind is also a first for me. There are just so many questions in my mind, where one of them would be just how many guests will your cousin be having for this party? Sounding from your post with the gift registry info, I don't think it is going to be a small gathering. Correct me here, if I am wrong but I thought and if I may add "potluck" is usually for informal small gatherings. Which makes me want to ask if your cousin really knows what she is doing? Perhaps, they are inexperience and you may want to give them a call and find out. Because, I am definitely not going to cook a feast if I were you when the guest list is going to be extensive. A caterer with replenishing service is definitely the order of the day here. So, you are not wrong or old fashioned but sensible and logical. I hope you would call them to clarify before they make a mess and mockery of the whole celebration and most of all themselves. Take care and have a nice day.
@much2say (40138)
• United States
3 Jul 10
I saw the evite guest list, and you're right - it doesn't seem to be meant as a small gathering. Well, it's my other cousin's wife who is throwing the shower for my cousin's wife . . . she is older and has 2 kids of her own . . . plus my aunt is the actual host . . . so I would think they both should have the experience of knowing what to do for a baby shower - proper etiquette if anything. I'm not super close to that family to give them a call to question it . . . I'm sure it will turn out to be a nice shower for the couple, but I don't know how others will feel about having to bring food and a gift.
• Singapore
3 Jul 10
much2say, I am just one character that just cannot afford people to take the fall and be the laughing stock at the end of the day. I will probably give them a hint or heads up, which a way of saying - don't say I didn't warn you at the end of the day.
@much2say (40138)
• United States
4 Jul 10
I think if I said anything at this point, someone will chop my head off. Like I mentioned, if I was super close to them, I might say something - but I feel I am so removed from them that it probably isn't my place to make such a remark. I may not tell them my true feelings, but I'd still think it.
@dorannmwin (36698)
• United States
3 Jul 10
I think that it is tacky to ask the guests to bring food. But, then again, much like you I am an old fashioned person. I think that if you are expected to buy a gift for a person then you should not be required to bring anything else to the party unless you volunteer to do it. For example, my cousin had a baby last year and my aunts did all the preparations for her shower. That meant that no one else had to bring food or anything. However, for Christmas with this same part of the family, everyone brings specific things to eat because that is just the way that we've always done things.
@much2say (40138)
• United States
4 Jul 10
Yep, I think the same way. I finally discussed this with my mom and she fully thinks this is tacky. Now, a Christmas potluck sounds fine to me . . . it's an occasion that is shared by the whole family. But a baby shower is basically for a specific person/family/baby . . . and the gift thing is the focus for that particular person/family/baby only - not exactly a shared occasion.
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
2 Jul 10
Like I'll pitch in for the food, if they offer to pitch in for the present? I wouldn't say it's proper etiquette at all, but I'd probably show up with a side dish or something easy anyway.
@much2say (40138)
• United States
3 Jul 10
Ha ha - good one!! If I go, I have no choice but to show up with something. It'd be bad etiquette on my part to show up empty handed. Definitely I'm not going to go all out to make something extravagant. Do you think a box of mac and cheese will do? Hee hee.
@Bookmite (53)
• United States
2 Jul 10
Personally, I would never throw a 'potluck' baby (or wedding) shower. I would feel very uncomfortable about asking guests to provide food in addition to giving gifts. I have been to casual baby and wedding showers which were held in a person's home, yard, or apartment party room where close family members and friends all contributed to the menu by bringing an appetizer, dessert, side dish, etc. But I have never received an invite to a shower (even a more 'casual' type) that requested every guest invited to bring food. I'm guessing that this would be a no-no in Emily Post's book of etiquette. If I received such an invitation, I would probably attend, bring the food and a gift and enjoy myself, but it is not something I consider really appropriate for the hostess to ask of guests.
@much2say (40138)
• United States
3 Jul 10
Exactly. I wouldn't feel comfortable asking my guests to bring food on top of bringing a gift either. I know the rest of my family may frown upon this invitation . . . but I'm sure they'll all go anyway and do as the invitation requests. Yah, I've been to an extremely casual wedding reception too in the couple's backyard/home - it was specifically potluck but it also said in the invitation that they did not want gifts. That to me sounds "right".
@Celanith (2334)
• United States
2 Jul 10
Well I have seen this done several times now. But the people who had them were very low income and so asked friends to help out with food and it as for a couples baby shower where the husband and wife were both at the shower. But really most showers I have gone to there is maybe a bit of fruit like strawberries, grapes and melon all fairly inexpensive, depending on the expected guests. Then there is cake and or cookies and coffee, tea and punch. Why would you need a big meal. Is this a mixed couple shower or for just the woman? Mixed couple I could see maybe why a potluck as guys like to have food it sort of mellows them LOL. But for just her I don't see why they would need a lot of food. Weird.
@much2say (40138)
• United States
3 Jul 10
I can understand being frugal and doing the potluck thing. But I don't understand it coming from my family members who are doing fairly well. And even so, there are ways to make the party fare inexpensively and not make the guests bring the food AND the gifts. That's another thing - I have to email the host and ask if it's a couple thing or not . . . the invite says it's a shower for him and her . . . so it's not quite clear.
@lilybug (21148)
• United States
1 Jul 10
I have never heard of a potluck baby shower either. Actually most of the baby showers I have ever been to did not even have a meal. Just cake and some punch. I don't think there is necessarily anything wrong with a potluck baby shower though. They are providing the ribs which is the expensive part. It sounds to me like they are trying to make it a Baby Shower BBQ. Things like potato salad, baked beans and macaroni salad that are cheap to make are probably what are expected.
@much2say (40138)
• United States
2 Jul 10
Really? I'd have to say that all of the baby showers I've ever been to had a meal of some sort. There was one potluck wedding reception that I went to . . . it was at their house and they was requested in their invitation that they did not want gifts . . . that it was nice that everyone could come to share the celebration of their marriage. I guess all the other cousins put in the effort to provide food at all their baby showers . . . part of me thinks this particular family is just being lazy or cheap . . . and a bit nervy too as the registry info is loud and clear on the invite.