Q. Is it appropriate for family members (such as sisters-in-law, stepmothers-in-law, etc.) to give baby or bridal showers?
A. It has long been considered a breach of etiquette for immediate family members to host bridal showers, because doing so gives the appearance of being self-serving. But it is becoming increasingly correct for family to host in certain situations, as when the bride is visiting her future in-laws and the groom’s mother or sister invites hometown friends to meet her. Also, more mothers and sisters of the bride are giving showers. Today, people should be guided by individual circumstances when deciding if family members will host.
Traditionally, close friends, cousins, aunts, sisters-in-law, or coworkers of the mother-to-be hosted baby showers. Because gifts are central to showers, hosting by a member of the honoree’s (or her husband’s) immediate family appeared to be asking for gifts. But times have changed, and today it is appropriate for anyone to host a baby shower as long as there is a legitimate reason. For example, some parents-to-be live far from their hometowns, and their mothers and siblings may want to host a shower so that long-time friends can attend. The honorees can vary as well, and showers may be given for adoptive parents, single mothers and even grandmothers.