Do Baby Shower Guests Have to Buy Gifts on the Registry?

baby shower gift

So you've been invited to a baby shower -- and want to get a great gift. The mom-to-be has made it easy by providing a registry, but then you stumble across some amazing off-the-beaten-path present you're pretty positive she'll adore. You're probably wondering if it's rude to buy a gift that's not on the registry. After all, she told you what she needs already!


Well, according to party and etiquette experts, it's perfectly fine to branch out beyond the mom-to-be's request list.

"A gift registry is simply a guide; it's not an ironclad law," says Christine Landry, an etiquette expert at Retroette. "The registry is nice because it's fail-safe, but if you think the mom-to-be would really love something off the registry, go ahead and get it for her. Unexpected gifts can be the most cherished sometimes."

More from CafeMom: 7 Baby Shower Rules Worth Breaking

Generally the better you know the mom, the more leeway you can take with your gift.

"If you don’t know the mom-to-be’s personality, it’s probably best to stick to the registry," says Megan Frisbee at party site Gig Salad. "But if you two are close and you know she’d love something if she had only seen it first, grab it! It will end up meaning more to her than something she mindlessly scanned with a registry gun."

Not sure you know the mother-to-be well enough?

Here's a good compromise: "If you aren't completely comfortable going rogue, couple a non-registry gift with something small that is on the registry, like bath supplies," suggests Jessica Marventano at Marvelously Well-Mannered. "Then you're covered."

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After all: a new mom needs lots of stuff for her baby, but it's no fun to know EVERYTHING she'll receive. So go ahead and surprise her!

What is your go-to purchase for baby showers?


Image via Halfpoint/shutterstock

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