Office Etiquette for Wedding Showers and Baby Showers

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Last week, I was going to write a blog post on office wedding/baby shower etiquette based on years of HR experience and my own mistakes. Then I remembered that we were having a surprise wedding shower for Lizzie, my colleague, who is getting married in August.

So this had to wait a few days.

But I have made some mistakes, yo.

  1. An office party of any kind isn’t mandatory. Except it is — unless you are mortal enemies. I skipped a wedding luncheon for a colleague because I was on a liquid diet. Guess what? That’s not a great excuse. But I once skipped a baby shower for a boss because she was a rotten ho bag and I hated her. Pick your battles wisely.
  2. Cover your first drink and appetizer with your gift. Someone (cough cough) once went to a wedding shower and drank from an open bar, ate too many appetizers and didn’t contribute to the group gift. Yes, that was me. I know, I know. I was young, tacky and broke. I thought the contribution was optional but I should have ponied up $10.
  3. A group gift means that you shouldn’t give an additional gift — in public. Back in the day, we threw a baby shower for our HR assistant. We all went in on a crib. I bought another gift and gave it to her at the party. I made everyone else look like a cheapskate. Ugh. I thought I was just being nice. If you have an extra gift, save it for another time.

Lots of career advisors and bloggers like to tell you that there are hard and fast rules for office etiquette, wedding showers and baby showers. I like to embrace the Emily Post philosophy. I try to be gracious, generous and not embarrass anyone including myself.

Sometimes youth gets in the way.

But now you know how to behave. If you’re gonna attack an open bar in the middle of the day, better give someone a twenty — and tip the bartender generously, too.

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