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The concept of gender reveal parties is still relatively new. In fact, the first one we have evidence for stems from a 2008 video in which a young couple opened an envelope, read out the gender, and celebrated with their immediate family. Since then, gender reveal parties have taken over everyone's social media feed and many have grown quite large. Couples are getting more and more creative with their reveal ideas, from smoke bombs to squirt gun wars and exploding baseballs. It's no wonder there's pressure to keep up with the Joneses.
For those trying to plan their gender reveal party, one of the first questions they ask is “Who should I invite?” The answer depends a lot on your unique situation and the dynamics of your relationships, but here are the general rules of thumb.
This goes without saying, but the couple's parents, grandparents and siblings are very likely to be interested in attending a gender reveal party. The older generations may need to have the idea behind gender reveal parties explained to them, because it's often confused with a baby shower.
Extended family are also likely to be thrilled to learn the gender of your baby, particularly if there hasn't been a boy or girl on their side for a long time. However, some couples run into an issue of fairness when they have a large family.
“But if we invite Aunt Shirley, we have to invite Aunt Edna and all 12 of her kids!”
For this reason, some couples choose to make their gender reveal party immediate family only.
Who do you call at 3 a.m. with the latest drama? Who were your Maid of Honor and your closest bridesmaids? Your closest friends are the ones who have been there through ups and downs and who you know will be genuinely excited to learn whether you're having a girl or boy.
Your may also need closest friends to pull off a gender reveal that surprises mom- and dad-to-be alongside their guests. This trusted partner will be responsible for preparing the pink or blue coloring for cake reveals.
Keep in mind when you invite your closest friends you should also be inviting their partners or spouses and any of their children, as well. This will make your party fill out quite a bit faster than you'd think.
We hesitate to make any hard-and-fast rules on who you shouldn't invite, but the general consensus is the following categories of guests can skip the gender reveal and appear only for the baby shower. And chances are they'd prefer it this way.
The truth is most people simply will not care as much as you do about the gender of your baby. This isn't a bad thing! Usually it's because everybody loves babies, whether boy or girl, and they're happy for you either way. It's not that they're not excited for you and your impending bundle of joy, but they may be more interested in attending the upcoming baby shower rather than double-ending two baby-themed parties for one couple.
If it would feel awkward to call up your old college roommate and shoot the breeze, it's probably not appropriate to invite her to a gender reveal party. She may very well be excited for you, but the excitement and wonderment of “boy vs. girl” is just simply not on her radar. She'll be more comfortable at your shower.
Gender reveal parties are very intimate affairs. The people most excited and animated will be the couple and their immediate family and best friends. This makes it very awkward for people with whom you mostly have a professional relationship.
Some people compare inviting people to a gender reveal to inviting them to a christening or bris. If you wouldn't feel comfortable having a guest at one of these solemn occasions, they may not feel comfortable at your gender reveal.
All this being said, it's perfectly possible to have a low-key reveal that allows for a more backyard BBQ atmosphere at which your family and friends from many walks of life would feel comfortable. Keep in mind that the smaller the guest list, the more awkward distant acquaintances might feel.
You can set the tone and formality of your party however you like, but just be mindful of your guests and put yourselves in their shoes. Would you show up to their gender reveal enthusiastic and excited to learn the gender of their baby? Or would you be kind of indifferent? They're likely to reciprocate your feelings. Remember: there's no shame in not being over-the-moon for the gender reveal of the seventh pregnancy among your maternal cousins.
You'll also want to take into account your baby shower guest list and when your shower will be hosted. Most people who are not very close to you will not want to attend two baby parties back-to-back.