Birth Announcement Etiquette

Having waited nine months, many parents are eager to share the news and usually send off their baby announcements soon after the baby is born. If sleep deprivation prevents you from immediately sending out the announcements, it is perfectly acceptable to send them as late as six months after baby’s arrival. If you find yourself announcing the birth towards the end of the six-month time frame, a nice touch is to use a unique baby photo card and incorporate a photo at birth and another more recent photo of the baby. If a holiday (e.g., Christmas, Easter, Independence Day, etc.) is around the corner, consider making the announcement part of a holiday card with a photo of the entire family printed directly on the card.

To save precious time and energy later, we advise parents to pick out their announcements a few weeks before the due date. Select a style of card, decide on the verse, and give us all the known particulars. If you’re choosing to find out your baby’s gender naturally, we recommend selecting a card with neutral colors (e.g., greens, yellows, etc.) and theme. When the baby is born, simply email Baby Cachet the exact spelling of the baby’s names along with the other details (e.g., date of birth, weight, length) to be printed.

Compiling a mailing list before the baby’s birth is also highly recommended. Ideally, this should be done even before you select your announcement cards, as you will need to specify the number of cards when you place your order. But who should receive a birth announcement? The general advice is “when in doubt, send it”. Err on the side of caution and you minimize the chance of offending someone by leaving them uninformed. Start the list with the usual suspects: family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Then consider including others, like a high school friend, that you may not have contacted for a while. The birth of a child is such a joyous and special occasion that it serves as a natural “excuse” for getting back in touch and rekindling old friendships. Once you have a count of how many people will be receiving your announcements, be sure to add a few extra cards to your order to cover any surprises. And, of course, go to the post office now when your hands are free and buy some stamps, preferably ones with fun, baby themes.

So what should you say on the announcement? The basic elements of a birth announcement are the baby’s name, the parents’ names, the date of birth, and the weight of the baby. Anything included beyond that is up to you. The announcement can be written in the third person for a formal composition or the first person for an informal or imaginative composition. An announcement with a formal composition is presented below, followed by the same announcement with an informal composition. Notice the range of flexibility you have in wording and abbreviation. In the formal announcement, nearly every word is spelled out whereas the informal announcement freely uses numeric and abbreviated versions of the same words. Feel free to adjust the formality (or informality) to suit your comfort level. For example, you may choose to use an informal composition yet still spell out the words “pounds” and “ounces”. Look through our wording ideas for some more examples.

Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth James Morris
joyfully announce
the birth of their son
John Adam Morris
Friday, the twenty-second of December
at two o’clock in the afternoon
eight pounds, ten ounces
twenty inches

We joyfully announce
the birth of our son
John Adam Morris
December 22nd, 2005
at 2:00 p.m.
8 lb., 10 oz.
20 inches
Proud parents
Julia and Kenneth Morris

As the example shows, a typical announcement begins with an introduction such as “We joyfully announce the birth of our son [or daughter]”. The full name or the first and middle name of the baby appears next, followed by the baby’s birth date and weight. If the baby has a nickname, it is customary to print it under the legal name, on a separate line and in quotation marks. Many parents include the baby’s length, and some choose to also include the baby’s time of birth and place (hospital) of birth. The announcement ends with a closing such as “Proud parents” or “Love” before the parents’ names.

Variations on this format abound due to differing circumstances. For example, it’s popular for parents to include older siblings in the celebration, in which case their names usually appear after the parents’ names (on the same line or separate line) and are preceded by the title “Big Brother” or “Big Sister”. Parents with different last names customarily include their first and last names unless they are sending to only very close friends and family. In either case, it is important to include the baby’s full name for clarity. If you are uncomfortable sharing the baby’s weight because of a premature birth or large birth, it is completely acceptable to omit the birth statistics. For twin births the babies’ names are usually announced on separate lines or spaced sufficiently apart on the same line to avoid confusion. If you do not wish the recipients to feel obligated to send gifts, you may add a line at the bottom of the card reading “No gifts, please.” If you will be sending only a few announcements, you can pen a hand-written message to each recipient. However, this practice is uncommon since new parents are extremely busy and not expected to sign or write a personalized note for each announcement.

Choosing the perfect wording for your birth announcement may take time, but have fun with it. Don’t be afraid to add your own personal twist or humor to the announcement. Whether you decide to compose a poem, recite Shakespeare, invoke your favorite quotation, or keep it short and sweet, the idea is to express your joy and pride in your own personal way.

While you’re ordering your announcements for baby, be sure to pick up some thank you cards, especially if they match your announcements. Then browse through our thank you etiquette for some tips on how to compose that perfect note of appreciation. And before you address those envelopes, be sure to review our etiquette for addressing envelopes.
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