Southern ladies love a good party and they also love their families. Over the course of a wedding and pregnancy, there are a series of events that all Southern belles should attend, and they all culminate in a Sip and See party. Don’t know what I’m talking about?
Read on and learn about the timeline of each milestone celebration.
From debutante to mother, oh the events you’ll attend!
The Southern belle has many festivities thrown in her honor and many to host herself, each of which has its own set of etiquette rules. Take a deep breath while we dig in, y’all!
A bridal shower, for example, should not be thrown by a close family member, as that can come off as if the family is asking for gifts. Generally, the maid/matron of honor, along with the aid of the bridesmaids (pocketbooks willing), hosts the shower. (It is completely acceptable for a sister to host if she is also the MOH.) All of those invited to the shower (or any wedding-related events) must also be invited to the wedding.
Unlike a bridal shower, a close friend or one of the grandmas-to-be will throw a baby shower for the mama-to-be while she is in her second or third trimester, but the expecting mother should have very little involvement in the affair. She should provide a list of the guests she would like to attend and any notes that the host needs as far as her ability to partake in games or eat certain foods. The guest list is often more selective than those who will receive a birth announcement once the mama pops! Remember: it’s fine for the host(ess) to include gift registry information with (but not on) the invitation for both bridal showers and baby showers; this often looks like a translucent vellum paper insert included in the envelope with the invitation for discretion.
Modern couples are also throwing gender reveal parties even before planning the baby shower, but these are very much optional. A gender reveal celebration is typically for the most close-knit circle of family and friends and is a fun, kitschy way to tell the guests the sex of the bun in the oven. Many couples choose to also wait until this point to learn the gender of their baby. At the 12-week ultrasound, they ask their doctor to disclose the gender on a sheet of paper hidden in an envelope. They then provide this to a cake baker, who will frost the inside of the cake with blue or pink frosting or bake color-appropriate cakes. (Of course, the outside should remain white to keep the secret.) Many couples are even shooting colored confetti out of canons or hitting golf balls filled with colored powder, depending on their own personal hobbies. These reveals are then shared on social media for the couple’s widest circle of friends and more distant family to enjoy.
Time to meet baby
Once her bridal shower, gender reveal and baby shower have happened, there’s still one more event to be thrown. Luckily, this Southern belle has an involved circle of friends and family who have now witnessed many of her milestones and will be thrilled to see the culmination — a new life in the world! Guests from the baby shower, especially, will love to see the baby enjoying or wearing their gifts, and they’ll surely coo (or, let’s be realistic here, cry) while the new mom is able to enjoy things she was unable to during the shower — namely, wine.
Here’s where the “sip” comes in if that wasn’t already clear. The point of a Sip and See party is for guests to sip wine (or any beverage of their choice) while they visit the baby. Gifts are not required, and the event is hosted by the new mom in her perfect Southern home. This time around, the baby is the focus, not the Southern belle. Unlike a baby shower, this affair is more likely to have men attend, is much more casual in ambiance, and is typically game-free.
As with most daytime events, if held from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., a light lunch should be served, including tea sandwiches, such as Benedictine, but the meal does not need to be hot. Fresh fruit, mixed greens, chicken salad, cheese straws, deviled eggs and pimento cheese are also standard fare. If the event runs between 1 and 5 p.m., the host can get away with simple hors-d'oeuvres and cake. Any event that starts later requires a sit-down hot meal. Common themes around which to plan the event are “something sweet has arrived” (serve an array of desserts) or “welcome baby to the world,” which naturally lends itself to a spread of dishes from various cultures across the globe.Let’s get to sippin’
You already know that we are big fans of mimosa bars, and a Sip and See is the perfect occasion to set one up with beautiful floral arrangements — include a cute sign that says “Mom-osa Bar” for good measure. Giving guests a plethora of options is the most hospitable thing that a host can do when planning her party, so ensure that you also have non-sparkling white and red wine available and that you’re keeping things seasonally relevant. For example, if the Sip and See party is thrown in the fall, the host can plan a wine and/or cider tasting with an array of charcuterie and cheeses since the mama hasn’t been able to enjoy either during her pregnancy.
Sip and See parties allow the new parents to introduce their friends and family to their new pride and joy without scheduling 30+ individual visits. You’re welcome for the time saved!
Now go – catch up with your friends and have civilized adult conversation for once!
Photo credit ("oh baby!" champagne bar and menu): Tinyme Facebook
Photo credit (gender reveal cake): Lauren Conrad Facebook
Photo credit (baby pink and blue party snacks): Brit + Co. Facebook