What Is a Sip and See?

a table with party food and decorations

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A sip and see party, which originated in the south, provides an opportunity to have friends and family over at one time to meet and greet a new baby or child shortly after birth or adoption. This party to welcome the new baby is sort of like an open house baby shower. It allows the parents, who may be exhausted, to introduce the new addition to the family to everyone at once, rather than spreading out visits over weeks or months.

Sip and See vs. Baby Shower

Most baby showers and sprinkles occur before the baby comes, while a sip and see occurs afterward. It's often for parents who didn't have a baby shower, no matter what the reason.

The sip and see is typically a much more casual event than a shower. It may be structured in an open house format, rather than a party with everyone present at the same time. While baby showers are traditionally for women only, entire families, including men and children may attend a sip and see.

Many new parents-to-be sign up for a gift registry for a baby shower. It isn’t the norm to have a gift registry for a sip and see, though guests frequently bring small gifts as a token of congratulations. Make sure you keep track of what each person brought so you can send out thank you notes later. Even if someone didn't bring a gift, it's still nice to send show your gratitude for their visit.

How to Host a Sip and See

A sip and see can be hosted by the new parents or, like a baby shower, hosted by a friend or family member. It’s completely up to the guest of honor as to who is on the invite list, but the standard is to ask all family members, close friends, and other people who have expressed a desire to meet the new baby. Even if they attended a baby shower before the arrival of the little one, feel free to ask them to come. 

Since the word “sip” is in the name of the party, that naturally implies there will be refreshments. Remember, no one expects anything elaborate from new parents.

Here are some things to consider during your planning:

  • Time frame: When you write out the invitation, make sure that you’re specific about when people may arrive and when the party is over. Even if you’re hosting a casual open house-style party, you need to be precise or you might have a difficult time getting folks to leave.
  • Decorations: Keep decorations to a minimum—guests are there to see the baby, not balloons or streamers. A floral centerpiece on a festive tablecloth is all you need.
  • Refreshments: Serve finger foods, such as small sandwiches and cookies, and a couple of beverage options. Wile you may or may not choose to serve alcohol, keep in mind that many people enjoy celebrating such joyous events with champagne. 
  • Games and entertainment: Most people attending a sip and see event would much rather spend their time holding the baby than playing games, so you don’t have to plan any special activities. Because people are there to see the baby, there's no need to worry about conversation starters.

Tip

Provide hand sanitizer at the door, and ask your guests to either wash their hands or use the sanitizer before touching your new little one to avoid passing germs.

Ideas for a Sip and See Party

Although you don’t need a theme for your sip and see party, you may want to do it for fun. Some cute ideas include:

  • A Star is Born: Hang gold and silver stars around the room, and make star-shaped cookies.
  • Sweet Addition: Have colorful and festive decorations around a dessert table laden with a variety of sweet treats and small, framed photos of the new addition to your family.
  • Message in a Bottle: Place a large bottle, scraps of paper, and pens near the front door. Encourage each guest to jot down some notes about their first experience with the baby. This is something you and your child can look back on and read later. You can decorate the room with messages of gratitude for being able to share this experience with everyone else and add those to the bottle after everyone leaves.
  • In the Spotlight: Take pictures of everyone when it’s their turn to hold the baby. You can email the photos to them after the event and make a collage or memory book to keep for later.

Expectations for Guests

If you’ve been invited to a sip and see party, the new parents probably have very few expectations, other than the opportunity to show off their new family member. 

Dress in nice but casual clothes so you don't get spit up on your brand new silk blouse!

This is a wonderful opportunity to bring a gift. Because you know the sex and name of the baby, you can also have it personalized. Great gifts to bring to a sip and see include:

  • A bib, rattle, and teething ring with the baby’s initials
  • A monogrammed tummy time blanket
  • A gift basket filled with baby toiletries, gentle laundry detergent, and other items that will come in handy
  • A gift card to a restaurant and an offer to babysit, so the new parents can enjoy a date night