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Kylie McConville

What Is A Sip And See?

I keep hearing about new parents having sip and see parties — what exactly are they? And how should I plan one?

You must have heard: The "sip and see" is hot these days, and the trend just keeps picking up speed. It's an easy way for family and close friends of the new parents to come by and meet baby on mom's terms. Which means, no five-course brunch menu, no over-the-top shower games, no onesie decorating and no opening dozens of presents in front of a packed room of people who can hardly hear you anyway.

A sip and see is a party mom and dad throw after baby's birth — one that makes it easy for friends to come and go as they please, snack on grab-and-go goodies, meet baby, and honor mom and dad without overdoing it. We caught up with Seri Kertzner and Michelle Bachman, event planners at Little Miss Party, and they dished on why sip and see parties are on the rise (plus, offered some awesome ideas!).

Why are new parents having them?

Not everyone loves a baby shower (and not everyone loves being the center of attention). A sip and see is a party more about baby than mom. And it's an excuse to have fun (and have a drink!) without all of the games and stuffiness. Plus, you want friends and family to stop by to meet the baby — but you don't want them to come by unannounced on a day when you haven't even taken a shower! This lets you tell them exactly when it's okay come over.

At a sip and see, you have control over what happens at the party, how it looks, how long people stay; everything is up to mom. And it doesn’t have to be traditional or decorated in pink and blue — it can be creative and suited to your tastes. While baby showers are often only given in anticipation of a first child, a sip and see can introduce a second, third or tenth baby! It's also an easy way for dad to get involved.

The greatest part? Baby is already here. Now, instead of wondering about this new little bundle of joy, the guests actually get to enjoy him or her.

What do guests do?

They literally sip and see. Serve some champagne or another cocktail, and they get to have a drink and check out the new baby. It’s nice to have a party like this in the late afternoon, since you don’t need to serve a full meal at that time. (People know not to come hungry during that time of day.) Instead, serve up some snacks. See it kind of like an open house.  People can come and go as they please, catch up, meet baby, chat with mom and dad, and then they leave. Because of the casual format, there's not a lot of pressure on you!

So what about gifts?  

If you didn’t have a baby shower, you can probably expect some gifts. (If you did, then don't count on many.) If it’s your second child and you don't need much gear, you can ask each guest to bring a specific item, like books or diapers. Or ask guests to make a charirable donation — we love that idea! Whatever you decide, make it clear on the invitation so guests know what's expected and so you don't get asked a million questions.

You can display gifts on a side table during the event, but don't feel like you have to open them while guests watch. Typically, at a sip and see, gifts get opened after guests leave. If you want to emphasize the "see" theme, ask guests to bring unwrapped gifts or to put them in clear bags or cellophane, so that everyone can actually see baby's new goods.

When should I have a sip and see?

The best time for a sip and see is a few months after baby’s arrival. Obviously, it’s overwhelming to have a newborn, and you don’t want a lot of people (and their germs!) around baby when he's really little. It’s also important for you and your partner to get adjusted to being new parents and feel comfortable with having people around baby before you throw a bash like this.

Whom should I invite?

It's really up to you. Your close family has probably already spent time with baby, so you'll probably also want to invite extended family and friends to the sip and see. Think of the people you want to have meet baby but don't want to have to travel from house-to-house-to-house to hit them all.

Who should plan it?

You and your partner can certainly plan it yourselves, but you have your hands full. Better party planners would be close friends, your siblings or another relative.

How can I throw an awesome (and unique!) sip and see?

These are a few of our favorite ideas:

• Set out framed pictures of baby from his first few weeks and a few of mom's and dad's baby pictures too. It will be fun for guests to decide who baby looks like most!

• Set up a table with notecards, pens and a scrapbook for guests to write personal notes welcoming baby. Guests can leave sweet notes for baby or give parenting advice.

• Keep a digital camera nearby and ready so you can capture photos of each guest with baby!

• Since new parents are busy caring for baby and greeting guests, a DIY bar is a must! Set out juices, champagne, and all kinds of fruits so guests can make their own drinks to sip.

• Since baby's name is already revealed, you might want to go crazy with personalization. The ideas are endless: water bottles, cupcakes toppers, cakes, favor tags — you name it! — with baby's name.

• If you want to splurge, hire a professional photographer to capture the event. And take a moment to get a photo with several generations of your family. It's a picture you'll cherish forever.

Plus, more from The Bump:

What Is a Mother's Blessing?

Nontraditional Baby Shower Ideas

Super Creative Baby Shower Ideas


PHOTO: Gretchen Moore Photography