If you’ve been hearing the term “sip and see” thrown around but have no clue what people are talking about, step right up. A sip and see is a party, usually planned by the parents, that invites friends and family to drop by, sip on some refreshments and meet the new baby. It’s a perfect opportunity to introduce the newest family addition to all of your loved ones in a single go—and on your own terms. So what’s the sip and see etiquette, what goes down at the party and where can you find cute sip and see ideas? Read on for answers.
What Is a Sip and See Party?
First, a little sip and see history. The sip and see originated in the South, where Southern Belles would invite their family and friends over to literally sip (tea, coffee, spiked punch, you name it) and see the new baby. Think of it as a kind of open house: Guests could come and go as they please (within set visiting hours), coo over baby, catch up with the parents and enjoy some refreshments. Casual and breezy—no pressure.
The idea of an informal “welcome baby” party has since spread across the country, championed in particular by those who don’t necessarily love the idea of having a baby shower. Not everyone enjoys being the center of attention, after all. Plus, how fun is it to have a bash with the baby everyone’s been so eager to meet? Even better, how the party goes down is completely up to you. Don’t want games? You don’t have to have them. Prefer a buffet to a five-course brunch menu? Perfect! You want to keep it easy. At the end of the day, a sip and see party is about meeting baby, which is really all the entertainment your guests need.
Sip and See Etiquette
As you’re considering when to have a sip and see, think about what life will be like during those first few weeks with baby. “It’s obviously overwhelming to have a newborn, and you don’t want a lot of people (and their germs!) around baby when he's really little,” says Seri Kertzner, co-founder of Little Miss Party. “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.” That’s why it’s generally a good idea to wait to throw a sip and see until a few months after baby’s birth.
Wondering if you can throw a sip and see if you’ve already had a baby shower? That’s entirely up to you. Many choose to have a sip and see instead of a baby shower, and if that’s the case for you, you can probably expect to receive some presents at the sip and see (and can point people toward a baby registry via your invite). If you already had a shower, you don’t have to put your registry on your invite—people are less likely to bring gifts anyway. If they do, don’t feel as if you have to open them during the event. Just set up a small side table where guests can leave them. (For fun, Kertzner suggests emphasizing the “see” theme by asking guests to bring their gift unwrapped, or wrapped in cellophane.)
As for who you should invite to your sip and see, there’s no hard rule—it all depends on which friends and extended family members you want to have meet baby. Unlike a baby shower, people tend to invite both men and women (and even kids) to their sip and see. Can’t wait to introduce baby to everyone? Invite all your friends! Just keep in mind that the smaller the gathering and the closer you are to the guests, the less stressful it’ll all be.
5 Inspiration-Worthy Sip and See Ideas
The beauty of having a sip and see is that people generally have no expectation as to what has to happen at the party. Which gives you loads of freedom to decide how long people stay and what snacks you serve, games you play (or not) and the decor you use. Need a little inspiration to help get you started? Check out these sip and see ideas, complete with five adorable party themes, sample invitations, menus, party favors and more.
Sip and see theme #1: Welcome to the world
A travel theme, complete with globes, planes and international food options. (Particularly appropriate for the family who loves to travel!)
Sip and See Invitations. Look who just soared in! Please join us at our sip and see party to help welcome [baby’s name] to the world. (Pictured above: Round the World invite design by Shari Margolin for Minted.)
Sip and See Menu. With the whole wide world as your party theme, serve an international menu: French croissants, English scones, Chinese dumplings, Thai noodles, Spanish paella— the world is your oyster. And for the toast? Wine from a variety of locales.
Sip and See Games. Hang a giant map on a cork board and invite guests to put a sticker on the spots they hope baby will visit one day, along with a Post-It note explaining why. It’ll make for a great wall decor to hang in baby’s nursery.
Sip and See Party Favors. Cake pops decorated as globes, wrapped with a little thank you tag.
Sip and See Gift Ideas. Books about travel, language learning sets for children, Dr. Seuss-theme nursery art and this adorable airplane mobile are all strong options. Also fun? Gifting baby with miles, so you can be behind his or her first big adventure!
Sip and see theme #2: Something sweet has arrived
All things sweet! Have fun with a sweets-themed menu and a pastel theme.
Sip and See Invitations. Something sweet has arrived! Come meet [baby’s name] at our sip and see and share in our sugar high. (Pictured above: Get the Scoop invite design by Itsy Belle Studio for Minted.)
Sip and See Menu. All the sweets you can think of, of course: Cake, cupcakes, cake pops, milkshakes, puddings, cookies and ice cream. Wash it all down with sweet Riesling or rosé.
Sip and See Games. Get your group game and party decor squared away in one shot: Transform each room in your home into a different Candy Land world, and offer people prizes for spying original game board characters tucked away in secret places.
Sip and See Party Favors. In keeping with the theme, send guests home with a mini jug of maple syrup, packaged with a monogrammed sticker of baby’s initials.
Sip and See Gift Ideas. Since this theme is all about indulging in the tastier things in life, consider dining items: baby bowls and utensils, a high chair and bibs, and an ice cream maker for Mom and Dad, so they can enjoy the dessert without having to leave home.
Sip and see theme #3: Beginning a new chapter
A book theme, featuring your favorite children’s literary characters: Peter Rabbit, Winnie the Pooh, Harry Potter, Madeline, Eloise, the Velveteen Rabbit and Pippi Longstocking, to name a few.
Sip and See Invitations. We’re beginning a new chapter! Come meet the new center of our story, [baby’s name], and bring a book to add to baby’s library!” (Pictured above: Line the Shelves invite design by Shiny Penny Studio for Minted.)
Sip and See Menu. Find inspiration in the stories you feature throughout the party. If you do Peter, your veggie platter can be “Mr. McGregor’s Garden.” If you go with Eloise, set things up for a Plaza tea, finger sandwiches and all.
Sip and See Games. How about a round of the guessing game, Who Am I? Here’s how it’s played: Assign guests the name of a literary character written on a Post-It note, and stick it on their back so everyone else but them can see. Have them ask yes-or-no questions until they correctly guess who they are.
Sip and See Gift Ideas. Books, of course! This sip and see is all about starting (or expanding) baby’s library. Stuffed animals shaped like children’s literary characters are welcome too.
Sip and See Party Favors. Offer guess little bags of customized cookies based on whichever literary characters you decide to work into your decor (like these super-cute Peter Rabbit treats).
Sip and see theme #4: Cute as can bee
With this bee theme, you can incorporate bees, hives, flowers and bears (yes, Winnie!) into the decor. Plus, you have a built-in menu: all things honey!
Sip and See Invitations. Have you heard the buzz? Our new baby is here, and he’s/she’s as cute as can bee. Come see! (Pictured above: Floral Bee invite design by Chasity Smith for Minted.)
Sip and See Menu. One word: Honey. Scones with honey, hot and iced tea mixed with honey, fruit dipped in honey, honey-laced ice cream, baklava—you get the idea.
Sip and See Games. What’s the Buzz?—aka, your version of the classic game of Telephone.
Sip and See Party Favors. Little jars of honey, topped with a bow.
Sip and See Gift Ideas. Winnie-the-Pooh memorabilia. Or just go for baby gear all parents can appreciate—it may not be on-theme, but it’s always on-trend.
Sip and see theme #5: Our universe just expanded
A planetary party theme with planets, stars and spaceships at the heart of the decor.
Sip and See Invitations. Our universe just expanded! Come meet [baby’s name], the center of our everything, at our sip and see. (Pictured above: Moonlit invite design by Alethea and Ruth for Minted.)
Sip and See Menu. Fruits cut out into star shapes, cake pop planets, rocket-shaped cookies and a big sun cake in the middle—after all, baby is the new center of your universe.
Sip and See Games. Cut out a group of cardboard stars (one for each guest) and have each person write a wish for baby on it. Then take those stars and put them together with a binder ring—you’ll love looking at it, and when baby gets a little older, he or she will be pretty touched too.
Sip and See Party Favors. How cool are these planet lollipops?
Sip and See Gift Ideas. While a planet-themed mobile, star wall decals and even a kid-friendly telescope (parents can save it!) make for out-of-this-world gifts, we also love this idea: naming a star for the new baby. (Technically, it’s more sentimental than NASA-official, but it’s still pretty cool.)