by Liz O'Byrne - for PhotoAffections.com™
What information should be on birth announcements?
It's important to include pertinent details on your photo birth announcements, at the same time ensuring you don't take away from the star attraction - your baby's one-of-a-kind face. So, in general, the fewer words you use to get your message across, the more pleasing and successful your birth announcements will be.
Obviously, the first thing people want to know is whether your newborn baby is a boy or a girl! Sometimes the gender is indicated by words ("It's a boy!") and other times by the background color of the birth announcement. Pinks for girls and blues for boys are the perennial favorites. But PhotoAffections also offers tasteful, out-of-the-ordinary color combinations that will tickle your fancy!
An optional feature on your baby photo announcements is a brief introduction . "We welcome with love..." is one possibility, but there are countless others. See our wording suggestions page for more ideas.
The baby's full name, or first and middle names, should figure prominently on the cards. Nicknames may be shown in quotes, as well. Some of our most popular designs feature the nickname faded in the background.
Birth date and time: dates can be written numerically or spelled out, depending on personal preference and what works best in the design.
Birth weight (in pounds and ounces) and length (rounded up to the nearest inch) normally appear next. These are not required, however. You might wish to leave them off if, for instance, the birth weight is outside the normal range.
For the closing, the names of the parents should appear. These may be formal ("Mr. and Mrs. John Smith") or more casual ("Mary and John Smith"), or even "Mary and John" in the most casual circumstances. The wife's name should come first in any case.
If the mother and the father have different last names (when a wife keeps her maiden name, for example), the first and last names of both parents should appear. The same applies when parents who are not married wish to jointly announce the birth of their child. (There is no need to indicate whether or not parents are married.) Again, the mother's name comes before the father's. For single mothers , simply show the mother's name. In cases like these, you may want to include the baby's full legal name to avoid confusion. Personal preference comes into play here. In general, it's best to go with what feels comfortable for you.
Siblings' names commonly appear on birth announcements. They are sometimes on a separate line after the parents' names (according to age, with the oldest first). Space permitting, they may also be on the same line as the parents' names. Example: "Mary and John Smith and big sisters Lisa and Teri welcome new little brother Sean."
And pet-lovers, don't feel left out! It is not unusual to see the names of furry family members on birth announcements, as well - especially if the pet is in a photo. Normally, the pet's name comes right after the parents' and siblings' names.
Grandparents often enjoy spreading the good news to their own circle of friends, who may or may not know the parents personally. It is certainly appropriate for grandparents' names to be included on the announcement, space-permitting. Their names would appear on a separate line below the names of the parents.
Sometimes a bit of extra text is included on the announcement. This can be part of a poem or a bible verse - or other carefully chosen words that have special significance for you. Just be sure to select a design with plenty of room for the extra words. You don't want the announcement to look crowded, nor do you want to detract from that specially chosen image of your beautiful baby!
Once more, be cautious about putting too many words on your birth announcement.
"Less is more" is a great guideline!
What should you NOT say?
Most etiquette experts advise against mentioning anything at all about gifts. Don't show, for example, the name of your baby's gift registry. Don't say "no gifts please." And don't indicate that you prefer money instead of gifts! Basically, let recipients decide for themselves how to respond. If they want to know what you need, they'll ask.