Are Gender Reveal Parties Amazing or Annoying?

A hot trend among parents-to-be is throwing “gender reveal parties” to tell family and friends the sex of their baby.

There are a number of ways to do this, putting pink or blue balloons in a box, filling a cake with pink or blue icing, or — as one couple did — poking holes in one color balloon but not the other and having guests attempt to blow them up. The gender will be revealed as one color inflates and the other doesn’t.

Regardless of your reveal strategy, there are important factors to gender reveal parties that ensure guests have a great time.

1. Find out with your guests.

The fun of a gender reveal party is seeing the excitement on the faces of the parents-to-be. Knowing the sex ahead of time and “surprising” your guests is a total rip off! As much as others care about the sex of your baby, it’s only worthwhile when they get to see your elation (or not) at the very moment you find out.

2. Beware of disgruntled siblings.

If you’re the kind of person who enjoys capturing a child’s misery on video (and I know those people exist), then rock on. If you are looking forward to a picture-perfect scene of elation, however, tread carefully. You may not understand the depth of desire your son or daughter has toward one gender or the other until you get a reaction like this.

On the other hand, your child may express a desire for one sex or the other, only to be adorably excited no matter what. This little girl wanted boy-girl twins, but ended up with boy-boy twins. Her bouncing up and down is the cutest thing I’ve seen in awhile.

Side note: the great thing about recording the sibling reveal videos privately is that you have the option to forgo publishing if your child is particularly devastated.

3. Beware of your disgruntled self.

Disgruntled siblings are one thing, but disgruntled parents are another. If you have your heart set on a son or daughter to the point that disappointment will be clear if you don’t get what you want, you may want to re-think the whole gender reveal party thing. At the same time, there is a huge risk-reward. If you do get what you want, you may end up with the reaction of all reactions like this woman who had six boys before discovering she was finally having a girl.

We don’t take into consideration that video is forever when recording these things because the baby isn’t a thinking, feeling being yet. But imagine years down the line when your child can watch the video and see the sadness cross your face following the big reveal.

4. Don’t overestimate the depths to which people care.

I suppose any excuse to have a party is a good one, but the lengths to which people go to reveal the sex of their baby is almost obscene. Color-coded drinks, flatware, desserts, balloons, Pinterest projects galore. I enjoy watching videos of people learning the sex of their baby as much as the next person, but I think we may overestimate how much those outside our inner circle really care whether we’re having a boy or a girl.

Then again, I may just be a huge killjoy.

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