Upon deciding to baptize a child, parents will inevitably be faced by organizational issues; they will be disquieted by questions: “where to start?”, “how to remember everything?” etc. Only when you have a list of things you plan to do can you be sure that you won’t forget anything and your celebration won’t be clouded by chaotic last minute preparations.
If you’re planning a christening and want everything to go smoothly, the steps must be taken in a certain order. It doesn’t make sense to purchase christening clothes for your little one if you don’t know exactly when the baptism will be, because he or she could simply grow out of them by the time it takes place. It’s also not advisable to reserve a time for the baptismal ceremony if you haven’t found godparents yet, because the people that you have in mind may not accept your offer, for one reason or another.
Regardless of what kind of christening you decide to have – whether it’s a small, modest gathering of your closest friends and family, or a large celebration with a formal reception after the christening ceremony – these are 10 things that you should think over and do when planning your child’s christening.
Selection of the godparents.
The first thing that parents should do is select godparents for their child. Once you get a positive answer, you can start planning the christening ceremony and reception to follow. Consult with them concerning aspects of planning – perhaps the godparents would like to help organize the celebration. Accept their help readily.
Selection of the christening date and location.
The second step is choosing a place for the baptism – such as your local church – and fixing the date and time. It is advisable to do this at least a month in advance (the earlier the better), so that the godparents and guests can work your celebration into their schedules. If they know the christening date in advance, they can make arrangements for taking the day off (if necessary), and also make travel plans (purchase tickets, etc.) if they are coming from out of town or even from abroad. The time of the baptismal ceremony is also an important aspect – keep it in mind when planning the reception time.
Making up the guest list.
Think over who you would like to see at this celebration, which is important to both you and your child, and draw up a guest list. Knowing exactly how many guests you will have is important when purchasing or making invitations, reserving the venue, and planning your budget for food and drink. Based on the guest list, it will be easier to decide where the christening party should take place. Pay attention to how many children will be invited – will there be many, or just a few, or none at all? If there will be 10 or more, a quiet restaurant setting would probably not be the best decision. In this case, you would be better off choosing a place with more space for entertaining the children. The guest list will also help you decide what the menu should look like. Go over your guest list with your spouse and the baby’s godparents.
Selection of the party venue.
Give some thought to what you would prefer – a small, private celebration after the ceremony, or a formal reception. Choose the venue for the celebration in accordance with your wishes. You can have a short picnic in a park, a traditional lunch at home, or a large reception in a restaurant or other venue. If you decide to celebrate at a restaurant or rent a venue for the party, make reservations in advance.
Before choosing the venue for your party or ordering food and entertainment, think over your budget, the time of the party, and how many people you plan to entertain. If there will be a lot of children among the guests, plan a menu that they will like.
The decision concerning the time and place of the party is necessary for the next step – sending out invitations, especially if you want to include information about the dress code and where the celebration will take place.
Inviting guests to the christening.
Should invites be purchased, made, or designed on a computer and sent out to guests three to four weeks before the christening. It is recommended that you ask guests to RSVP via mail, e-mail, or telephone (depending on the type of invitation) by a certain date, so that you know the exact number of guests who will be participating at the christening and can continue with the next steps of planning. Include detailed information in the invitations, with the time, date and location of the party (and the ceremony, if they are invited to that as well). Don’t forget to give directions to people who are not familiar with your church. You can also include information about the succession of the day’s events: the place, time, dress code, and other directions.
The most important thing is to select christening clothes for the “star” of the celebration – the child. Also take care of the requisite accessories – the baptismal candle and cape. In many places, the tradition of the godmother providing christening clothes and accessories for the little one is still alive, so consult with her about this in advance. Also think about what you will wear yourself. If you are organizing a theme party and would like to set a specific dress code or special accessories, inform your guests about this in the invitations. Visit your nearest Kids Emporium store to find the best in christening gowns.
Think over what kinds of decorations you would like for your child’s christening, make up a list of what you need, and then start looking for where you can purchase them or make them yourself. If you will be celebrating at home or at a restaurant, you will need to decorate the table and the room. Fresh flowers are best for those who would like to decorate the church or baptistery. Taking into account that baptism is a religious event, you should choose decorations with religious symbols or according to the christening party theme that you are planning.
Christening accessories and entertainment.
If you would rather have a fun, memorable celebration than a standard gathering around a table, consider christening accessories that will liven up the occasion. Plan games and entertainment in advance. By the way, not only children enjoy playing – there are many games that adults would also willingly take part in. For smaller children, you can make a play corner with toys, coloring books and puzzles. Older children may enjoy watching movies.
You can adorn the christening guests with celebratory accessories, such as badges. Helium balloons, sky lanterns, a dove release, party bubbles, water lanterns, a tree planting, or some other attraction could be the highlight of your party.
If you would like to keep guests’ wishes and greetings in one place, make sure you have a guest book or greeting cards.
Gifts..Inform your guests about your christening gifts policy.
If you do not want the guests to bring gifts, explain that in the invitation by including the words “No gifts, please”, or tell them personally. If you will accept gifts, then there is not need to mention this – guests will assume that gifts are expected.
If you would like to give your baby a christening gift yourself, something symbolic, with residual value, would be best. Also consider giving the godparents and guests favours or thank you gifts. Something inexpensive and symbolic would be perfect, as would sweets.
Capturing the moment.
Since baptism is one of the most important celebrations of your baby’s life, it’s nice – necessary, even – to capture the moment in photos or film. If you want professional quality shots, you will have to hire a photographer or videographer, so it is advisable to book in advance. Another option would be to ask guests to take pictures of the christening, and to stop by a photo studio before or after the church ceremony to take a few professional photographs. Photo sessions should also be booked in advance.
Some churches do not approve of taking pictures or videos during the ceremony, while others encourage it. Find out what your church’s view is on this matter. Inform the guests if they will be able to use cameras in the church, or if they will have to wait until the ceremony is over to take pictures.
Heading to a Christening soon? Take a look at some gift ideas here:
Kids Emporium wants to celebrate with you!
As you plan creative ways to share intimate news with family and friends, get in touch with Kids Emporium
and let us help you make this milestone memorable. As a giveback to our loyal customers,
Kids Emporium is now offering a design service free of charge. We have selected a number of themes
across the following categories to add that special touch to your magical moment.
baby shower invitations
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