Your complete guide to planning a Christening.
Congratulations! You have welcomed your amazing bundle of joy into the world and what better way to celebrate than with a christening? Whether you want to welcome your child into the Christian community or just simply want a family celebration we have everything covered. From cake to balloons, churches and most importantly outfits!
A Christening is a special day that will be remembered and talked about for years, so it is important to get everything right. This can be stressful especially while raising a new-born baby, but do not worry we have you covered.
Here at Just Christening, we have compiled a checklist of everything you will need to make your babies Christening day perfect for you. Let us take your Christening day stress away so you can make yourself that well deserved cuppa and put your feet up!
First and foremost, it has to be about the outfit. Your child is, after all the centre of attention so it is super important they look the part.
Where to start? There is so much choice nowadays when it comes to Christening outfits. Let me start with traditional. Gowns that are passed down through families are called heirloom christening gowns. They are usually long and very well made with hand stitching and beautiful embroidery. They are passed down through generations and are used for both boys and girls. It is less common nowadays for people to use or even have these gowns but there are plenty of new dresses that you can buy that still have the vintage look to them. More popular nowadays are pretty shorter style dresses for girls with pretty bows, embroidery and silky ribbons. For the boys, white or ivory suits and rompers are popular. Before you choose your outfit there are a few things to think about.
- Churches are cold. Even in summer it will be colder inside so add extra layers. This could be a cardigan or bolero.
- Younger children don’t keep still! Your Childs outfit needs to be comfortable. Make sure there is enough wriggling room!
- Children are messy, if you are wanting to keep your christening outfit to pass down or even as keepsake of your special day, it may be worth investing in some bibs. You can get christening bibs along with other accessories here at Just Christening.
Christenings are usually held at the local church that you would usually attend or the closest one to where you live. You may also have a church in mind that you have a special connection to like a previous family wedding or christening. It is traditional to hold christenings on a Sunday after the regular Sunday service. This is a special way of bringing your child into the christian community. It is likely that you will be expected to attend to a few services before the Christening day which is only polite.
The first thing to do is to get in contact with the vicar of the church or the church office and you will meet with them to make your arrangements. The church will probably arrange most of the service but adapt it to what you would like, for example you may be asked if there are any special hymns or readings you may like so be prepared with these before you go. It is also a good time to ask any questions about the Christening day for anything you are not sure about. You may also be asked who the Godparents are so it is a good idea to have asked who you would like before you go.
It is a good idea to send invitations out around 6-8 weeks before the Christening day. This will allow time for people to reply so you can have correct numbers when choosing your party venue (we’ll talk about this further down). If sending invites to people who have a long way to travel it could be helpful to include a list of local b&b’s or hotels so they can stay and celebrate with you. Alternatively you could try arrange a room for the night with friends and family. Remember to include all the important details like the date and time, address of the church and party venue and an RSVP so you will know who can and can’t come.
There are a few options when it comes to invitations. If you are on a low budget shops like Poundland are perfect, or you could even create a Facebook page and add all the people you wish to attend. This could also be better if you arranging things quickly or have left it until last minute as you are more likely to get an instant reply. Etsy and even your local Facebook selling page are a good place to look if you are wanting something a bit more personal. There are so many crafty people around that design such a variety of card designs. If you are feeling particularly creative you could even make your own.
Choosing Godparents has to be one of the most important decisions you will make for your child’s Christening. It is traditional to choose 3 Godparents, usually 2 people of the same sex and 1 the opposite sex, but you can talk to your vicar if you wish to have more. Godparents must be over the age of 16 and the church will also insist on Godparents being baptised themselves although this may not be true across all parishes. You may wish to speak to your vicar about this.
When choosing Godparents it is important to think about who will be there for your child in years to come. Someone who will be a fantastic role model and also guide your child through life is the best consideration. God parents tend to be family members like an auntie, uncle, cousin etc. or a close friend. sometimes it’s very easy to be pressured into choosing Godparents by people around you but the most important thing is who would be best for your child?
Maybe it would be a good idea to ask potential Godparents in advance, this way if they do decline (hopefully not!) It gives you chance to ask someone else. It is a popular trend to ask Godparents in a fun and special way. This could be with a special card or a keepsake present.
Who doesn’t love a good party? This is the part where all your friends and family get together and celebrate with you and your child. It is a good idea to try and hold your party close to the church so people don’t have far to travel. Also try ensure there are ample places for people to park. This could be a local community hall, sports centre or even at home if it is big enough to fit everyone in. Also its worth trying to book the venue as early as possible to ensure you get the date of your child’s Christening.
Balloons and banners can be used to easily decorate your venue and a Christening cake makes a fantastic centrepiece! Tableware for the buffet can be co-ordinated with the decor and little touches like bubbles and some small toys can keep the younger children entertained. If budget isn’t a problem, some extra ideas you could include are bouncy castle hire, photo booth or even a children’s entertainer. Don’t forget the music! Most venues will have some kind of music system for you to use but this is worth checking when you book.
A good buffet is always welcome at a party. Keep it simple, there are likely to be a few children at your child’s Christening so sandwiches and nibbles are the best choice. You could make these yourself or even get an outside caterer in to do this. Don’t forget you can also ask friends and family to help and you will find they are usually more than willing to chip in.
Just like weddings, guest books are also a nice touch for your Childs christening. It is best to have this at the party so all friends and family can add their own messages and it is a lovely keepsake.
You will find people will always bring a Christening gift for your child so it can be a good idea to make a Christening gift list. This is a great idea as some people won’t know what to buy your child and they would find a list helpful. It also stops the chance of your child receiving the same gift twice. If you would prefer money or gift vouchers for your child, don’t be afraid to ask. Some people find this an easier option and saves them having to try find a gift. Remember to send thank you cards after the christening to everyone who attended and to those who bought a gift. It is also nice gesture to send the godparents a special thank you card which could include a photo of the Christening day.
A special day requires special pictures! Obviously the easiest way to obtain these is to hire a photographer or videographer. Have a look at a few different photographers if you can and look at their portfolios. This will give you a good insight into their work and if they are the kind of pictures you would like. It is also a good idea to get a few different prices so you can decide which is best for your budget. Speak with your photographer beforehand and let them know what pictures you would like. If a photographer isn’t right for you then make your guests your photographers! Most people have a camera on their phones so you can set up an online page or even us Facebook and get everyone to upload any pictures they have taken. This way you will get a good variety of shots and choose the pictures you like the best.
Last but definitely not least is the cake. A good Christening cake is as standard as a birthday cake nowadays and it’s easy to understand why. Firstly as mentioned above, a good cake makes a fantastic centrepiece. It is one of the first things people will notice as they enter the room so its easy to understand why people like to make a fuss with the cake. Finding a cake maker is quite easy, there are high street cake makers and also remember to look on Facebook for local cake makers. Remember to get in touch with the baker in advance to give them time to make the cake and discuss what kind of cake design you would like.
If you are lucky enough to have a baker in the family usually they will be more than happy to make the cake for such a special occasion. You could offer to cover costs for ingredients to be polite and maybe a little extra or a small gift would be a kind gesture. You could use the cake as a guest favour idea if you choose to do this and send your Christening guests home with a nice tasty treat.
If a religious ceremony is not the right choice for you then don’t think you can’t celebrate. Instead of having a Christening in a church you can opt to have your celebration with a naming ceremony. It has the same ideas as a Christening but there is no religion involved. Instead of a vicar in a church you will need to contact a Celebrant. The celebrant will officially name your baby and instead of Godparents you will choose guide parents. A naming ceremony gives you more control as you can choose your own songs and readings and you could also include some personal speeches.
Other than the actual ceremony everything else would be the same.
However you decide to organise your Childs Christening, make sure you have a fantastic memorable day that you and our family will remember for years to come.