A handy guide to organising your child’s christening
Your child’s christening is one of the first major milestones of his or her young life. It’s a joyous celebration that brings family and friends together, often for the first time since your baby was born. While the ceremony and afterparty will be enjoyable and full of love, planning them—like planning any event with friends and family—can be stressful. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to tell you everything you need to know about organising your child’s christening.
- Pick a venue
The first step in any christening preparation is choosing a venue. For many, this choice will be easy. Churchgoing families can opt to have a christening at the church they attend. Simply ask the reverend for details after a service, and they’ll most likely be able to arrange one for you.
If you’re not a practicing Christian, you can still request a christening at your local church. It varies from vicar to vicar, but in most cases they will happily agree to hold one for you. It’s not always a requirement, but it might help to turn up for a few services before asking. The Church of England’s A Church Near You online tool can help you find your local church, complete with venue information and contact details.
Once you’ve found a church for the ceremony, it’s time to move onto the christening reception. If you’re keeping your christening low key, you might want to hold yours at home. But if you want to really celebrate, there is a huge variety of venues around the country which are available for private hire. Sandon Hall’s function rooms in Staffordshire, for example, are versatile and dignified, while Canvas Events has a number of trendy themed venues available for hire if you want something a little more modern.
- Choose an outfit
When the venues are sorted, you’ll need to purchase a christening gown for your child. Traditional gowns have become as important to christening ceremonies as fonts and godparents, and finding one should be fairly straightforward. Make sure you choose one that brings out your baby’s personality without deviating too far from the traditional gown look.
- Remember your baby will grow. As many new parents learn the hard way, babies grow rapidly, particularly in their first 24 months. If your christening is scheduled for six months’ time, a gown that fits today will be far too small when you need it.
- Ask your parents if they saved your gown. Wearing a christening gown that has been passed down through the family is a popular tradition, so before you buy one, check if your family saved yours or another relative’s.
- Don’t be afraid to get creative. Some mothers opt to convert material from their wedding dresses into christening gowns for their children—mostly with the help of specialists, of course. This, or a similarly creative approach, will help make your christening stand out.
- Choose the godparents
They say you can’t choose your family, but in this case you can. Aside from the parents, the reverend and the baby, there are some other people who are essential to a christening: the godparents. In religious families, they often play a role in guiding your child’s journey through religion, but in most cases the role is purely symbolic. Godparents may have no legal responsibility, but you shouldn’t take choosing them lightly. Your chosen godparents need to be people you’ll still know and love in decades’ time.
Traditionally, children have at least three godparents. For a girl, it’s often two godmothers and one godfather. For a boy it’s two godfathers and one godmother. However, these rules have been relaxed over time, and ceremonies can now include any number of godparents of any gender.
- Arrange the afterparty
When you have your godparents, outfit and venues chosen, all you have left to do is arrange the afterparty. Here are several things to keep in mind.
- Book a professional photographer. Hiring a photographer is a great way to make sure you keep the memories of the day without having to be distracted by taking your own photos.
- Hire some entertainment. A family-friendly band or DJ can help turn a christening celebration into a real party. If other children will be attending, a children’s entertainer could keep them happy.
- Consider choosing a theme. It’s far from essential, but giving your christening party a theme is another way to make it stand out. If you’re religious, a Christian theme could be appropriate. Floral and seasonal themes also work well, as does more outlandish decoration like aquatic or fairytale themes.
With these handy tips, you should have no problem planning and arranging the christening your child deserves.