Guide to Planning the Christening of your Baby Boy or Girl

boy in christening gown from oli prik
A christening or naming ceremony is a special event in a baby's life, for both you and your child. The familial or religious significance of the ceremony makes the event very important, and you'll want to organize a christening you will look back on with fondness. While your child won't remember the details of the ceremony, the photos and stories you will share with them can be something they will cherish for years to come.

Planning a christening may seem simple, but there are many different steps that go into organizing a successful event. Overwhelmed by all the information out there? We've curated some of the best resources available to help you plan this special day, from the ceremony itself to the party you'll want to host in celebration of your child's baptism.

1: Getting Started: Choosing to Baptize, Naming & Initial Planning

Whether you've always known you were going to baptize your child, or you're just now making the decision to hold a christening, the first step in the planning process is to take the time and reflect on the importance of the ceremony and what it means to you and your family. The event can be either a more informal naming ceremony or a traditional religious ceremony that is both a serious and joyful occasion, and your family deserves to have an experience you can look back on with fond memories. Here are some resources to learn more about why a christening is such an important event, and how to get started with the planning process.

Features of a Traditional Christening

Benefits of Early Baptism

A Christian Name for Your Baby

Tips for Naming Your Baby

Christening Checklist

2: Selecting the Godparents

Godparents are an important part of a child's life, and a good godparent takes their role very seriously. Before you choose your baby's godparents, you should take a look at some of the articles we've put together on what a godparent's duties are, as well as strategies for choosing godparents among your friends. Remember to consult with your chosen godparents on the christening date before moving forward!

A Godparent's Duties

What Qualities Should You Look For in a Godparent?

A Guide to Choosing Godparents

Do My Child's Godparents Have to Be Religious?

The Role of Godparents in the Latino Community

3: Choosing a Church, Pastor & Party Venue

Many parents have a church they attend regularly and feel comfortable with that can be the venue for the actual ceremony. However, not everyone has a church and officiant they can call upon to perform the service—or alternatively, circumstances might make the preferred choice unavailable. After the ceremony, the party won't typically take place in the church itself—another venue is required, and sometimes a home is not the best place for a baptismal party. Need help? Take a look at these tips for planning out your venues!

Choosing Your Christening Location

Who can perform a Baptism?

11 Christening Reception Ideas

Tips for Hosting a Baptism Reception

4: The Guests: Who (and When) to Invite?

Christenings are often intimate affairs, not huge, over-the-top parties like weddings can be. There is a religious solemnity to the event, and you should invite people who are close to you and your child. When planning the baptism, follow these tips to ensure the most important people to your family will be able to attend.

Who to Invite to the Party

Planning for a Few Extra Guests

5: Memorable Invitations

A great invitation will be a great keepsake for your child's memory book—and something your guests will likely keep and treasure. For christenings that need to be kept on a lower budget, there are some great resources for designing your own invitations. If cost is less of a concern, you'll still need to pick out a design and choose the wording. Here are some resources for getting started.

How to Make Your Own Invitations in Word

The Step-By-Step Guide to Making Invitations on a Mac

The 5 Best Online Invitation Makers

6: The Baptism Focal Point: A Beautiful Christening Gown

The christening gown, which is worn by both boys and girls, is the most stunning article of clothing your baby will ever wear. A beautiful baptismal dress can be passed down to younger siblings, or even to the next generation one day. There are lots of options and styles available, and no matter what you choose, your baby will look beautiful—but make your decision carefully, as this is a garment that could become an heirloom one day. The christening robe is one of the most important aspects of the ceremony, but you'll also want to consider a few extras to complete the outfit, including a christening bonnet with a satin ribbon (in blue or pink typically). We've put together some tools for shopping and caring for a christening gown and accessories to make your choice a bit easier. Remember to store the dress in specially-designed garment bag for preservation and cleanliness.

What Does the Baby Wear? The Significance of the Christening Gown

Heirloom-Worthy Christening Gowns

Gowns & More: Bonnets, Accessories & the Whole Outfit

Construction of a Simple Christening Robe

7: Lunch, Breakfast, or Dinner? Catering the Christening Party

Once the ceremony is over, most people feel like celebrating. Whether you choose to host your christening party at home or at a special venue, the food is an important part of the festivities. Whether you are planning to hire a caterer or put out a spread yourself, here are some tips for planning the christening menu. Don't forget the christening cake!

Planning the Baptism Party Menu

A DIY Cookies-and-Milk Dessert Christening Party

A Beautiful Baby Girl Baptism Cake

8: Religious & Elegant Décor

A christening party is a fun and cheerful event, but the décor should be understated, in order to place emphasis on the significance of the ceremony. You can either hire an event planner to take care of the décor, or come up with the design yourself—what is appropriate depends on the other elements of the event. Take a look at some options for decorating a baptism party.

7 Surprising Reasons to Hire an Event Planner

Meaningful Religious Christening Décor

6 Easy DIY Paper Party Decoractions

DIY Party Decoration Ideas for a Beautiful Christening

How to Save Money on Party Decorations

Ideas for Baptism Party Favors Guests Will Love

9: Documenting the Special Day: Professional Photographs

Naturally, you'll want some photos of your baby's special day. Of course, you could always have a friend take some snapshots for you without having to pay for a photographer, but there are also some major benefits to hiring a professional. Having high-quality photos to look back on will be something your family will cherish, so think carefully about whether or not to hire a photographer. Here are some great tips for navigating the process.

Is it Worthwhile to Hire a Professional Photographer?

The Benefits of Professional Photography at a Christening

Questions to Ask Potential Baby Photographers

A Christening Photographer's Process

10: Other Important Items and Gifts

Aside from the christening gown, you'll typically need to supply a baptismal candle for the service. You can either buy this, or make one by hand (instructions below)! Many of your guests will want to bring a gift for the baby, and you will need to decide ahead of time if this is something you want. If not, be sure to make a note on the invitation. Read on for gift ideas and ettiquette!

Creating the Christening Candle

Appropriate Monetary Gifts Etiquette

A Godmother's Guide to Christening Gifts for a Child's Future