A christening or baptism party takes place on the same day as the religious sacrament or service. Parties give guests the opportunity to become acquainted with the new baby as well as provide refreshments to attendees. Traditionally, parents hold christening parties at their home. However, depending on the guest list and weather, possible party locations include the local park or a hall. Despite familiar guests and an informal setting, certain etiquette guidelines prevail.
Guests lists include only relatives and close friends. Casual acquaintances and coworkers typically do not attend a christening or christening party. A large guest list may contradict the intimacy of the event, or hosting large numbers may simply overwhelm new parents. Relax restrictions on guest ages, as the party occurs early in the afternoon, or in the latter half of the morning.
Parents dress in church attire, though for the occasion they may want to dress more formally. Choose a suit for the father. The mother may complete her outfit with a hat, or if she generally wears trousers to church, a dress. According to Grace Fox, author of "Everyday Etiquette," "Guests attending the baptism and party afterward should also wear clothes appropriate for church ceremonies or a dressy party."
Traditionally, both male and female babies wear christening gowns for the sacrament, many of which are family heirlooms. According to BabyWorld.co.uk, "In the past, boys as well as girls would be clad in flowing dresses for their baptism, but these days many parents feel they'd rather have their little boy in something like a silk sailor suit or a white all-in-one." To preserve a family heirloom, reserve photo opportunities for the church or chapel. Change the baby into something comfortable for the party.
Parishes conduct christening ceremonies during regular church services. Therefore, anyone may attend a christening. Even if some guests regularly attend the church, notify them to ensure they attend the correct service time. Extend an invitation to the party at that time. For other guests, mail an invitation. Styles range from formal printed cards to personal handwritten notes. Include the date and time of both the service and the party. Furnish addresses for first-time church visitors or party guests. For the smallest parties, phone calls suffice.
No stringent rules exist for christening gifts. Traditionally, gifts chosen should last well beyond infancy. A Bible educates an infant well into adulthood. A child passes infant jewellery and other keepsakes to their own children. A savings bond matures when the baby attends college. Parents also welcome gifts that meet the baby's current needs, such as a gift token or an outfit. Regardless of the gift choice, select a card relating to christenings or baptisms. Religious gift shops, secular card shops and pharmacies with stationery departments carry them.
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