How to Plan an Italian Christening & Baptism

Updated February 21, 2017

Christening and baptism is an important rite of passage for a young child or infant. In Italian tradition, christening is an extra special time that carries with it celebration for close family and friends. If you have to plan for an upcoming Italian christening or baptism, learn the simple steps to making this special day memorable for the whole family, including the guest of honour.

Set a date for your christening. Typically in Italian tradition, baptism is done soon after birth, so if you are trying to keep in this tradition, you will want to plan the party at least before the child turns a year old. Keep in mind to set the date far enough in advance to allow for planning; give yourself at least two months ahead of time.

Write down a guest list, including grandparents, close cousins, aunts and uncles, along with close friends of the child's parents. Also at this time, find out who will be the godparents for the ceremony; if they haven't been decided, then pick them at this time.

Call local churches in your area. Typically for Italian baptism you'll want to find a Roman Catholic church and book one for the date, or at least close to the date, you set for your baptism. Many churches will want a deposit or payment at this point, too, so expect to pay that; prices vary with each church.

Decide where you want to have the reception after the ceremony. Italian baptisms typically have big parties after these ceremonies that are held in the parents' home. If you have many people attending and fear your home won't be big enough, you can opt to rent a banquet hall.

Send out invitations with the location and date of the ceremony, the reception to follow, parents' and child's names, along with the names of the chosen godparents. You want to give guests at least a month's time prior to the baptism so that they have time to get gifts and RSVP.

Decide what kind of food you will serve guests at the reception. The Italian tradition at a baptism is to serve homemade pastries and desserts, along with wine to complement them. It's considered bad luck in Italian tradition to purchase food for the baptism. Some ideas are almonds glazed with sugar, lady fingers, tiramisu and other decadent Italian treats.

Find a baptism dress for the little one being baptised. You can find traditional long dresses of white or off- white linen at most children's stores and Christian stores. Remember that boys and girls alike wear these long dresses in Italian tradition.

Purchase any baptism decorations you may want to decorate your home with. You can get a banner, speciality napkins and church-themed decor at your local party supplies store.

Bake pastries and chill wine, if needed, the night before your baptism is set, so that food will be fresh and not stale when you serve it the next day. Prepare your home by cleaning it up nicely and setting up some sort of music, such as a large stereo, for guests to enjoy. Set up any decorations you purchased as well, to save time the next day. Also set out a few tables to place food, wine and gifts on.

Assign someone at the event to take pictures or provide guests with disposable cameras to document this event. If you want to spend the extra money, you can even hire a photographer.

Things You'll Need

  • Guest list
  • Deposit or payment (for the church)
  • Invitations
  • Italian pastries
  • Baptism dress
  • Decorations
  • Tables
  • Stereo
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About the Author

Amy Davidson is a graduate from the University of Florida in Gainesville, with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She also writes for local papers around Gainesville doing articles on local events and news.