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Baby Christening Etiquette

Updated February 21, 2017

A baby's christening day, often referred to as her baptism, is one of the most important day's in a Christian child's life. It should be carefully planned and follow the proper rules of etiquette in order to be perfect.

Pre-planning Etiquette

Contact any close friends or relatives, particularly those from out of town, who you want in attendance before you schedule the christening date. Try your best to accommodate everyone's schedule so that no one feels left out and no one's feelings are hurt.

Choose the baby's godparents wisely. Aim to ask the prospective godparents to take on this role as soon as possible before the ceremony day. It's important that they have ample time to decide whether or not they will accept this responsibility.

The last pre-planning step is to pick out christening day invitations. These invitations should be either white or off-white in colour. They often feature a cross, bible or other religious symbol on them in addition to the baptism ceremony details. They should be sent out several weeks before the ceremony to give guests time to free their calendars.

Christening Ceremony Etiquette

Arrive early for christenings, which typically take place in a church and are performed by a priest or minister. Give yourself enough time to dress the baby in his christening gown before the ceremony starts. The gown should be white or off-white in colour, and is generally frilly and lacy in nature. You and your guests should be dressed in business casual to business attire. Along with other prayers, the customary words, "I baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" are pronounced as water is poured or sprinkled over your baby. Some churches may even immerse your baby in water instead. This is also acceptable.

Post-Ceremony Etiquette

Know that it's OK--and customary--to take pictures of the parents, godparents and baby with the priest or minister at the church after the ceremony. Other friends or family may want to be in the pictures as well; this is also appropriate. A monetary donation should be given to the priest or minister, and he should be invited to the christening party after the christening is over. It's acceptable to serve cake and coffee in the church hall or at your home, or have a full meal for everyone. Either way, guests will likely give your child presents such as a cross or bible. You should send a personalised thank-you note to each guest shortly after the christening day.

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About the Author

Angela James graduated in 2000 with a degree in Political Science and Economics. Afterwards James worked as an Executive Assistant at a local bank where she was a writer and co-editor of the company employee newsletter. In 2003, she left the bank after the birth of her first child and became a freelance writer in 2008.