How to host a baby christening at home

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Your child is taking the first step in a lifelong journey of faith. A christening or baptism ceremony, a water-based ritual in which there is a symbolic welcome into the church, takes place at the hands of clergy before loved ones. Traditionally, christenings were held in churches as part of the Sunday mass.

In today's less formal society, families are christening in homes or holding naming ceremonies or baby welcome parties. Show your strong faith in God and the love of your child by planning a special christening day in the comfort of your home.

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Check with your priest or clergy to make sure he or she is available to perform the christening at your home on the date you prefer.

Check with the godparents, if you have chosen them, to see if they are available to attend. If they are not available, find proxies or stand-ins for the ceremony.

Invite friends and family to the ceremony by sending formal invitations through the mail.

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Set up an area suitable for the ceremony that includes a source of water, either a font of holy water that can be poured or a pool for submersion, as well as an altar or stage with a table for necessary books, cloths and candles that the clergy will bring.

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Arrange seating for spectators to watch.

Bring the baby from a private room, dressed in his or her special christening dress, to the ceremony once guests are seated.

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Follow the ceremony with celebratory food. Serve light hors d'oeurves, lunch or dinner and follow with dessert that includes a baptismal cake. Request a blessing of the meal by the clergy.

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Open gifts on behalf of the newly christened baby before your guests leave.

Provide the clergy with a check to be donated to the church and a card thanking him or her for coming to your home.