Many religions have a baptism ceremony to introduce their children into their church and community. Depending on your religious affiliation, this may be called a christening, a naming ceremony, a Christian baptism, or a dedication to the church. Perhaps the most commonly known ceremony is a baptism.
Planning a baby baptism is a relatively easy procedure, and can be done with the help of your church. Typically, there will be a designated person who will coach you on how to plan for the ceremony and help with the scheduling, as well as inform parents of the actual proceedings. Baptism dates tend to book early as churches may only perform a number of baptisms on a given day, so be sure to set a date with the church in advance and before you begin to plan.
- First, you should decide on a date, and contact your church. If they only have certain dates open for infant baptism, choose from one of those dates. The timing and date will depend on the birth of your child if you are baptizing a newborn. For older children, or even adults, the date can be a bit more flexible.
- Ask for any specifics your church may have in regards to ideas. They will let you know if your chosen date is available, any other details they need you to know, and any specific procedure you must follow. If you have been a long-standing member of your church, you may already be well aware of the guidelines.
- Decide on your child's godparents. Godparents are often thought of in non-religious terms as the people who will care for your children if something were to happen to you. In religious terms, godparents are meant to help guide your child in the ways of your religion. Choose people you feel are best suited for the job, and who are also people you trust and admire. Godparents should be close friends or family members.
- Depending on where you worship, you may have to attend baptism classes before the baptism. The content of these classes will depend on your religion, but generally cover the meaning of baptism, the history behind it, and what it means to your faith.
- Talk with your church about the use of video or still photography. Some churches will not allow one, or both. Some may allow photography with no flash, or tell you video cameras may only be used outside the church. This is good to know so you can let your guests know of the rules before the big day.
- Once you have the dates, and godparents chosen, as well as all of the details ironed out with your clergyman, let your friends and family know of the date and time for the ceremony. Phone calls will do if you are pressed for time, or written baptism invitations may be sent out if you have more time.
- Choose a dress or outfit for your newborn or child to be worn during the ceremony. The traditional color for a baptismal or christening gowns is white. These are often saved. At this point, you may also want to make arrangements for the gown to be preserved for you after the ceremony has taken place. Speciality stores who sell baptism clothing can provide you with other christening ideas, including a portrait of your baby in the dress or outfit.
- If it is your wish to have a gathering afterwards, plan something and make arrangements for catering. If you wish for the gathering to be less formal, you can ask guests to bring a dish to pass. Ask for help from your child's godparents if you are feeling overwhelmed.
- After the event, you can send out baptism announcements to those distant family members and casual acquaintances you did not invite to the baptism. These are also great keepsakes for friends or family who live too far away to attend the ceremony, or were not able to make it for any reason.
The sacrament of baptism is one of the most special and celebrated days for a baby. Be sure to consider an engraved cup with your baby's name and the baptism date for your child to have as a keepsake for years to come.