How To Plan A Christening: A Simple Guide

Wondering how to plan a christening for a day that’s full of happy and meaningful memories to cherish? This blog is here to help. 

The Set Up

Planning a christening requires a surprising amount of attention to detail. From the parish venue to the vicar and all the ceremonial aspects in between (the music, reading selection, catering, photography, the guest list, choice for the godparent roles, and purchasing the christening gown just to name a few!) 

We’ve done the hard work for you and created a christening checklist on how to organise a christening with minimal stress. After all, you want to spend the day as parent, not an event planner.

The Tone for the Christening

What sort of christening speaks to your family style? A christening can be as elaborate in style as a mini-wedding ceremony or as down-to-earth as an informal gathering and afternoon tea for close friends and family. Planning a christening means having a clear vision so you don’t get sidetracked. The desired tone for your ceremony determines the style of the christening and, as well as helping you, also gives you your guests information about expectations, such as the dress code, mood and meaning of the proceedings!

The tone will also remind guests that an infant christening is about your faith and establishing and recognising the special role of godparents to your family and a significant bond to the child.

Choosing the Godparent(s) of Your Child/ren

Carefully plan who the godparent(s) of your child or children will be by creating an attributes list of must-haves and must-not-haves. Determine what sort of person is fit and best placed to care for your children, either in a spiritual guidance capacity or, Heaven forbid, something should happen to you in a care provider role. For whatever reason, this may or may not be your bestie in life, and it may or may not be your parents.

Parents laughing whilst holding baby outdoors.

Approach the parish vicar / minister / priest you choose and meet to discuss the ceremonial expectations for you as parents and for the person(s) to become godparent(s). There may be some pre-instruction or learning to do with your godparent(s) and the church before being able to book or confirm the christening ceremony.

Initial Preparations: How to organise a christening

Choose the date and venue, and confirm participant availability for the ceremony. Where do you want to have your baby christened? Do you have a favourite church or vicar within your parish, perhaps one that you are a member of? You might also have a choice of the vicar / minister / priest you wish to lead in the christening event. Meet with them to discuss your options, availability, and any requirements. Also, discuss any ideas you have for the ceremony and get confirmation these will be appropriate. You might wish to organise them into the reception proceedings if they aren’t.

Church set in a field surrounded by daffodils.

Set a budget because christenings can be as elaborate as you want them to be. There is no limit to what you can have, but a budget will keep you grounded and prevent costs from becoming exorbitant. You can always call in favours and beg your besties to help you set up and pack down.

Christening Ceremony Guest List and Invitations

Compile your guest list, send invitations early, and include RSVP instructions. Making the guestlist can be stressful if you are limited to a number (which most of us are). Sometimes, some of the guests are pre-determined and out of our hands, like your strange uncle! Check-in with extended family to check everyone has been included, and send your tangible invitations or a digital invitations with plenty of time to RSVP. 

Christening Ceremony Details

Coordinate with the church, plan logistics, and discuss any special rituals or readings you might want to include. Planning a christening means taking some time to envision how you want the celebration to go, particular readings, hymns, if the church is putting on a tea afterwards, etc. Will you have ushers so that you can greet guests and then have time to mentally prepare for your participation when the service begins? A good idea is to assign / delegate any of the responsibilities you don’t personally have to oversee, such as seating arrangements. 

Attire and Accessories

Select the christening attire, advise attendees on the dress code, and plan additional accessories. Buy or commission the christening outfit early enough to avoid any last-minute collection or preparation issues. If using a family heirloom, make sure it fits the child and is cleaned and ironed or steamed before the day. Do you want wearable flowers for your baby or the christening party? Don’t forget to source what’s in season. 

Garden party with formal tables, bunting and fairy lights.

Reception Planning

Plan a post-ceremony reception, select catering, and arrange entertainment. Some church venues may offer a reception room and tearoom facilities with packages available for you to choose from. Or, you may want to book a favourite restaurant or local hotel with an event room for hire. Hotels are often a good choice if they have an event planner/host, or they might have a list of vendors they often work with for christening events so think broadly around the local area, and check reviews online. It can be helpful to google the event name adding ‘+ christening’ to see relevant reviews. 

Christening Reception Decorations and Themes

Choose a theme, coordinate decorations, and ensure venue alignment. You may choose to have a theme and themed decorations for your reception. Some popular examples are gendered colour schemes, such as pink and blue, or religious-themed colours, such as white and gold or purple. Themes may centre around celestial bodies, the seasons and the time of the year. Spring, youth and innocence, generic religious symbolism, such as crosses lambs, and doves; nature, such as water, animal and garden motifs are popular.

Photography and Videography

Happy baby being bathed.

Hire professionals, provide a shot list, and communicate documentation preferences. One step some people miss when they search for how to organise a christening is spending a little extra or planning for photography and recording. These special moments and memories are essential and should not be forgotten. Set aside some budget for a professional, or if you are lucky to know a photography enthusiast, you can ask them to come along and flex their skills at the christening events. You can offer glowing recommendations and showcase their work on social media afterwards too. 

Gifts and Keepsakes

Consider gifts for key individuals, plan keepsakes, and designate a gift area. Little party favours as well as a promise of shared photos after the ceremony can be all it takes to make attendees feel special on the day, especially when you may not be able to physically spend a lot of time with them as you mix and mingle.

You could set up a fun photo booth or arrange for each person to have a photo with you and your family to be shared with them later. That and the free food should be enough.

Happy children playing with coloured streamers outside.

Set up a gift table with balloons, twinkly lights, or your choice of decorations to put the individual gift bags or favours on, a book register, a keepsake photo or a memento tree to add a message for baby to cherish in the years to come.

Logistics and Timeline

Develop a detailed event timeline, coordinate with vendors, and have contingency plans. Don’t underestimate the checklist. A printed, one-stop-shop of information will serve you well and give you peace of mind that you are prepared for anything. List out the vendors and reconfirm 48 hours before the day so you can sleep peacefully. 

Post-event Thank Yous

Plan and send thank-you notes, share event photos, and express gratitude. It’s the little touch of a hand-written thank-you and a photo of individuals with you and the baby that will make this a special memory for each person who attended the christening celebrations. Your gratitude will shine through and strengthen the ties with your guests, be they family or friends.

Ready to Christen in confidence? 

We hope you now feel you can take this christening checklist and make your child’s christening day a memorable and enjoyable one with a solid plan. Think about the finer details such as themes, christening outfits, and who you will bless with godparent status as well as the nitty-gritty of event planning, like setting a clear budget, working through logistics, and organising venues and vendors.

Don’t let fund collection get in the way of your perfect day. Collecting monetary contributions is great for you and for baby. Take a look at why a Collection Pot is perfect for a new baby here! 

It’s free and easy to collect funds, so get started today!

Elaine Keep

Elaine Keep is an accomplished content writer with over 15 years of experience in the field of marketing and content creation for many leading brands, where she shares her passion for research and helping others through her articles. You can also find her in 'mum mode', walking in the countryside or enjoying the dreamy combo of a new non-fiction book with a tea and chocolate bar to hand.

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