PLANNING A CHRISTENING OR BAPTISM, CHECK OUT OUR TIPS AND ADVICE BELOW:

What is the purpose of a Christening?
A Christening is also referred to as a Baptism and it is the way Christians welcome new members into their church.  The baby's parents and Godparents make the promise of personal commitment to the church on the baby's behalf.

The parents and Godparents affirm to the church they will raise the child in a Christian home, partake in worship regularly and that the child will confirm for itself the promises of commitment that were made on his or her behalf at the christening when it is older.

Why have a christening?
If you would like your child to be raised as a Christian, a Christening is the first initiation into the faith.

Who can be a godparent?
Traditionally, Godparents were chosen because of their own strong Christian beliefs and were themselves christened and confirmed.  This is still preferred in the eyes of the church but in reality, it is far more common these days to choose Godparents because they are relatives or close friends of the baby's parents.
Check with the vicar as some vicars want proof that your chosen godparents have been christened themselves.
Choose your child's godparents carefully.  If you are choosing friends, consider what influence they will have or what role they will play in your child's life and if they will be supportive.
Traditionally girls have two godmothers and one godfather and boys have two godfathers and one godmother, but it is entirely up to you how many you choose.

The Gown
Both boys and girls wear a long christening gown, which is traditionally white or cream.  If you don't have a family christening gown that has been passed down you can easily buy one new.  Large department stores sell them and there are many websites that specialise in christening appropriate garments.

The Invitations
Make sure these contain information on both the church and reception and clear start and finish times.
CocoCards has a large range of invitations and we can easily adapt any if our designs for a christening, we also can provide matching thankyou cards for any of our designs, perfect to show off a photo of your daughter or son in their christening gown.
If you do not see the matching card just contact us.

Photography
To avoid causing offence, check the church policy on stills photography and video filming. Most vicars are happy to pose for family photographs after the service. Some are prepared for video footage to be shot during the ceremony.

The ceremony
The christening ceremony itself takes place in the church.  You can choose to have your christening as part of regular Sunday service or you can opt for a private christening ceremony.
Check well ahead with the vicar, you may have to see him beforehand to finalise arrangements.
Donate well at the service as churches will not usually ask for a fee but need donations to survive.
Ask everybody to turn up at least 10 minutes before the service if the christening is being held especially for you rather than as part of a main service. Yours may not be the only event being held at the church that day and the vicar will need to keep to schedule.
Everyone will gather around the font, with the parents and godparents at the front. A service sheet will be handed round, with the words the godparents need to say usually printed in bold. The whole christening should only take 20-30 minutes.

The reception
Food options
•    Silver service /plated service
•    Sit down buffet
•    Fork buffet
•    High tea/finger buffet
•    Afternoon tea
•    Barbecue

Drink options
Drinks depend on the type of service and your budget and how inebriated you want everyone to get! Plan wisely as drink can up your budget immensely especially if you an open bar!
Reception drink – as guests arrive they should be greeted with a drink, usually champagne, orange juice or bucks fizz.

Drinks during meal – this depends on the type of food you are serving.
Toast drink – remember to keep some champagne for the cutting of the christening cake or for a toast after any speeches


Tips on how to throw a stylish christening.

The Invites
Send out beautiful stylish CocoCards invitations well before the event. Include a dress code, smart casual or formal!! The bigger the outfit the more special the occasion.

Dress
A traditional christening gown for your child. A knee length dress with matching coat for the mother, just think wedding style. A smart suit for the father – not his work one.
Have some beautiful muslins to protect you and your child from any baby goo.
See www.childrensalon.co.uk for beautiful gowns.
See www.lulasapphire.com for their beautiful polka dot burpie cloths.

Venue
Keep it simple and elegant, marquee on your lawn, hotel etc.
Make sure everything is coordinated and elegant, no paper plates or banners, beautiful white linen and white china works well.

Food
Either have the celebration at a venue or hire waiters, you want to be with your guests not serving them. If you are on a budget, like most of us, give friends and family specific jobs, so you share the load and can all enjoy the celebration.

Entertainment
Follow the rules for a wedding, if it is a seated reception, make sure the people who sit next to each other, like each other.
Have an organized plan for the reception, so that the guests are always entertained, and don’t let it go on for too long.
You will probably have a lot of children attending, have goodie bags at the table to keep them entertained while you are eating, the other parents will appreciate this greatly. If your budget can stretch to it maybe an entertainer for the children.

Good luck and have fun, I christened all of my 3 children at the same time and it was the most wonderful experience, a beautiful ceremony with 2 excited children and a quiet baby, good food (a hot buffet), sunny day, lots of champagne and a great atmosphere.