Christenings, also known as baptisms, are a great way to bring the whole family together to celebrate a new arrival. We’ve prepared this handy checklist to make planning your child’s big day as easy as possible.

What happens at a Christening?

Christenings are held in a church and take place to welcome a baby into a church congregation. In a half-hour service, the parents and Godparents sprinkle holy water on the baby, making promises to bring the child up within the Christian faith.

Choosing godparents

When it comes to planning a Christening, first thing’s first, you’ll need to choose your child’s godparents. According to The Church of England, every child should have at least three godparents, two of the same sex and at least one of the opposite sex to your child.

Book the Christening service

You don’t have to be a regular churchgoer to get your child christened, but it is likely you’ll be required to attend a number of family services and a baptism preparation meeting after choosing your church. Most Christenings take place in the church local to where you live, or if you have special family ties with another church, you can speak to the vicar there.

Book the reception venue

Think about what sort of reception you’ll be holding after the ceremony and how many guests they’ll be. Will there be lots of younger children involved? If so, you may want to opt for a family-friendly venue rather than somewhere more formal. From afternoon teas to sit-down meals, it’s really all down to your preference and budget. Book the venue as soon as your Christening date has been confirmed, and don’t forget to think about catering if you’re hiring somewhere that doesn’t offer food and drinks.

Choosing a Christening gown or outfit

Choosing a Christening outfit is one of the most exciting and important parts of planning a Christening. The tradition is usually a unisex white or cream gown, one that both boys and girls can wear. You may already have a family heirloom in mind, but if not, it’s time to buy one. John Lewis have a range of gorgeous options for the big day that can be kept and treasured for generations to come.

If a gown isn’t really your thing, check out our recommendations for gorgeous dresses and cute three-piece suits, for an ultra-adorable alternative to traditional Christening wear.

Top tip: It may be worth having a second outfit at the ready, just in case of any accidents!

Christening cake

A traditional Christening cake is usually a fruit cake decorated with marzipan and soft white icing, but these days anything goes. It’s a chance to get creative – and super cute at the same time. Professional bakers get booked up months in advance so we recommend getting your cake order booked in after you’ve confirmed the church and venue.

Send out invites

Planning a Christening is a little bit like organising a wedding, it’s tradition to send out formal invitations to your guests. Remember to ask your guests to arrive twenty minutes before the service starts, and make sure you ask them to RSVP, so you know exactly how many people you’re catering for.

Book a photographer

A Christening is a hands-on experience for both parents, so if you don’t have a designated photographer in your Christening party, (i.e. Granny or Grandpa!) you might wish to book a photographer, to capture those special moments from the day. As with the church, venue and cake, this will need to be done as soon as you have your dates confirmed.

What is an appropriate Christening Gift?

It’s customary to give your child a gift on their Christening Day, and for guests to do the same too. From personalised blankets to silver keepsakes, teddies and photo frames, John Lewis has a stylish collection perfect for any little girl or boy.

Christening cards: who to address them to, and what to write

Christening presents should be accompanied by a heartfelt card – these cards are usually kept and given to the child when they’re older.

It’s up to you whether you’d prefer to address the card to your parents/family or the young baby or child being baptised. And when it comes to the words, that’s also up to you. You could opt for something more traditional from the bible, something a funny that will make them laugh in the years to come, or just something simple, i.e. “Heartfelt congratulations on this wonderful day! Wishing you a life full of laughter and love…”.

Here are three beautiful cards perfect for any baptism.

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