In the Catholic Church, baptism is the first of seven Holy sacraments. Without becoming baptized, a person cannot access the rest of the sacraments.
If you have a baptism ceremony in your near future, it is important to know what is expected of you, your family, and your guests.
This includes when and how to begin your planning, what to wear, and whether or not gifts are expected.
Read on to find out more about baptism ceremony etiquette!
When and How to Plan a Baptism Ceremony
Because members of the church are involved in the baptism ceremony, it is imperative that you get into contact with your church as soon as possible. Many families begin planning for a baptism ceremony in the late stages of pregnancy or adoption to give the church plenty of time to make preparations.
When inquiring about available dates, let your church know the name of the baby and parents as well as the names of the chosen godparents. Give them an estimate of how many guests will be in attendance.
Once you have established a date and time (and a maximum number of guests, if applicable), send out your baptism invites.
(It should be noted that if you receive a baptism invite, you should RSVP quickly. This is a courteous thing to do and gives the host parents more time to prepare for a reception.)
What to Wear to a Baptism Ceremony
Some churches require a specific type or color of clothing for a baptism ceremony. If you’re not sure if yours does or not, all you need to do is ask your church officials!
More often than not, your standard Sunday clothes will do. This means conservative cuts and lengths, muted patterns and colors, and clean, ironed pieces. This will often apply to both the host parents and the guests.
The baby who is getting baptized is expected to wear white as a symbol of purity. Both boys and girls often wear white gowns made of cotton or satin. Some families have baptism gowns that have been passed down from generation to generation.
Because babies can be on the messy side, it’s best to change them into the baptism gown shortly before the ceremony begins and change them out of it as soon as the ceremony has finished.
Gifts are not a requirement of attending a baptism, especially if you have recently given the host family gifts at a baby shower. However, if you do decide to give a baptism gift, consider something that will hold meaning for the rest of the child’s life. It is a baptism tradition to give gifts of silver and many people give the baptized child silver spoons, cups, or picture frames.
It is expected that the host parents will give a gift to the godparents of their child. It is also expected that the host parents will give the church a monetary donation in thanks. (Guests, too, should consider bringing a small donation to put in the collection basket.)
Don’t Get Caught Up in the Details
The baptism ceremony is meant to be a moving and religious experience. Don’t get caught up in the stress and details of planning a perfect reception!
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