How to Organize a Successful Baptism Event
– Step 1: Follow our checklist to organize a baptism
– Step 2: Choose the type of baptism
– Step 3: Choose the place of celebration
– Step 4: Choose a theme
– Step 5: Send the christening invitations
– Step 6: Choose the decoration
– Step 7: Plan the entertainment for the ceremony and the meal
– Step 8: Choose the gifts
– Step 9: Prepare the meal
Civil or religious, for an infant, a child, or an adult, organizing a baptism is not so complicated… with a checklist and a few tips!
Discover how to make this event an unforgettable moment to accompany the baptized throughout their life.
1. Follow our checklist to organize a baptism
Prepare the ceremony
– Depending on the type of baptism, contact the parish or the town hall and submit a file.
– Designate a godfather and a godmother you trust.
– Set the date: avoid vacation periods to ensure the presence of your loved ones, and notify them as soon as possible.
– Establish the guest list.
– Prepare and send the invitations one or two months before the christening.
– Choose the outfits for the baptized and you.
Prepare the reception
– Set a budget.
– Choose the venue.
– If you book services (photographer, reception hall, restaurant, caterer…), do so at least three months in advance. The most requested ones can have a one-year waiting period.
– Choose a theme.
– Choose the decoration.
– Plan the entertainment.
– Choose the gifts.
– Define the menu. If you are using a caterer, place your order a month before.
– Follow up with guests who have not responded: you will need their exact number for the menu.
– Prepare a seating plan.
– One week before the christening, go shopping.
– The day before the christening, check the lists, decorate, cook, and prepare everything that can be prepared.
Please note: waiting and reservation times can triple depending on the region, the service, and the season. If you have specific wishes, find out in advance!
After the baptism
– Once the baptism is over, send thank you cards, possibly with a photo of the baptized person, to thank the participants.
2. Choose the type of baptism
Religious baptism is practiced in most religions of the world. The purpose is to welcome a child or adult into a religious community. Some include the appointment of a godparent to guide the child alongside the parents.
If religious baptism is the most common, there is a civil baptism, allowing to designate one or several godfather (s) and godmother (s) for a child. It is performed at the town hall but has no legal value or pre-established ceremonial and is not recorded in the civil registry. If you wish to organize a civil baptism, please contact your town hall to find out the details.
Good to know: unless they are designated as guardians by will or a declaration before a notary, the godparents only make a moral commitment.
In both cases, baptisms are usually held on specific dates: consult your parish or city hall to find out about them and register the future baptized person.
3. Choose the place of celebration
Your budget and the place of celebration depend on the guest list. Unlike weddings, baptisms are generally celebrated in small groups: there is no need to think too big if you prefer to limit expenses.
Choose the place according to the guest list or adjust the guest list according to the place: change the direction according to your priority need!
At home or a friend’s house
– If you’re throwing a baby’s christening, it’s best to do it at home. You will be able to change him/her and put him/her to bed more easily.
– If you are on a tight budget, it is also better to organize the christening at home: you will better control the costs and avoid renting a hall.
In a restaurant
This is the simplest and least flexible solution: organizing a christening in a restaurant requires little effort but is more expensive and obliges you to adapt to time or decoration requirements.
– You will have to decide in advance on a menu and a price. In case of food allergies or intolerances of a guest, remember to inform the kitchen.
– Make reservations well in advance!
In a rental room
– If you choose to rent a reception hall, choose the place and book well in advance to avoid unpleasant surprises, both in price and availability.
– Ask about the obligation of rental insurance.
– Check the presence of essential equipment or organize its transportation: tables, chairs, dishes…
– Depending on the season, check if there is heating or air conditioning.
– Prefer a room near a parking lot.
– Specify the rental hours.
Good to know: choose a date in the off-peak season for tight budgets. You will get better rental rates and a wider choice of rooms.
4. Choose a theme
The theme is not mandatory to organize a baptism: it depends on the age and the desires of the baptized, the budget, the type of baptism, etc.
– For a religious christening, the themes are generally faith-oriented or even a simple colour theme.
– In the case of a civil christening, anything is possible: colours, animals, cartoon characters for the little ones, etc.
5. Send the invitations for the christening
Once the theme is determined, choose or create your invitations. You can use a printer, personalize them and order online or print them yourself.
– Take into account their price when choosing, depending on the number of invitations to send.
– Include a photo of the first and last name of the baptized person.
– Indicate the date, the coordinates of the place of ceremony and reception, with the schedule.
– Specify your exact contact information and the desired response time.
6. Choose the decoration
According to the chosen theme (or lack thereof), determine the decoration: choose and buy the different elements. The menu, the place cards, or the thank-you notes can be ordered or made simultaneously as the invitations, using the same graphics.
– Tablecloths, napkins, dishes…
– Place cards
– Balloons, ribbons…
– Thank you
7. Plan the entertainment for the ceremony and the meal
During the ceremony
– In principle, it is possible to personalize the ceremony with music: think about choosing it beforehand, in collaboration with the persons in charge (religious or civil).
– Depending on the type of religious ceremony, you may have to prepare a mass booklet, with texts and songs… Make sure you discuss this at the beginning of the meetings with the religious leader.
During the meal
If you wish, plan games or slide shows during the meal.
Essential: plan for a photographer, either professional or designated. Suppose you hire a professional photographer; remember to book three months in advance or even longer in high season.
8. Choose the gifts
– For the children, it is best to have a gift list from which the guests can choose. Remember to provide this list to your guests well in advance.
– Traditional religious gifts include a medal or goblet from the godparents.
– Consider personalizing the gift packages if you have the time and inclination.
9. Prepare the meal
There is no standard menu for christenings; establish it according to your tastes and budget.
– If you choose to cook yourself, opt for dishes prepared in advance.
– Order the cake or the “pièce montée” at least one week in advance.
– Plan for drinks.
– Don’t forget the sugared almonds! – For more than 15 people, it is better to use a caterer.
Tip: get help from family and friends if you are organizing the christening at home or cooking.