God has blessed you with a precious new life. You are delighted, awestruck at the miracle you witness. You have fallen instantly in love with your little angel from heaven. You are grateful to God for the safe delivery. Now it is time to plan for your baby’s baptism.
A beautiful religious event–rich in spiritual tradition–deserves thoughtful planning. Here are some helpful tips, both spiritual and practical, to plan a memorable and sacred event:
1. Your newborn is now a member of a family which was begun by your and your spouse’s ancestors. Your child has inherited an immediate family of grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, etc. When you begin planning for the Baptism of your child, be certain to select a date where most of the immediate family and significant family members can attend. Contact them before writing the invitations. Do your best to include people who will be part of your child’s life throughout the years.
2. Speak with your pastor. Be understanding of his schedule and the procedures in place at your parish. Keep in mind that most parishes now have a common date for infant baptisms. Be considerate and thoughtful if you feel a need to request an alternate date.
3. Do not assume you are able to use the Church hall for your reception. Often parish halls are booked well in advance for other church and community activities. Make certain the hall is available.
4. If the Church hall is not available, reserve another venue in a timely manner. Some venues require up to 6 weeks for reservations.
5. When compiling your guest list, be certain the location for the party can accommodate the number of people you plan to invite.
6. Choose Baptismal invitations with a spiritual/religious theme. The event, is, after all, a formal introduction into the Christian community.
7. Write and mail the invitations about eight weeks prior to the Baptism.
8. It may not seem obvious, but have another family member double-check your guest list. It might be hurtful to family members if some of them have been unintentionally overlooked.
9. Speak with the Godparents. They need to be clear what you will expect of them on that day. Make it clear who is to prepare the baby’s Christening outfit. In some traditions, the Godmother provides the baby’s Baptismal outfit. While in other families, a family heirloom outfit is always part of the family tradition for baptisms.
10. Most important of all: Your baby’s baptism is a formal occasion for you and your spouse to “formally” thank the Lord for your baby’s safe arrival. Be reverent. Show your gratitude to God for this great gift.
Now it is time to consider what your tender baby will wear on this first important spiritual day in his or her life.
A baptismal outfit represents something much more than beauty, fashion, or having the child look adorable. What a baby wears for his or her baptism represents purity and innocence. Logically, this means the color of the garment selected should be white to reflect these qualities. The parish community will provide a ceremonial garment to place over the outfit for the religious ceremony.
Take into consideration also that anointing with chrism holy oil will be part of the ceremony. Be certain that the outfit lends itself to opening and closing easily for the Godmother when the priest does the anointing.
You will likely select a lovely lace dress for your little girl, but what are the choices for your son? Traditional, heirloom outfits are most generally lace and in the form of a dress. Many infant boys have been baptized in gowns. This is a centuries’ old tradition.
However, many parents may want to select more masculine outfits for boys–such as tiny baby tuxedos or formal suits. For his Baptism, parents may select adorable one-piece rompers or coveralls. These outfits may be embroidered with symbols appropriate to the celebration.
Look for an outfit that fits loosely for the baby’s comfort. Tight elastic arms, leg bands or waistbands can cause crankiness in a baby who is uncomfortable.
Consider the weather when choosing an outfit. Little bodies cannot regulate temperatures as efficiently as adult bodies can. Comfortable outfits can be made of cotton, linen, satin, as well as in lace and silk. If it is fall or winter, common sense requires adding a tiny cardigan sweater to the baby’s outfit.
And, remember, to dress your baby with a comfortable bodysuit, slip or camisole under the Christening garment. This will prevent chaffing of your little one’s tender skin and help the diaper stay in place.
Add the accessories, and now your new little angel is prepared to welcome Christ and for the community of believers to welcome him or her.