The event to officially welcome me to the enchanting world of party-planning was my daughter’s Baptism. A baptism (also called Christening) is a celebration of life, faith, and culture wherein we welcome our children into the Christian faith. With your family and loved ones to celebrate the occasion, you’ll have a heartwarming and blessed sacrament.
Since there is plenty of planning to pull-off a Christening, it helps to have a checklist ready to help you oversee the tasks already accomplished and the ones which still need to be done.
Here are practical tips for a stress-free and joyous celebration:
Part 1: BAPTISM CEREMONY
1. Book your prospective church
It is best to contact the church and book the Christening at least a month before your scheduled date. I’m not exaggerating – most churches are fully booked for months!
Take note, as well, that there is a Catholic Archdiocese decree stating that churches can only baptize the residents within the boundary of their assigned area. So, for example, if you live in Barangay Sta. Teresita in Quezon City, then, your home church is the Sta. Teresita Parish. They have jurisdiction (sort of) over the residents within their scope.
However, my husband and I were really resolved on having Rigel’s baptism at Our Lady of Fatima Parish. We did some research and found a solution! Yey! If the parents prefer their child to be baptized somewhere else, they’ll have to secure an endorsement letter from their home parish. So, we went to our home parish and requested for an endorsement letter. The letter is like a permission from your parish and a recommendation for the recipient parish to honor your baptism request. There was a fee of P150 but I can’t confirm if the amount is consistent with all of the parishes.
2. Prepare the requirements
For Rigel’s Christening, the church required us to submit the following documents:
- Child’s birth certificate – they just asked for a photocopy and requested to see the original one.
- Parents’ marriage certificate – same as with the birth certificate, they only asked for a copy of the original document. If you’re not married, the parish priest may request an interview with you. Nevertheless, the church will not refuse to baptize your child, whatever circumstance you’re in.
- Endorsement letter – only if you won’t have the baptism in your home parish
- Payment – either a 50% down-payment or full payment of the total amount.
They also gave us a list of what we need to do and bring during the event:
- There is a brief seminar for the parents and godparents 30 minutes before the actual baptism.
- The baby’s clothing should be white, off white, cream or beige.
- Prepare a white hat, cap, or cloth to put on baby’s head
- Bring candles for the parents and godparents
3. Choose godparents
Have a talk with your partner and discuss who you’d want to be godparents to your little one. It’s not just about his/her ability to give aguinaldo to your child year after year. Consider factors such as your relationships to the godparents and their potential commitment to guiding you child. Ask yourselves what kind of example will he/she set for your baby. Hindi ‘yong kung ano ang kaya nyang i-regalo sa anak mo, besh! Wag ganern!
4. Send out invitations
Depending on your preference, you may send out printed invitations or simply inform guests of the event. In our case, we only created a Facebook event page where we uploaded the details of the occasion. It’s quite helpful because there is a built-in RSVP so the guests can easily notify you if they will be able to attend the event. Plus, it’s free kaya bawas sa gastos!
Make sure to send out the invitations or information at least three weeks in advance to ensure that the guests can arrange their schedules.
5. Consider family traditions
Baptism can be a special time to honor family traditions – though our families don’t really have a specific practice during baptisms. However, my sister-in-law’s Christening gown was still in great condition, so we decided to let Rigel wear it on her baptism ceremony. When she finally wore the gown, it melted my mommy heart. She looked absolutely adorable! Well, I wasn’t surprised kasi mana sya sakin. Pagbigyan mo na ko, besh!
6. Hire a photographer / videographer
This was something we failed to do. Ang dami naming dala – a DSLR, GoPro, digital camera, cellphones, but no one to actually take the pictures! We thought, since I’m the one holding the baby, my husband can get a few clicks. Well, I’m telling you based on our experience, you can’t pull it off. Your husband has a major role in your child’s baptism so his hands are full. Fortunately, our friend volunteered to be the photographer-of-the-day. Shout out to Sir Raffy!
Consider hiring a photographer and videographer to document the occasion. They really are a big factor in making the event more enjoyable for you because you won’t have to worry about “capturing the moment”. These people are professionals and they know what they’re doing.
Otherwise, you can just ask someone who will surely attend the event to take the pictures for you.
Part 2: THE RECEPTION
7. Book a venue
You should book a venue immediately after you’ve confirmed the schedule with the church. Event venues are usually booked for months, so if you want a decent place with good food, book a venue way ahead of time.
The place should be near the church so that your guests can easily attend the reception. Arrange for transportation or carpool, if necessary.
Consider your prospective number of guests when booking a venue – it should comfortably accommodate every person. You might want to visit the place so you’d know if it has room for a buffet table, desserts table, or maybe even a mini stage if you plan to have a program.
Most restaurants or function halls require a down payment, so make sure to have it ready so you won’t miss out on your ideal reception venue.
8. Finalize the menu
Choose what kind of food and how many dishes you’d want to be served during the event. Here are a few tips to help you decide:
- Having a buffet or a per-plate type of serving depends on you and your guests. There’s not much difference as the caterer will serve the same amount of food.
- If there are children invited, make sure to have options for them. Chicken fingers, spaghetti, burger, and fries are good choices.
- Consider if you want the event to be alcohol-free or maybe have just a few cocktails.
- Give your guests different food options such as meat, fish, vegetables, pasta, etc.
9. Decorate the venue
Rigel was 2 months old when she was baptized, which means I was still breastfeeding, still recovering from CS delivery, and always tired. Excited pa naman ako because we decided to have a pink and gold ballerina theme for our cutie little baby. As much as I want to, I knew I can’t pull off a DIY venue decoration. Hindi talaga keri, besh!
So, we hired our friends from All Things Beautiful PH to take charge of the desserts table and decorations, which turned out to be so adorable!
They made these personalized candles for the baptism ceremony.
They also assembled these cute giveaways for the godparents and guests.
10. Finalize everything
Confirm the details with the venue and all your suppliers at least 5 days before the event. This can help you make sure that you don’t encounter any last minute problems or cancellations. If such an unfortunate incident happens, you still have time to work around it. Here’s a quick list to help you finalize your plans:
- Church schedule and requirements
- Reception venue
- Cake and desserts
I know you’re excited for your little one’s baptism. I really hope these tips help you with your planning.
Good luck and have fun!