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Should a Christening be formal?

Should a Christening be formal?
Christenings or baptisms can be as formal or as informal as you like. Both are held in a church, the Church of England Christening is usually part of a normal Sunday service and a Catholic baptism is usually a separate ceremony. Both are a ceremony to welcome the baby into the religion and is the first step in bringing them up as a Christian. How formal it is will depend on your own personal preference. Last year Prince George was christened at a very small, private ceremony with only 22 guests. This month Swedish Royal, Princess Leonore, was baptised at a much larger ceremony of over 100 guests, illustrating that even in Royal circles a Christening can be as big or as small as you like. If you decide to have your baby christened you will need to meet the local vicar or priest to discuss the ceremony in advance. You may need to attend Church or discuss your faith with them. Godparents will be chosen early in the planning as you may need to give their names to the vicar and you will certainly need to organise a date for the christening when they can attend. When you have booked your ceremony at the church of your choice, you need to invite guests. These will normally only be close family and friends, so phone calls or emails may suffice. However sending out a formal Christening invitation about four weeks in advance can be useful for a number of reasons: 1. The style of invitation indicates the level of formality of the christening to the guests 2. You can provide full details of the times of both the ceremony and the reception afterwards 3. You can enclose any details about the ceremony, which can help guests who are unfamiliar with the service, such as requesting arrival 10 minutes early and expected length of the ceremony. 4. A formal invitation encourages a formal RSVP, to help with catering afterwards 5. An invitation is a nice memento of the event. The wording on an invitation will usually include a reference to “son” or “daughter” and the baby’s name. Although your baby’s christening may not be a formal event, guests would be expected to wear the clothes they would normally wear for a church service, hats are no longer expected, unless you are at a Royal Christening! The baby is traditionally dressed in white, although many parents are now opting for a white suit or dress rather than the family christening gown. Parents and Godparents should wear something “baby friendly” – ie that doesn’t show stains and washes well, in case of little accidents. Photographs tend to be quite informal, but several shots outside the church after the ceremony are a welcome addition to the family album. The reception is often at the home of the parents or grandparents or in a local hall. The food can be whatever you want and depends on the formality of the christening. Children would normally be invited as it is a ceremony for a child, it is shorter than a wedding and the reception tends to just be in the afternoon. Christening gifts are taken to the reception, but would normally be opened later. You should always send a thank you card afterwards.