Baptism Etiquette and Protocol - Useful Pointers and Info

Are you seeking important information and pointers on baptism etiquette and protocol?

Baptisms are still very popular today, even with the diversity of religious beliefs in today's society. And baptisms are not just for the newborns anymore either. It is not unusual for an older teen or adult to make the decision to be baptized after religious study.

A baptism is simply a formal ceremony that brings the child (or adult) into the faith of their choosing. But with any ceremony, there is always some sort of etiquette attached to it. This article will give you some pointers on baptism etiquette.

Some Basic Baptism Etiquette

  • What to wear: For babies, you will have a choice of many beautiful baptism outfits. Usually a long dress style outfit with matching cap, blanket, and shoulder wrap is what you will find for most Christian ceremonies. For an older teen or adult, speak to the parish and ask for ideas. Usually a formal outfit of some kind, usually in white, will be appropriate. For guests of a baptism, following the idea of 'your Sunday best' will ensure you are dressed appropriately. Baptisms are usually formal events and your attire should reflect this.

  • Gifts: Although not a mandatory aspect of baptism etiquette, gifts have become a tradition at a baptism. Many gifts are of a religious nature, such as a first rosary, bible, or even a religious medal. To make a baptism gift more unique, add some sort of personalization, such as the person's name and date of the baptism. It is also common for the parents to provide a small gift for the chosen godparents.

  • Invitations: Sending out a baptism invitation, especially to a formal event, is a good idea. Include as much information as you can, such as a reception following the ceremony. If the church is one in a unique or remote location, including a small map with directions is a nice idea. Always ask for an RSVP, especially if you are holding a reception afterward.

  • Photos: It is always wise to check with your church before assuming you can take photographs. Some churches do not allow photos, or even flash photography inside. Getting permission ahead of time will ensure you are not disappointed at the actual ceremony. Even if your church does not allow photographs inside, they are usually quite happy to arrange for outside pictures to be taken. It is not necessary to hire a professional photographer, but certainly not unheard of if your budget allows.

  • Reception: It is uncommon to not hold some sort of reception after the baptism. How formal or big is not defined under baptism etiquette and entirely up to you. Your reception can be as simple as cake and tea at your home to a reserved room at a local restaurant. The amount of people you invite as well as your budget will help you determine how extravagant you want to be.

  • Cultural Customs: Many countries and cultures have specific things that they do for special events such as a baptism. In Mexico, for example, a traditional girl baptism gift is a silver medal of 'Our Lady of Guadalupe' and the godfather traditionally tosses coins outside the church for the kids to gather, while in Italy, they throw sugared almonds and the celebration lasts the entire day. It is always nice to research the baptism etiquette of other cultures, and this can help you pick out an appropriate gift for the baptism.

    Although baptisms are a formal ceremony, they are still a time for great joy and celebration. If you stick to the few rules of baptism etiquette if attending or hosting a baptism, you will have an event to remember.

    God bless.

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