A christening party should be the end of a very special day for parents and child. You don't want to take away from your enjoyment of the day by being overwhelmed because of a stressful party. When you keep it simple and focus on casual, family friendly fun for your christening party, you'll end up with a great day that you and your guests will cherish for a long time to come.
What Is a Christening?
A christening is a religious ceremony in which the child is typically baptized in a church in front of family and friends. Different religions include a variety of traditions regarding a christening. Traditional christenings often involve a sprinkling of holy water on the child's head and the official giving of a name to the child. In addition, godparents are often named during the ceremony, and parents often vow to dedicate their child to the service of Christ.
Planning a Christening Party
Many christening parties involve hosting a large number of family and friends. Even small, intimate gatherings take some pre-party planning finesse. Parents often begin planning their child's christening celebration several weeks in advance. Party planning involves choosing a location, sending out invitations, choosing some fun activities, and planning the menu. Your party can be as simple or as elaborate as you prefer, but be sure to begin the planning process as early as possible to ensure everything goes well on the big day.
Pick Your Location
Before you get into your party planning, pick the location for the party. The best location depends on your guest list.
- House: If you're having an intimate family gathering, your house may be the best place to host your party.
- Restaurant or hall: If you're hosting a larger group, consider having the party in a local restaurant or party hall. Remember that your christening party will follow your ceremony, so if you're not having the party at your house, choose someplace close to the church.
- Park: Another fun place to have a christening party, weather permitting, is at a local park. Book one of the shelters in the park and host a cook-out. Clean up will be easy, and your guests will have plenty of space to spread out and enjoy themselves.
Send Your Invitations
Just like any other party, you should send your invitations two to three weeks in advance, giving your guests plenty of time to arrange their schedules. You should include all the relevant information your guests will need to know, including directions to the church, if they are to attend the ceremony, and directions to the party venue. Advise them of the appropriate dress code. If you're hosting the party at a restaurant but aren't planning on providing food for everyone, make that clear on the invitation.
Plan the Menu
Consider the time of day and amount of guests who will attend as you plan the menu for the christening. Finger foods make quick and easy party fare. Prepare foods like:
- Cookies or brownies
- Chips and dip
- Vegetable and deli meat trays
- Sausage balls
- Cheese straws
Some people prefer to plan the celebration around an elaborate meal. If this is your preference, consider baking a large turkey or ham and adding a variety of casseroles, one-dish meals, salads, breads and desserts to the selection. If cooking a variety of foods just isn't your forte, consider having the event catered. Meet with a caterer well in advance of the party so you can iron out all the details together.
Get Your Party Started
Christening parties are generally family events, so chances are there will be a lot of little ones in attendance. While the moms and dads may be happy to mingle and chat, the children will need to be entertained. Your best bet is to plan a wide variety of events to keep them occupied. If the weather cooperates and you have outdoor space, some fun outdoor activities for the kids include the following:
- Water balloons
- Sack races
- Tug of war
Of course, you can always rely on the old standbys, like soccer, kickball or volleyball. You can also invest in some sidewalk chalk and let the kids decorate the driveway and sidewalks. Get everything set up in advance so you're ready to send the kids out to play as soon as you return from the ceremony.
If you aren't lucky enough to have any outdoor space, you can still keep the kids entertained with some indoor activities. Consider devoting one room specifically for the kids, and provide board games, coloring books, and other age appropriate activities. If the party is going to last for several hours, you might also want to have some kid-friendly DVDs on the ready for when the children need some quiet time.
Other Christening Party Ideas
Christening parties are usually quiet events with a focus on quality time with family and friends. That doesn't mean the celebration has to be boring, though. Consider these casual and fun party activities:
- Host a family game tournament. Go for board games, card games or sports; whatever your family likes to play. For large groups, you can split into a few teams instead of playing individually.
- Have all of your guests contribute to a keepsake of the day. This can be as simple as having them sign a guest book at the party or something more elaborate, like writing a note to the child that he or she will open on the first anniversary of his christening.
- Give all of your guests disposable cameras and encourage them to commemorate the event through their eyes.
Special Christening Memories
Above all else, remember to keep things simple. Christenings are special times for families and friends. It's important to remember the reason for the occasion, however. A well-planned christening party should create fond memories for everyone who attends.