- If you would like your child to be brought up as a Christian and you have a strong Christian faith, then a traditional Christening is a wonderful way to begin this journey. A more relaxed church and clergy will also welcome you into the church and the community even if you are not regular churchgoers but would like to celebrate the new addition to your family with your church and community. Our top tip is to suss out your local vicar to see what he or she will go for in their church, maybe ask friends who have gone down this route for some advice.
- A top tip if you're not sure about a full Christening service but would still like a church based celebration, is to consider a church blessing or thanksgiving service. These are ideal if you would like your child to be welcomed into the Christian church without the full commitment of a baptism service. Your best bet is to have a chat to your local vicar or minister and they will be able to tell you what they are willing to do in their church. Some may even allow to you to have an input in the wording used or allow you to choose whether the service is part of a main church service or a separate event.
- If you have no religious beliefs and would prefer a secular celebration then there are some lovely options to choose from. You can book a naming ceremony at your local registry office, or, as with weddings, lots of venues can hold a naming ceremony for you. You could arrange for a celebrant from the British Humanist Association to led the ceremony or you could lead it yourself at home. You can play music, read poems and celebrate your child with family and friends. Instead of godparents you can choose supporting adults or mentors to love and support your child as they grow.
- Choosing godparents or supporting adults for your child can be a wonderful gift for them as they grow and develop. Asking close friends or family to play an important role in your little person's life, lending them an ear or offering advice as they grow up, is a lovely thing to do. Choose people who you think will still be in your life in twenty years and more, someone who will offer a different perspective from you but who you can trust to love and protect your child if needed. It is traditional for girls to have two godmothers and one godfather and boys to have two godfathers and one godmother, although it is entirely up to you how many you choose.
- Whichever way you decide to celebrate you will want to make sure that baby looks gorgeous on their special day. Whether you have a family Christening robe handed down from generation to generation or you go shopping for a special outfit, remember that baby will more than likely have to eat at some point during the day, so it might be worth considering a couple of special bibs and muslins to protect their outfit until the photos have been taken! Also, churches can be cold so make sure you have a blanket in case baby gets cold. Finally, make sure you have something to occupy older children and siblings during the ceremony so you can enjoy at least some of the day without distractions.
Bringing family and friends together to celebrate the new addition to your family is a wonderful way to create some special memories for you all. Today we have so many options available to us that we can mix and match and choose a celebration that really suits our lives and beliefs. Our final and most important top tip is to make sure that you enjoy the day as a family, eat cake, drink tea (or wine if you prefer!) talk, laugh and relish spending time with special friends and family.