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How to Plan Your Christening, Baptism, Blessing in 9 Simple Steps

Congratulations on your new (or soon-to-be) bundle of joy! Somewhere in the jumble of emotion, change, and busy-ness that is the first year of your baby's life is a once-in-a-lifetime event: your baby's christening or blessing.

The timing of your christening, baptism or blessing is largely up to you and is influenced by family circumstance, tradition, and religious affiliation. Whether you are blessing your newborn or baptizing your 18-month child, the planning process is the same. Here's a basic checklist to get you started:

2-12 months before event:
Step 1-When:
Contact the church or clergy member you wish to perform the ceremony. Determine what paperwork/preparation is required. Set a date.
Step 2-Who: Decide who you want to be in attendance. Who do you choose as Godparents to watch over your child's religious instruction? Who do you want to stand in the blessing circle? Do you want a large or small gathering? Determine how many guests you will have.
Step 3-Visualize: This is the fun part! Will you have an all-inclusive at-home event, an intimate post-ceremony gathering at a restaurant, or a gala bash at a local reception venue? Whether simple or luxe, you need to consider what you want when it comes to location, decor, food, favors, music, clothing, and photography. Depending on who you want to work with, you may need to book services many months in advance.

1-2 months before event:
Step 4-Invite:
Order (or create) and mail christening invitations or simply make phone calls to those with whom you want to share this experience. Be sure they know when and where to show up!
Step 5-Shop: Ooh! Another fun part! {wink} Find a large selection of perfect christening gowns, blessing gowns or christening outfits, or make arrangements for a custom-made or family heirloom christening garment for baby's special day. Don't forget to plan clothing for siblings and parents!
Step 6-Portraits: Schedule a portrait session--trust me, you don't want to not have photos of your baby in his/her precious outfit! Whether you go for a formal studio session or a natural-light gig, have a list of shots you want the photographer to capture. If possible, allow enough time to have framed prints to display at your christening or baptism event.

2 weeks before event:
7-Finalize:
Tie up all loose ends...check in with venues, food providers, photographers, etc.

Day before event:
8-Pack:
Gather up everything you'll need for the big day: baby's christening clothing and accessories, items to be used in the ceremony, cameras, decorations, etc. Pack the diaper bag. Press or steam baby's christening, baptism or blessing finery as well as your own outfit.

Day of event:
9-Relax:
Take a deep breath and enjoy the companionship of your loved ones in celebration of this christening blessed day!


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