Welcome to the fun albeit often daunting world of planning parties and celebrations for your little one. And the event that kick-starts mommy-party-planning is your baby’s baptism—the first of many celebrations to come.
Much like a wedding, baptism is a celebration of life, family traditions, and culture. It is a time to welcome your child into the family faith. It could be overwhelming, but lots of moms have gone through this without the help of a planner and with just minimal assistance from friends, family, ninongs and ninangs.
Yes, aside from giving aguinaldos, this is actually what godparents are there for—to give a helping hand in raising the child (or in this case planning an event for the godchild). So don’t hesitate to make them part of the party-planning team.
Here are a few of the most important things you need to keep in mind to make sure the event will run as smoothly as possible.
Planning a baptism: 6 things to remember
Call the church in advance.
Churches, especially prominent ones get booked fast, so it’s best to call them at least two months in advance to book your preferred date and time slot.
Also, double-check the availability of a presiding priest. Some churches will let you book the venue on a certain day, but you’ll have to ‘bring your own priest’.
Consider the rules and policies of the church for the ceremony
Some churches will have you come 2-3 weeks prior to the scheduled baptism for a ‘preparation meeting’. This is done to orient parents about the sacrament of baptism and to discuss the ceremony itself.
Others would give the parents a list of policies to review at home; in which case, after securing the time slot (and paying the fees), you’ll only have to go there on the day of the baptism.
Sans the ‘preparation meeting’ you’ll have to call the church administration to clarify their rules and policies. Here are some of the questions you might want to ask:
- Should the baby arrive in his/her baptismal clothing or should the parents dress them up in something else first and just bring the baptismal clothing with them? (Other parishes in the Philippines have included the wearing of the baptismal garment in the ceremony.)
- How many ninangs and ninongs are allowed?
- Can you bring a photographer to take photos during the ceremony?
- You should follow the church’s dress code.
Consider your guests’ comfort when choosing the venue for the gathering
As a courtesy to your guests, do not choose a party venue that’s more than 30 minutes away from the church. Survey the traffic situation in the area. If it’s going to be on a weekday, consider color coding schemes in the city, give a heads up on one-way streets or special ordinances that guests would need to be familiar with, and the availability of parking spaces.
As much as you’d want the event’s focus to be on your child, you’ll have to make sure that everyone’s happy and comfortable to make the celebration pleasantly memorable.
Trim the list of ninongs and ninangs down to those who are closest the parents/family.
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Trust us, you wouldn’t want to drag an entire army of godparents into the ceremony and celebration, not knowing if they’ll really be able to establish a meaningful relationship with your child.
Here are a few things you need to consider when choosing the godparents:
- How dedicated will he/she be in helping you guide your child?
- Will he/she be available throughout your child’s life to act as a second parent, a teacher, a mentor?
- What kind of example will he/she be to your child? What kind of values, traditions, and life lessons will he/she pass on to your child?
Prioritize finalizing the guest list.
Before closing the loop with suppliers for the gathering, finalize the guest list first. You can do this a month or two weeks before the scheduled event.
Sit down with your spouse to discuss how many will be invited from his side of the family, from his workplace, etc. When you have a clearer idea of the headcount, you can coordinate with the suppliers so they can prepare accordingly and you on the other hand can start sending out the invitations.
Confirm and finalize the details.
This is the time to tie loose ends a few days before the event itself. Call your guests, especially the ninongs and ninangs, to remind them about the event details. Make sure they didn’t have the date or time mixed up with other things lined up in their calendars.
Other things you need to remember
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- Choose what food you will serve after the event
- Pick a caterer with great reviews
- Make sure you already prepared their giveaways
- If you want to have a host at your baby’s baptismal event you better book ahead of time
Remind your godparents of your gift policies if you have set any. Call suppliers to confirm the number of attendees and check if everyone on the guest list will be able to attend. You’ll have to keep in mind that things pop up at the last minute and you could have people on the guest list who’ll back out a day or two before the event.