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A baptism or christening is a ceremony to welcome a new baby or child into the family of faith. The party afterwards is to celebrate that event with your family and friends. By planning ahead, you will be able to relax and enjoy the time with your little one and friends.

1. Coordinate with the church. You will need to schedule the ceremony with the church and find out the time of day it will be held. Then you can set the hours of your party.
2. Contact the godparents. The child's godparents are essential for the ceremony and need to be at the party. You'll need to make sure they will be able to attend.
3. Choose the venue. A location close to the church is ideal, but not necessary. If you are choosing a popular location or public area, be sure to reserve it early. Many people host the party at their homes and for a large group of family that may be a good option. The time of year will also help you decide.
4. Decide on the guest list. How many can your venue accommodate? Will you need to plan for young children? What budget limitations do you have? These will help you decide on the party's guest list. Once decided, the guest list can also help you in choosing a menu.
5. Decide on the menu. You will have a variety of ages to plan for, but if there will be many younger children present you many need a menu that will appeal to them. If you will be handling the menu yourself, keep it within your budget and ability. You can also make most of the menu, then purchase special items such as the cake.
6. Send invitations 3 - 4 weeks in advance. You will want close friends and family to be there, so get on their calendars early! Invitations need to clearly state the time and date of the ceremony plus the party (if all are invited). Include a contact for RSVP as you will need a head count.
7. Inform guests of your gift policy. You only need to do this if you prefer guests not to bring a gift. A simple "No gifts, please" at the bottom of the invitations will work well.
8. Include family traditions. If your family has special traditions for baptisms, incorporate them into your celebration. A baptism is a time to celebrate with family, so make the most of it by incorporating family traditions. It will make your event more special.
9. Plan on photos. Be sure to have someone take photos; either a professional or a willing friend. You'll want lasting memories of your child's ceremony and the celebration party afterward. Be sure to get candid shots, too.
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