Mum muddling through…a Christening.

So that’s us done – 2 kids, both dunked. Organising a christening is a little bit like organising a wedding (without reward of the partying into the night and going on honeymoon!).

In all seriousness though, it’s something we wanted to do for our children. So here’s a little MMT roundup of what goes into a Christening in our, somewhat eccentric, family.

  1. Why? We gave it a lot of thought with baby #1. I’m a Roman Catholic (and I have been since the day I was born), a descendent of an Irish family whose faith has been somewhat diluted through the generations, but takes this stuff rather seriously. The hubster was christened in a Methodist church but is an avid scientist and has more interest in the big bang theory than Adam & Eve. As a non practicing Catholic since I was old enough to protest about sitting in Church on a Sunday Morning, I had to question why we would christen our baby. I did a lot of soul searching, but ultimately, I concluded it DID feel important to me to have her Blessed and officially welcomed in a church service. It felt important to say Thank you for this amazing gift, and to stop in our day to day tracks and celebrate this little life we had created. We decided to have them baptised Roman Catholic, as that’s all I know, so it felt right. Mr G didn’t have strong feelings about any denomination, and was happy to have our children Christened too.
  2. The church. We chose a neighbouring village family church that we didn’t attend regularly for baby #1. (We did have to get a letter from our parish priest to say we weren’t infiltrators). Mostly to capture a bit of family tradition, please my Mum, and it is also very pretty. Baby #2 was christened in a different church, the one I attended as a kid. Note: Don’t expect to just turn up at a RC church and book a date – you’ll be expected to have shown your face on a Sunday to show you are serious about this stuff.
  3. The venue. Most christenings throw a ‘little’ reception afterwards. Think Sunday tea party. Good options include sports clubs, pub function rooms, village halls. If your family (like mine) enjoy a celebratory tipple, go for one with a manned bar. Always check out if you can bring your own food – lots of places will only allow their own catering. Great if you can fork out for it (ouch) but if you want to do your own spread, get the OK first. We went for the pub opposite our house, which has, amazingly for us, just been renovated. A cute function room, pub garden, lovely owner…and no arguments about who is driving.
  4. Invitations. So now we have a date, a church, a venue. You need to let your guests know. I don’t go all out for personalised invitations as the norm birthdays etc, it can get a little expensive!…but a Christening is one I think deserves a little special printed one. There are some amazing online sites for stunning invitations (also great for the Thank you’s later).
  5. Guests. Now this is a bit I really struggle with. Do you keep it an intimate affair? Nearest and dearest only? Or do you invite ‘just close friends’ (a potentially friendship limiting step if you get it wrong). Do you just go all out and ask old friends, new friends, friends of the family, cousins etc etc. Due to our aversion to causing offense, we decided to go for the latter. So, without intending to create a scene from ‘My big fat gypsy christening’, our guest list was at around 100. Yep, I didn’t accidentally add a zero. But, this is our life, we decided to embrace it. We just might need to get in a few extra sausage rolls…
  6. Buffet. Which brings us on nicely to the christening party food. As pointed out by one of our guests – you can’t beat a christening buffet. It’s different to a wedding buffet (less posh), and more like a grown up kids party spread. Sausage rolls, vol au vents, cupcakes, egg sandwhiches, prawn rings, cut up cucumber, a french stick or six… Now, I am a relatively mentally stable Mum, however even I can’t knock up a buffet for 100 in a morning (in addition to decorating a hall, getting myself and 2 kids ready). This is where my AMAZING family step in. The best thing about having a family bigger than the Waltons (amongst other things, obviously) is that between us we knock up an immense party spread. Everyone has their dish. imageFeeling somewhat cheeky, but more so overwhelmingly desperate and grateful, the clan did me proud on Sunday, with enough food to feed not only all the guests, but half of the south East of England.
  7. Christening Cake. A bit like Christmas cake, or wedding cake, tradition is to have a special iced fruit cake to cut on the day. In the Olde Worlde times, one would save the top tier of their wedding cake as a christening cake, to be served 9 months later I assume. Back to reality. We did do this JFF (Just For Fun) at our first daughters Christening – worth a laugh and a photo, but definitely not for human consumption! I am again, hugely blessed to have a Mother-In-Law fit to win the Great British Bake off. She did herself proud not only with the most delicious christening cake I have ever tasted, but it was heaving with booze, decorated beautifully and a massive hit with all the guests. (She also baked 86 incredible cupcakes. I know. Amazing.)
  8. Decorations. Now I’m all for making a function room look pretty, but I’m not a fan of tat. Cellophane banners and balloons might be other peoples cup of tea, and that’s fine, but it’s not really my thing. Think outside the box if you can. Our first daughter was Christened in January, and we decorated the hall with hundreds of garlands of real Ivy. It looked incredible, even more so on the day to the magical backdrop of two foot of crisp white snow. This time around, we went simple. Banquetting roll covering tables (get it online), Brown paper bunting (personalisable) from ASDA just £2. (Everyone assumed it was custom made from Etsy!). image Jam jars and Kilner jars, with twine tied around in a bow and a few Coral carnations and gyp. IMG_7764 It looked incredibly pretty and didn’t cost the earth.
  9. Outfits. Now you already know about my amazing dress. It went down a storm by the way, lots of compliments and friends asking where it was from… The special girl had a beautiful christening dress from Monsoon conveniently handed down from her sister. IMG_7769You won’t have any trouble finding a dress these days. If you don’t want to fork out check out ebay where lots will be sold on after the event. Big sister had a gorgeous tartan pinafore from next – a bargain at £8 and will get plenty more wear over Christmas. Teamed up with a coat she got for Christmas last year (ASDA) she looked very smart. IMG_7775Dads get christening outfits too. Mr G looked gorgeous as always in an on trend Tweed Jacket from H&M.
  10. Godparents. How on earth do you choose when you are blessed with so many wonderful friends and family? I already have 4 god children, and my husband 3, so you can’t (and probably shouldn’t) just ask back the people who have asked you. That can be extremely awkward in itself. With baby #1 we decided to be brave and choose friends (outside the family) as we felt family would already have a special role. Second time around, and knowing this is probably our last opportunity, we went the opposite and chose our siblings plus one of my best friends who I just knew I couldn’t not have as godparent to one of my children. It’s such a hard one to get right, and no one likes upsetting their most loved friends and family. In the RC church, at least one godparent must be catholic too…which adds another tricky dynamic to the equation. But, like everything always does at these events, it all came together perfectly. If we had to have everyone we wanted as godparents we’d have to have 10 more kids. And that isn’t happening! (By the way, the age old tradition of Godparents being legal guardians in the event of your death is now null and void. Think Social services might be a little stretched if all orphaned children were spread across their parents ‘best mates’….someone somewhere will have to make sure your kids welfare is the top priority!).

Once all the planning, shopping, preparations, decorations were done…the stress subsided. The day was beautiful, and everything a Christening should be. Filled with love. Filled with family and friends who have been and will be a part of our daughters life. Magical memories made, and lots of jokes along the way. (Our daughter was actually baptised a different name on Sunday, one letter different to her real name!). Catching up with friends we struggle to keep up with since having the kids, introducing new friends to our family.  Seeing the older generation, whose quiet lives are temporarily lit up by family days like these. Seeing the ever increasing next generation of children running around in the leaves, playing together in childhood bliss.

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The date couldn’t have been more perfect; Remembrance Sunday. The Two year anniversary of losing our second daughter. Fate seemed to have delivered us that date. Maybe to remember the bad times as well as the good, light a candle for those not with us, but who will always with us in spirit; To be eternally grateful for being blessed with a healthy baby, who brings us so much joy and happiness. Taking time out of the every day moans and groans to stop and breathe it all in.

x MMT

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Do you think it is important to have a baby christened? What kind of ‘do’ would you put on? Thanks for reading x 

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37 thoughts on “Mum muddling through…a Christening.

  1. Morgan Prince Reply

    I was never christened, my dad was forced to endure a mother who was very religious and didn’t want me to have to endure it too. The Hubby was christened but like your husband is a scientist and doesn’t believe in any of that stuff. It would be very hypocritical of us to christen our children and so we didn’t. I think it’s great if you believe and decide it’s the best thing for your family. You had some beautiful decorations and it sounds like you had a lovely day. xx

  2. min1980 Reply

    Sounds like a really lovely day, and the decorations look fab! Congratulations. x

  3. Habiba Reply

    “dunked” LOL! I’m a Muslim so I’ve never actually attended a Christening before, which is a shame. Can you have another baby and invite me?! 😉 #babybrainmonday

  4. Kat @ Eat.Love.Live Reply

    Christening’s are so lovely. We christened Baby Girl when she was about 6 months old at our local church and had a party at ours afterwards. It was also a special day for us, my first mothers day. Sounds like you have a fabulous celebration and I love how you put it together x #babybrainmonday

  5. absolutely prabulous Reply

    What a spectacularly beautiful post! I never thought reading about a christening could be so rewarding. I can see why you made that comment on one of my expat posts that you couldn’t ever leave the UK or your family etc. I guess if you have that and you all get on, it’s wonderful; clearly your family were a tower of strength with your baby’s big day. Having lived abroad for so long, I loved the Englishness of this too! ‘Spread’ is a word you don’t hear in Malta. Love it! And the buffet was such a collection of typical English fare it made me a bit homesick. Loved the first paragraph explaining why you christened her. Totally makes sense. And the bit about the older generation at the end. Honestly, I’m reciting the post here! So sorry to hear about your loss 2 years ago. Thanks for linking to #BabyBrainMonday (Told you I knew I’d love it 🙂 )

    1. MMT Reply

      Prabs that’s such a lovely comment! I’m quite touched, Thank you. can’t wait to tell you all about our family Christmas! 😉 xxx

  6. rhymingwithwine Reply

    It sounds like you had a perfect day and I love your ideas for decorations. Beautiful x #bestandworst

  7. Becky Pink Reply

    What a lovely (and useful!) post! We have always intended to get our girls Christened, but have never found the right time and they are 2 and nearly 5 now so I don’t know if we have missed the boat a bit! Becky x #bestandworst

  8. Mama Reply

    Wow, sounds like a lot of work but it seems like you had two lovely days in the end. I feel pretty strongly against most religions so it was never really a consideration for us. My wife is Buddhist but not particularly devout. I would have considered some celebration in temple had she wanted it but it wasn’t an option as the temple here don’t really cater for unusual families such as ours.

    Thanks for hosting #coolmumclub xxx

  9. Robyn Reply

    Gosh, there’s such a lot to think about! It all looks amazing and I’m glad to hear you had an amazing day. I particularly like what you said about the older generation having a little highlight in their quiet lives, so sweet. It’s not very common to have christenings here in NZ, I’ve only been to one before and never considered getting our little guys christened since I’ve never been to church. It’s definitely a nice idea to bless a new baby though. #coolmumclub

  10. Kyles Reply

    Awww that’s lovely. It sounds like the absolute perfect day. We had very small Christenings for our two – just immediate family. Even then it was they provided wonderful opportunities to celebrate these new little lives. Special memories and delicious cake! #coolmumclub

  11. Sue @ Home Heart Harmony Reply

    Sounds like you had a great day! I love a good Christening! We had both of our children christened and I would never have considered not doing so. It’s incredibly important to me that they are baptised into the Christian faith regardless of what religious choices they choose to make later on. Plus, it’s a great chance for everyone to come together, cuddle the baby and enjoy a good buffet! (Also, I think I’m right in saying that you can’t marry in a church unless you are baptised so I would want the children to have that option when they are older). Lovely to read all about your day. I wish I had another Christening to plan now! xx

  12. Complicated Gorgeousness Reply

    I want to go back and do all three of my children’s christenings again as they were so special but I think I stressed too much. The first, a year after our wedding, was a huge affair. I thought it would be like a mini wedding (how I laugh now). The other two were much smaller and I probably relaxed more. Your little outfits and decorations look beautiful. So glad it went well. #coolmumclub p.s. thanks for picking my post last week – that is cool 🙂

  13. Rebecca @ AAUBlog Reply

    looks like a lovely day – the decorations and outfits are lovely. We had our babies blessed (LDS church) and it is a lovely and important day #coolmumclub

  14. helen gandy Reply

    Awww how lovely, we have not had our 2 christened purely because we’re not really religious but if they did your tips sound wonderful! #bestandworst and #coolmumclub xxx

    1. MMT Reply

      Even I questioned if it was the right thing in this day and age…but, glad we did it in the end. Thanks for dropping by Helen, I really appreciate it as I know you’re busy with throwback Thursday x x x

  15. occupation:(m)other Reply

    What a beautiful post. I really like your motivations and it sounds like it was just perfect! We went the other way in terms of size and had a very small ‘intimate’ christening. It was right at the time but who knows in the future (if we have another). Lots of lovely ideas here too. Oh and the godparents thing…really tricky! Thanks for hosting #coolmumclub. Oh p.s. glad the dress went down well. After reading your post last week, I came over all enthusiastic and took myself to zara…picked up a couple of lovely things so thanks for the nudge!

  16. Silly Mummy Reply

    Aww sounds like a lovely day! I wasn’t christened as my parents thought I should choose for myself. I have always been an atheist, and also want it to be my children’s choice if they do follow any religion, so we haven’t Christened ours. If you are religious or have a religious background, though, they do look like nice ceremonies, and I imagine a lovely way to celebrate your baby. #coolmumclub

  17. Mrs Lighty Reply

    It looks & sounds absolutely gorgeous! I agree with you on the tat decorations completely! Hope you had a fab day, thanks for hosting #coolmumclub 🙂

  18. maestromummy Reply

    I totally agree that organising a christening is akin to a wedding! But completely worth it! Glad you had a lovely day.

  19. motherhoodtherealdeal Reply

    I have to admit I didn’t really get the whole christening thing – I went to my first one at the weekend but it really is quite a lovely thing. Congrats on making it through in one piece my lovely co-host! #coolmumclub

  20. nightwisprav3n Reply

    I have an interesting christening story for my boys too. I was raised in a strict Roman Catholic family but with my first born, because my ex and I weren’t married at the time and he wasn’t willing to convert to Catholicism but it was important to me to baptize my baby, we went to a Protestant church. They aren’t as picky about marriage and such. With my second son though, we were married and had moved to a new town where there was a more open-minded Catholic church with a very nice priest who was willing to christen my baby boy so my oldest is Protestant and my youngest is Catholic. I’m not a religious person though so we don’t attend church and don’t commit to any religion but I have found a nice balance between my own beliefs and other beliefs from around the world. Great post! Visiting from #coolmumclub

    1. MMT Reply

      I’m also quite a relaxed open minded Catholic Michelle… We got married in a Church of England church… Thanks for stopping by and for the blogger award! X #coolmumclub

      1. nightwisprav3n Reply

        You’re very welcome!

  21. Ellie @ Hand Me Down Baby Reply

    What a lovely Christening! Christenings or Dedications are par for the course in our family and church, and it’s always a special day with my father-in-law taking the service.
    We got Little Miss A Christened when she was 7 months old and had the reception at the village hall across from our house.
    Master J will be Christened next March, we just need to get the dates organised with family and Godparents – each of the kids have / will have 6!! 😀
    #coolmumclub

  22. The Anxious Dragon Reply

    Wow, that is every bit as much organising as a wedding! Because I am not religious myself, neither of my boys were christened, but looking back it would have been nice to have a ‘welcome to the family’ type party. And you had a proper cheese and pineapple hedgehog. Much respect to you. I insisted on having these for my wedding reception buffet 😀
    #Coolmumclub

  23. Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love) Reply

    Sounds like it was a really lovely day and I love how you’ve detailed all the aspects of organising that go into arranging a christening. How beautiful that it was on Remembrance Sunday – a perfect day to remember your beautiful angel and to celebrate the blessing of a healthy baby too. Both our girls have been christened – Jessica was baptised in the hospital just after she was born so we had a welcoming service for her instead at the church where Sophie was later christened. We ended up ordering platters from Sainsburys for the food as it was less stressful than trying to make it all myself (even with family help) but I did make and decorate the cake. Thanks for hosting #coolmumclub 🙂

  24. crummymummy1 Reply

    We ‘did’ Little B in July and you’re right, it is a bit like organising a wedding! #happydiaries

  25. Mum in Brum Reply

    Wow this looks like such a lovely occasion and you did so well with the organising of everything. I love those flowers in the jars and her dress was so pretty. So special to have it on remembrance Sunday too. We decided not to have Taylor christened as we’ve never practiced religion and it felt a little odd for us, but I was christened myself and part of me would’ve like to have done it for her. I’ve never looked at it as a way of saying thank you before, but that is a lovely way of looking at it and makes me feel like we should have! So glad you had such a special day to remember x #coolmumclub

  26. sizzlesue15 Reply

    Sounds like a special day even though it was like organising a wedding! In Australia I find religious christenings are on the decline. Most people don’t do anything now although some arrange a Naming Cereomony with a celebrant. I love the outfits they are adorable. #happydiaries

  27. This Mum's Life Reply

    Wow, it looks like you had an amazing day! I love your ideas for the decorations! And I can imagine the girls looked so gorgeous in those outfits. We’ve had both of ours christened. Neither of us are huge church goers, but I have some kind of faith, even I’m still not quite sure to what extent, but it’s nice for the children to be officially welcomed, like you say, and nice for them to be brought up with the values and principles the church is founded upon!
    We chose good friends for our first babies godparents, and for the second, his godmothers are my 2 best friends from antenatal class! They were the people I’d known for the least amount of time, but 2 people my life would’ve been well and truly unbearable without, over the last 3 years!!!!
    #coolmumclub

  28. Mary @TheHeartyLife Reply

    Looks like an absolutely beautiful day. Their little outfits are sweet and the location sounded lovely. I am sure all the hard work paid off and was enjoyed by all. Its great you took the decision so seriously and thought a lot about it as its quite an important thing id say!

    I am an active member of the LDS church (mormon) and so all my kids have had baby blessings after a few weeks old at church there with family and friends and then lots of gorgeous food after church! Its great … I like to hear of people embracing church stuff whatever their faith x #bestandworst

  29. An imperfect Mum (@animperfectmum) Reply

    What a beautiful celebration. I loved the bunting from Asda and such great value, it really looks home made. #happydays

  30. Mrs Tubbs Reply

    Sounds like a lovely day 🙂 It’s strange – in a nice way – how people who want to give their children “something spiritual” and take them to church so they can enjoy the rituals / learn about faith.

    I was surprised the Catholic church didn’t have a hall. All the ones I know are licensed to serve alcohol and have a very well stocked bar!

  31. Jess Powell Reply

    Sounds like it was a lovely day! The little outfits are gorgeous too 🙂 My partner and I are both atheists so we didn’t get Marianna christened – though the group leader of my touchy feely antenatal course did ask what denomination atheism was, so perhaps it wouldn’t have been so out there! 😉 I did think about having a Humanist naming ceremony for a bit but we decided we’d throw a party for her first birthday instead. x #HappyDiaries

  32. newmummyblogcom Reply

    It sounds like a really wonderful day. Full of family and celebrations. I love your decorations, and I’m just off to look up that bunting on asda as I was going to make some! Sorry to hear of your loss, but you’re right, the date was meant to be and you made some very special memories x #coolmumclub and #bestandworst

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