Ultimate Baptism Planning Guide Part 3: The Reception

September 14, 2017 5 min read

This post is part 3 of our Ultimate Baptism Planning Guide series.
Here at Cuddle Sleep Dream, we've dressed over 1000 baby boys on their special day.  So we thought, who better to ask for advice on baptism planning than their mamas? This guide includes some of their best tips, plus our research, to help you plan your son's baptism. 

Planning Baptism Party

It's party planning time! Many families choose to celebrate their baby's baptism with a reception after the church ceremony. As one of our mamas said:

“It was so wonderful to celebrate with family afterwards. It makes a very special life event last more than just the hour at church.” - Emily

Before planning the party, be sure to learn all about what to expect at the christening ceremony, choose godparents, and decide on a budget.

If you’ve just had a baby, it may seem overwhelming to plan an event like this, so get your family and friends on board to help if you can!  To make it easier, we've broken down the parts of the baptism party into 7 simple and fun steps.

Ready? Here are 7 steps to to plan a christening party:

      1. Decide on event size and formality
      2. Choose a location
      3. Plan a menu
      4. Pick a theme / decoration colors
      5. Choose and mail invitations
      6. Order a cake
      7. Plan for other decor

1. Decide on event size/formality 

Baptism parties can be a big event with hundreds of family members and friends or a small picnic in your backyard with the godparents/sponsors and grandparents. It is completely up to you and there is no right or wrong way!

Consider your budget, the time of day, the weather, and how many people you want to (or need to) invite. Here's what a few of our mamas had to say:

“You don't have to go all out to make it special, it can be just a small group of family and friends.” - Hayden

“[We had a] small gathering at home. Mainly parents and Godparents and siblings. Served traditional Mexican food.” - A mommy from California

“Baptism was a medium affair...immediate family and some extended family. We went to a restaurant for a luncheon afterwards where guests could choose between 4 or so entrees.” - Sarah

2. Choose a location

You have 3 general choices for the location: keep it at the church, have it at someone's home, or have it at a restaurant/facility.

Your church might have a hall that you can rent (and it might even be free!) If you can have the ceremony and reception in the same location, it’s quite convenient for you and your guests. Some churches ask for a donation, while others may charge a rental fee. Be sure to check with them on what you can use in the hall before you buy things (linens, coffee pots, silverware, etc.)

If the church is not an option, the next easiest thing may be to have it at your home - or a family member's. You don't have to worry about the ceremony running on time or being rushed to finish if you control the venue.  If the season is right, you could even do something outside.  It could range from a casual picnic to a catered tent event.

“Since the weather didn't hold up, we had a crowded party space. I would suggest a small gathering outside the house. Also choosing the right people to be a part of the ceremony.  I couldn't have done it without my sister-in-law!” -  Diana

Other families choose to have their parties at local restaurants or event facilities. The benefit here is that you don't have to worry about cleaning and getting your house ready! Or having guests stay too long! 

3. Plan a menu 

Once you've decided where to have the party, the next thing to decide is what to eat.

If it's at your church or home, and if your family is big on cooking, you could ask a few of your closest relatives or friends to prepare a dish. You could also get just the main entrée catered, like chicken or hot sausage, and then have others bring side dishes. Here are some handy charts on how much food to order.

Here are what some of our mamas had to say:


“We had a decent size party afterwards. Around 40 people and I had it catered with simple options. Rosemary chicken, rigatonis, red skin potatoes, ordered a cake and had some finger foods like veggies, cookies and fruit.” - Dawn

“We had brunch at our house for family and a couple of friends who are practically family. Muffins, eggs, fruit, french toast, bacon, coffee and juice.” - Emily

“He is getting baptised in a month. We are just planning on maybe 30 people and doing a cookout with burgers and brats, salads and a cake.” - Toni from Wisconsin

4. Pick a theme or colors

Choosing a theme or color scheme actually makes planning your other details so much simpler! It's easy to get overwhelmed by ideas on Pinterest and have a hard time putting together details to make a party look cohesive.  

After you browse ideas, decide on one theme and colors - and stick to it!

Traditional baptism parties are in all white.  You may want to add pops of color. Or you can buck tradition and do any color theme you want. 

Sweet lamb, hot air balloons, and Peter Rabbit are some of the recent adorable themed trends we've seen.

4. Choose and mail invitations

Send invites at least a month before. If the baptism is taking place in the Summer when many people plan vacations, you can tell people to save the date via in person or even a small card saying details to follow.

Ask for RSVPs. Using Regrets Only is a great way to get a lower number of calls, but it also opens up that some people won’t say they aren’t coming and you’ll account for them and they still won’t show up. So just be prepared.

There are tons of invitations online.  If you've chosen a theme or colors it should be a little easier to narrow down your choices. There are options to buy the entire card/envelope combo or buy a digital print and print them yourself to save money! 

Add a photo of your baby for a special invite touch. You can chose any nice picture of him, or do a special photoshoot in his baptism outfit early so you can use that on the invite and to prepare thank you gifts for people.

6. Order a Dessert

For the cake, it’s customary to get a cross and then a saying like, “God Bless “child’s name.” As far as how much cake to get, check out this chart.

We've also seen a number of cupcake cakes (cupcakes that are arranged in the shape of a cross).  Then you don't have to worry about cutting a messy cake.

You can also check with your bakery for suggestions. Be sure to have a knife and server on hand to cut the cake!

Keep in mind bakeries may want a few weeks notice to make your order.


7. Other Details

Make sure to bring a basket or box for your child’s cards and you can decorate the cake table with items they may have already received such as rosaries or crosses.

Consider if you would like to have centerpieces or other decor.  Maybe banners or a photo spot, since you know everyone is going to want a pic with the little man!

And if you need a casual outfit for the reception, check out Cuddle Sleep Dream's baptism outfits!


baptism planning

Ryann Kahn
Ryann Kahn

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