Christening etiquette: planning the christening

How old should the baby be?

Two to six months is the usual age for christening. Please try to arrange it as soon as possible,
 and certainly before the child’s second birthday. Most vicars will christen older brothers and sisters as well.


You should ask close friends to be godparents. They must be baptised themselves,
and should be confirmed really. Up to four godparents is normal.

Date and Time

Phone the vicar to discuss possible dates and times before you book the party please.

Application Form

Fill in and return a baptism application form remembering to say which church it is to be held in.


Please don’t book a video as they are not permitted.


Although a christening is a good excuse for a party and it is customary to invite close friends and family,
as well as neighbours, please try to set a limit on the number that you invite. Up to thirty or forty people should be plenty.


It is not necessary to buy godparents presents. Christening guests should buy a christening card (baptism card) and may wish to buy a small present for the child being christened

Christening etiquette: the day of the christening

Dress code

Smart casual dress is appropriate. Older generations will prefer to wear suits and dresses with hats, that’s okay as well.

On arrival

Please arrive 10 minutes before the service starts, men should take off any hats, please extinguish all cigarettes, turn off your mobile phones, cameras and videos,and come into the church. Please leave umbrellas in the porch and leave walkways clear of buggies.

During the service

Join in with the hymns and the words of the service in bold type (unless it says otherwise), and the Lord’s Prayer. Please listen to what’s going on, and watch, try not to chat during the service. Children are very welcome, to walk and talk, but please don’t let them run or shout.

The baby is often dressed in a white christening gown, or shawl,  sometimes one from parents or godparents. Before the baby is handed to the vicar please remove any headgear.

After the service

It’s okay to take photos, please remember to make a donation in the plate at the back. Christenings are free but churches cost thousands of pounds each month to run. It’s normal for parents to make a donation of up to £50.

Optional Extras:

A children’s Bible or story book makes a great present.

I recommend the following book as a christening gift:

The Lion First Bible (First Look)

A framed photo taken at the font after the christening makes an ideal memento for grandparents and godparents.

To find your parish church click on the image to the left and enter your postcode. Your local vicar will be happy to christen your baby and to welcome you to church

Read more about christenings