Portrait of a Three Generational Family Standing in a Church With a Priest and a Baby in a Christening GownIf you have been invited to someone's baptism, you should feel very special. Dedicating his or her life to God is a very personal moment in anyone's life, and that your friend or family member would want to share it with you is very telling in how important you are to that person. If you have never attended a baptism ceremony before, you may be feeling a bit confused or overwhelmed about what to expect. Follow this etiquette guide to help you ease your mind on the big day.

What to Wear to a Baptism

The first thing that came to your mind upon being invited to the baptism was probably what you would wear to such an event. Simply put, just wear your Sunday best. You don't have to dress up in anything too fancy, but you should make an effort to dress nicely because the event is a serious one that commonly takes place in a church.

  • Men: Wear a dress shirt, a tie, nice pants, and nice shoes. There is no need to wear a full suit unless you want to, but avoid jeans and a t-shirt if possible.
  • Women: Wear a dress or opt for a nice shirt paired with a skirt or pants. Don't wear anything too revealing.
  • Children: Children can get away with more casual clothing but should still be clean and well-groomed. Avoid jeans if you can.

What to Bring to a Baptism

Typically, all you need to bring to a baptism is yourself. In some cases, such as if the baptism is for a baby, you may be expected to bring a gift. If this is the case, the gift should be something elegant or something that is useful for the baby. However, if you already gave a gift at the baby shower, you may skip giving one at the baptism. Some people choose to bring cash gifts, gift cards or some other kind of monetary gift for children and adults who are being baptized. Religious gifts may also be appreciated, but keep in mind that nearly anyone being baptized already has at least one copy of the Bible. Consider religious jewelry or art if you want to give a faith-inspired gift. If you do decide to bring a gift, do not present it at the baptism itself, instead do so at the reception after.

What to Expect During the Ceremony

A baptism is pretty straightforward regardless of who is being baptized. Arrive about 10 minutes early to ensure you get a seat. The ceremony will begin with a welcoming message, usually followed by prayers or hymns. There may be a message about the meaning of baptism from the bishop or priest before the baptism takes place. After, someone will say some closing words. In many cases, refreshments or a full reception will follow the ceremony.

What Not to Do at a Baptism

Just like any other important event or ceremony, always act respectfully. Do your best to show up on time, but if you are late for some reason, enter from the back or side as quietly as possible. Religion is a serious and controversial subject. If you find yourself invited to a baptism or other religious ceremony that you disagree with, you must make a decision to either show up, be polite and express congratulations or to politely decline the invitation. Under no circumstances should you attend the baptism only to say negative things about it before, during or after.

Above all else, remember that baptism is special to the person being baptized. Regardless of how you feel about the matter or whether you attend, you should acknowledge the invitation and congratulate the person because he or she thought enough of you to ask you to be part of such a major event.

Category: Baptism

Baptism religious ceremony family children

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