Knowing who to invite to a baptism can be confusing, but it really depends on your faith, your church, and your personal desires. Check with your church officials to start planning the baptism, or christening, and they will help you figure out who you can or should invite and how you should invite them.
Typical Baptism Guest List
Baptism etiquette suggests you should only invite close friends and family members to a baptism, whether it is for your child or for yourself. Everyone who attends the baptism will need to be invited as it is considered rude to attend one without an invitation. Baptisms usually take place after a standard church service, so members of the church congregation who wish to join are invited. Most often the baptism guest list includes anywhere from four to 10 guests who are not necessarily members of the church such as:
- Parents of the person being baptized
- Siblings of the person being baptized
- Godparents or sponsors of the person being baptized
- Very close family members such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins
- Very close friends
Baptism Guest List Variances
Different churches have different rules and guidelines for baptism invitations. Baptisms in churches don't typically cost any money, but donations from the family and guests are appreciated. Ultimately, it's up to you and your church to agree on an acceptable guest list.
- Since the church where the baptism takes place may be larger than where you host the baptism reception, some invite more people to the baptism and include only the godparents in a special private lunch.
- Some people only invite the godparents or sponsors to join the parents at the baptism since they are the only ones who generally have roles in the ceremony. A larger reception can follow for family and friends.
- If members of your extended family attend the church you'll be using for the baptism, it would be customary to invite them.
- In a Catholic baptism, the parents, family members, friends, and members of the church all attend both the baptism after Sunday mass and the reception following.
- Parents of the child to be baptized and the sponsors are the main guests at a Lutheran baptism, which often takes place after a sermon.
- A Methodist baptism usually takes place during a Sunday service, so the entire congregation would definitely be invited.
How to Invite People to a Baptism
Baptisms always require some type of invitation, but they can be either formal or casual. You can invite guests via email, phone call, in person, or using a formal baptism invitation. Invite guests three to four weeks before the baptism ceremony. You can easily invite your church's congregation via a church bulletin or an announcement at church in the weeks before the ceremony. Baptism invitation wording should include:
- Date and time of the ceremony
- Full name of the person to be baptized
- Location of the church, with a map if needed
- Dress code or other attire expectations of the church
- Names of the baptized person's parents, grandparents, and godparents
- Reception time, location, and provided food
Baptism Reception Invitations
Baptism receptions are customary directly after most baptism ceremonies, but they are not required. You can host a christening party after the baptism on any budget. Simply set your budget ahead of time, then opt for the reception type and location that works best for you. Typically, anyone invited to the baptism would also be invited to the reception.
- If your budget is small and/or you're hosting the reception at the church where the baptism took place, you should invite the whole church congregation.
- If your budget is small and you want to host the reception in your home, only invite the godparents and any close friends or family members you wish, including those who couldn't attend the baptism.
- Appetizers, light refreshments, or even just a cake and punch are acceptable baptism reception fare for most people.
- When you have a larger budget, you might host the reception at a local restaurant, banquet hall, or park and provide a catered lunch.
Share the Baptism With Friends and Family
Since baptism is your or your baby's entry into the Christian religion, it's fitting to share this intimate and deeply personal moment with those closest to you. Consider the guidelines of your church and your personal relationships, then choose to invite those who make the most sense for the occasion.