November 2012 Moms

Baptism

My dd will be baptized in a private catholic baptism next month. I was raised in a Church that doesn't practice infant baptism and I have never been to a private catholic baptism (only witnessed the ones during mass). So I have no idea what is expected, and I need some advice about what typical etiquette is. Do I send invitations or is e-mail/word of mouth acceptable? Do I invite only Catholics (DH family is catholic mine is not) or family and friends of all faiths? Is a reception expected? If so who hosts, parents, or godparents, or both? Is cake and punch acceptable for a reception or is a full meal expected?  Other etiquette I might not know?

Anything information on your experiences with infant baptisms you've attended would be much appreciated.

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Re: Baptism

  • I have had both my daughters baptized Lutheran and will do the same with DS.  I believe Lutheran and Catholic baptisms are very similar.  

    For both girls, the ceremony was private.  We hosted a party at our house following the ceremony and had lunch type food and cake to serve to people.  It was laid back.  We invited family and close friends and it didn't matter to us the faith of the attendees.  One of my best friends is Jewish and she still attended the church ceremony and party following.  

    This time, we are planning on have a brunch at a restaurant following the ceremony.  This is mainly because I now have three kids and don't want to have to prep the house for a party and then clean up the house following the party all while taking care of three kids.  I would rather spend a little more money and be able to walk in and then walk out with no prep.  

    We sent invitations for the baptism but this time will likely invite people by word of mouth depending on when we are able to schedule the baptism.  I think it depends on how many people you are inviting and how formal an affair you will have.   

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  • DH's cousin and her husband are Catholic and have invited us to both of their LOs' baptism. We are Christian and while we were unable to attend either baptisms, the fact that we don't follow the same tradition as the Catholic church would not have stopped us from going had our schedules allowed (their youngest was baptized the day I was induced...). I don't know if what they did is traditional, or all of what they did since we weren't there but...I'm pretty sure they invited close friends and family to the actual baptism, regardless of religious beliefs, and then had a small reception at their house after. Not a full meal but snacky type food and cake. Oh, and they sent official invitations through the mail. I think that'd be best for something like a baptism. But DH's cousin's family is the only experience I had with infant baptism, others might do things very differently.
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  • I had a private baptism with my son and sent out invitations with lunch and cake followed at my house hosted by my husband and I.

    This time I would like to have the baptism during mass and will host at a restaurant. Like the pp I don't want to have to get my house ready for a party.

    Either way I would send out some sort of invitation just so you can get a head count!!

    And invite anyone who is important to you! They are celebrating your child and its up to them to make the decision to come!
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  • First, I'll address the Church stuff:

    Absolutely, positively invite anyone you choose, regardless of faith traditions.  My SO is not Catholic, and neither is one of the godparents.  What matters is that the baby is Catholic.

    I would advise, though, that you do explain some things to people who may have been to a Catholic church before.  For example, only Catholics receive communion, and it's proper to keep shoulders covered (though that is not generally a problem in December!).  A lot depends on how conservative the individual parish is.  I was raised Orthodox, so I personally tend toward the more traditional and conservative end of things, though my family now goes to a Roman Catholic parish that is generally pretty progressive.

    Now the party stuff:

    Invitations should be physical, not FB or word of mouth.  My favorite invites are the photo ones, and they're pretty cheap on Shutterfly.  If your email inbox looks like mine, you probably have a million coupons anyway.

    Afterwards, a reception is expected, but what you serve is more dictated by your culture/circle of friends.  Personal, our families are predominantly Irish and Italian.  If we threw a reception and didn't feed and booze people, we would probably be stoned.  However, I've been to plenty that are simply cake and punch.  It also depends on when the baptisms are.  Our church does them at 4pm on Sundays, so dinner is a must.  If it were at 2pm, I might just do a tea time reception in the church hall.

    HTH!

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  • In our family anyone is invited no matter faith...though we just do immediate family. Then we usual all go to supper together somewhere afterwards.
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  • You'll notice the traditions vary. I assume you've both agreed to the Catholic faith for your child bc of SO, so he should be leading this with you and explaining everything, including his family's traditions. Especially since this will be his religious upbringing. All faiths are welcome but be sure they know not to receive communion. Most of the time the private ceremony is immediately following mass so everyone attends together first.

    We kept our baptisms very small, just immediate family as well as the great grandparents. Thus we did word of mouth and had a lunch simple cookout for dd1 in July, this will probably be crockpot of something and sides in Jan. Cake and punch would be fine but I would be sure people know that. If you are capable of pulling it together I'd have light food like finger sandwiches, munchies and fruit at least.

    And it is your job to host. Though my mother in law offered to host if we wanted to invite our aunts and uncles and friends, since we have a townhouse. But we kept it small so out house could handle the gathering.
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  • DH and I are both Catholic converts, meaning that almost NO ONE in our families is Catholic. We had a small, private ceremony, in which we invited all of our close friends and family. We had a reception at our house afterward with typical "shower" type foods and a cake. We sent out invites that mentioned both the Baptism and the reception. Because it's a private ceremony, you should tip your priest. I think we tipped about $50 last time.  
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  • I should preface this with I'm not Catholic. I was married to a Catholic man. I've been to many Catholic and protestant baptisms (for a broad range of protestant faiths) and even within the same church, the baptism and associated receptions vary greatly.  

    Since you are having a private baptism I think you have a lot more freedom than if you were doing it during the mass. In the churches I attended as a kid, if the kid was baptized publicly you and you intended on having any sort of celebration afterwards, particularly in the church hall, you were under pressure to host the whole congregation. In the case of the churches I attended, usually the congregation would bring squares etc.. It often ended up being a potluck.

    All of that said, you have a private baptism and in my view that means you can more or less as you please. It might be nice to take the attendees you will have to lunch afterwards (i.e. godparents) - but you can throw a reception  just for friends and family. It's your choice. In my experience these receptions range from formal events with printed invites, to casual lunches at home with phone or email invites.  As previously mentioned, no matter what you choose to do  you should probably give your priest a tip. Depending on the church they might expect or ask for a tithe, but personal money to the priest is usually expected. It's an important supplement to their salary.

    I had an experience once where a priest told me what he expected to be paid for his services. It was unsolicited information and he gave me an acceptable range of payment. They usually don't do that - in my experience it's an unspoken expectation.

  • oh yes - and I would invite anyone you choose to your reception or the baptism.
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