Baptism Etiquette

Knowing a little baptism etiquette can make you feel much more at ease at an event in which many people have little experience. Baptism gift etiquette and having good etiquette and manners prepared never hurts.

A baptism represents a religious event. A child is being received into the church and congregation. This is a little different from a christening in which a child traditionally receives his or her name. Note, however, that many baptisms combine these two into one affair.

Other names sometimes used for a baptism include a Naming Ceremony and a Dedication. These two alternatives may or may not be religious in nature, but serve a similar purpose of greeting the child and welcoming him or her into the extended family.


On average a baptism takes place within the first six months of a child’s life. Invitation protocol instructs mailing the invitations about four weeks before the event. This gives family and friends from out of town enough time to plan their travels.

 baptism etiquette, baptism gift etiquette, etiquette and manners

As far as attendees go, close friends and family members, and their partners or children usually litter the invitation list. Either the parents of the newborn or the godparents take care of sending invitations. If there is a reception following the event, the invitation should include an address and directions for people unfamiliar with the area.

As with other formal occasions, remember avoiding abbreviations on the outside and inside of the invitation. Personalize and sign them.


The basic rule for baptism etiquette in terms of what to wear is think of the typical “Sunday best” outfits. Keep in mind that the vast majority of baptisms occur in churches – keep it simple and tasteful (nothing too flashy).

Baptism Gift Etiquette

If you’ve chosen godparents for your child, it’s customary to present them with a gift, and the godparents likewise bring something for the baby, often made out of silver (representing a wish for prosperity). Thus the phrase, "born with a silver spoon." (See the Related Links section below for gifts for the baby).

The parents of the child should donate money to the officiant and potentially also the church. Sometimes it’s acceptable to provide the officiant a gift instead.

Attendees do not have to bring a gift for the family or baby, especially if you attended a shower before the child’s birth.

 baptism etiquette, baptism gift etiquette, etiquette and manners

At the Ceremony

If you’re provided with a booklet that describes the order of the ritual, take a quick peek. You want to know what, if anything, is expected of guests. Religious ceremonies often include group movements, words, or singing. If you keep your eyes on people in front of you, and do your best to follow along, Miss Manners will be pleased.

Even if you don’t get everything right, practical etiquette bases itself in thoughtfulness. Your baptism etiquettes shines from a joyful heart. Let that guide you.

Baptism Invitations

Here is a selection of baptism invitations. There is a wide variety, so take your time and find something you like. If you do not find exactly what you are looking for, click on the store name to go directly to the store's website to search more easily.

If you are a coupon or deal shopper, you will now find the latest deals and coupons from our various partners. In addition, there is a search box that will help you locate a specific deal or coupon for what you are looking for. If a code is needed, click on the box, and it will reveal the code and take you to the store. If no code is needed, simply click on the box, and a new window will open for the store.

Note: Below this table is a selection of related pages that you might wish to explore for more information related to baptism and the new baby's arrival.

Related Topics

If Baptism Etiquette didn't quite answer your question, here is more information on events related to the baby's arrival:

  • Baptism Gift Etiquette: If you were invited to a baptism and are looking for a gift for the baby, here is an outline of what to look for as well as some examples of gifts.

  • Invitation Etiquette: Need help on when to send the invitation? This will help. You can disregard the "Dinner" in the title, as the protocol is covered across multiple events.

  • Baby Shower Etiquette: If you are planning the baby shower, this page will help lay out the steps to be followed. It also has a selection of baby shower invitations at the bottom of the page to consider.

  • Appropriate Gift Etiquette: Stuck on choosing the "right" gift? This page will help clarify how to go about your gift selection.

  • Ms Practical Etiquette: If you are looking for a personalized answer, send your question to Miss Practical Etiquette. You will have a response within 48 hours.

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