Christening Etiquette for Godmothers
29 SEP 2017
Being asked to be a godmother is a huge honor and is a wonderful way to bond with the newest baby in your family or circle of close friends. As the godmother, you should be aware of certain rules of etiquette, so the ceremony will be especially memorable.
1 Attending the Ceremony
Godmothers are expected to attend the christening of their godchildren, even if they live out of town. It is best to make travel arrangements as far in advance as possible, as a godmother is usually aware of her role before the baby is born or shortly after the birth. Traditionally, two godmothers are chosen if the child is a girl, and both should be present for the ceremony if possible. If a godmother is not able to attend, it is acceptable etiquette to ask another woman who is close to the family to act as a stand-in for the christening. However, godmother "duties" are not transferred to the stand-in.
2 Standing with Family
The godmother is expected to stand with the parents during the christening as a sign of support. It is common for the godmother to stand closest to the parents and the baby, while additional family members surround the infant. Some parents may choose to have the godmother stand during the part in the ceremony where the presiding member of clergy asks if the godmother is committed to caring for the child as her own if anything should happen to the infant's parents.
3 Holding the Baby
Godmothers may have the privilege of holding the infant while the baby is being baptized or given his Biblical name. The godmother may also hold the child while the prayer or blessing is being said for the infant. It is also common for the godmother to hold the baby while the parents of the child are participating in other parts of the ceremony, such as repeating vows presented by the clergy.
4 Christening Readings
The baby's parents may request that the godmother provide a reading that is dedicated to the infant at the christening. A short poem or heartfelt sentiment expressing the godmother's love for the child and commitment to providing support for the baby throughout life is appropriate. Godmothers can also read Bible verses or religious passages that reflects both the joy and seriousness of the occasion.
5 Christening Presents
The godmother is often the woman who buys the most elaborate gift for the baby, especially if the child is female. In some cases, the godmother will have a hand in selecting the infant's christening outfit or will purchase the blanket or bonnet that the baby wears for the ceremony. Other gifts from the godmother are given after the christening and can include a crib or additional furniture for the nursery or a monetary gift, such as a significant contribution to the child's college fund.