Baptism invitations serve two essential purposes. First, they function as an announcement of an upcoming event that is considered to be very important to the baptismal candidate and his or her loved ones. Second, the invitation serves as a means of inviting specific people to be present for the event and participate in the sacred event. With this in mind, there are several basics that apply to the creation of a baptism invitation that should be considered.
In all cases, it is important for baptism invitations to provide invited parties with all the information they need in order to be present. This includes announcing the name of the individual who will be baptized along with the date, time, and location related to the event. Since the announcement is also an invitation, it is also important to phrase the verbiage so that recipients of the invitation know their presence is welcomed and appreciated.
The actual structure of the baptism invitations will depend on two key factors: the age of the baptismal candidate and the traditions of the faith community that will conduct the baptism ceremony. While many religious organizations practice christening or the baptism of infants, others limit the rite of baptism to people who are believed to have reached what is known as an age of reason or accountability. Within this structure, there may be specific elements of the ceremony that guests should know about in advance. This is particularly important when the list of invitees includes people from many different faith traditions.
Along with the verbiage and any particular instructions to the guests, the general appearance of the baptism invitations should be in keeping with the tenets of the faith that will oversee the ceremony. Conservative faiths tend to look favorably on invitations that are subdued, proper, and conservative in the selection of colors, paper size and thickness. Faiths that tend to lean more toward a non-creedal approach to religion may be open to the use of baptism invitations that are loaded with color, are structured with interesting and fun folds and flaps, and in general focus more on the celebratory nature of the event.
When sending out baptism invitations of any type, it is a good idea to also enclose RSVP cards and stamped envelopes for a reply. This is very helpful in making sure that accommodations can be made for out of town attendees as well as help plan for any gatherings that may take place after the completion of the rite. Generally, the appearance of the cards should be similar to that of the invitations, keeping each element in harmony with the other.
As a general rule, baptism invitations should be mailed several weeks in advance, or at least with as much advance notice as possible. The idea is to allow invited guests as much time as possible to arrange their schedules so they can attend the baptismal ceremony. This is especially important when some of the guests will be traveling significant distances in order to attend the baptismal ceremony.
While it is easy to get caught up in the mechanics of designing the ideal baptismal invitation, it is important to never lose sight of the spiritual significance of the event. In the end, that is the one element of the ceremony that will have continue to have meaning. For this reason, don’t allow the process of creating baptism invitations overshadow the significance of the event itself.