Given the current economic climate, planning a lavish christening or naming ceremony celebration may seem a bit reckless. However, with a bit of forward planning and these top tips from the experts at MyBabyCelebration.co.uk, you can still celebrate in style, whatever your budget.
• Plan ahead
Be realistic about what you can afford and stick to your budget. Plan well ahead as budget considerations tend to go out of the window when things are last minute.
Identify the elements that are really important to you and assign your budget accordingly. You may have your heart set on a beautiful christening gown for your baby – the compromise could be to serve sparkling wine rather than champagne for the toast.
• Size matters
Think carefully about how many guests to invite as this will influence where you have the celebration and greatly affect the catering costs. Send invitations early and ask for responses by a particular date so that you know exactly how many guests to budget and cater for.
• Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount
By avoiding the busy Christmas party and wedding seasons you should have more bargaining power. Ask about late availability and cancellation deals. Sunday tends to be a quieter day for venues so don’t be afraid to ask for a discount, particularly if you are using their catering services.
• Reduce catering costs
If you are having caterers choose a main course and dessert rather than 3 courses or eliminate the dessert and serve christening cake instead.
Consider the new trend for bowl food - dishes eaten from a bowl using a fork. Warming for a winter celebration, it is also economical and hassle-free as it can be prepared in large quantities in advance. For a lighter alternative, serve a traditional afternoon tea or simply champagne and cake.
Enquire about any corkage charges at your venue. The cost savings of providing your own wine and/or champagne may seem small per bottle but it soon adds up when you are catering for large group. Alternatively have a pay bar or limit the money behind the bar.
Consider hiring out a pub rather than having it at home – guests will think nothing of paying for their own drinks in a bar – you can always stand the first round or provide a few bottles of celebratory fizz.
Look out for supermarket and wine club specials on wine, champagne and beer – most offer great discounts when buying by the case. Many also offer a sale or return service as well as free glass hire.
• Less is more
Use a few high impact decorations. Plain white tablecloths and crockery borrowed from friends and family are perfect to set off a simple flower arrangement on the buffet table. Raid grandparents’ attics for china teasets to mix and match for a fashionable vintage look.
Fabric bunting and garlands can often be as cost effective as banners and paper decorations as well as being reusable for future birthday parties.
• Revive and recycle
Many christening traditions are based on reusing items with a special significance such as keeping the top layer of a wedding cake for the christening cake or handing down a family christening gown. Specialist dry cleaners and restoration services may be able to help revive an aging heirloom rather than have to replace it with a new one.
Recycle Christmas decorations for an atmospheric winter celebration. Wind fairy lights and winter garlands round door frames, banisters and fireplaces to evoke a magical winter wonderland feel.
• Share the load
Godparents, grandparents and other family members may like to contribute to the celebration in lieu of a present, for example by buying the christening gown, providing the champagne or buying/making the cake.
For more insight, ideas and inspiration on throwing a christening or naming ceremony for your baby, go to www.mybabycelebration.co.uk
For more information, contact Rachel Fry, firstname.lastname@example.org or 01727 893677
www.mybabycelebration.co.uk is the only UK-wide website exclusively dedicated to christenings and naming ceremonies and includes in-depth information on a range of subjects as well as online planning tools. The site provides comprehensive articles, ideas and supplier directories on venues, catering, entertainment, gifts, venue decoration, outfits and more. There’s also a section specifically addressing the role of godparents so that both the parents and the chosen godparents know what to expect. For sleep deprived mums who need some organisational help, the online planning tools make organising a celebration simple. They include an online guest list and gift tracker, table planner, budget tool and supplier short list – all of which are free to use. The site also lets parents share their experiences and get ideas and inspiration from others who’re also planning a celebration.
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