Helpful guide to choosing Godparents
If you're thinking about Godparents for your new arrival, read on
What are Godparents?
Godparents derive from the Christian faith, and date back to the 2nd century when baptisms became common. Traditionally they were responsible for ensuring a child’s religious education and helping to grow their faith, in addition to caring for the child should they become orphaned.
Nowadays, they are still an important part of a baby’s christening and are chosen to take on the role of nurturing a child throughout their life alongside the parents, whether that be religiously or as a close friend and mentor to the child.
How many Godparents can my child have?
You can have as many Godparents as you like for your child. However, for a Church of England service, at least 3 Godparents are required. In this circumstance, it’s usually the case that a girl will have 2 Godmothers and 1 Godfather and a boy to have 2 Godfathers and 1 Godmother.
Who should I choose to be my baby’s Godparents?
When you’re thinking about who to choose as your baby’s godparents, it can be helpful to begin by making a list of everything you’re looking for from them and keep this in mind when making your decision. A few things you might want to consider are:
How long and well you’ve known them - you want to be sure you can trust them and they are dependable. Chances are if you known them for a long time, they’re likely to stick around for the duration of your baby’s childhood and falling out of touch won’t be an issue
Logistics and lifestyle - if you want them their for your child’s birthdays, school plays, graduation you probably don’t want to choose someone who lives the other side of the world or spends all their waking hours working
Their values and beliefs - you’ll probably want to choose Godparents who share the same values and beliefs as yourself. This may be religious beliefs or principles by which they choose to live life by
Can family members be chosen as Godparents too?
Yes, blood relatives and members of family can be chosen as your child’s Godparents too. You can also be your own child’s Godparents in the Christian faith.
Do you have to have been christened to be a Godparent?
Individual churches will have different views on whether your child’s Godparents will need to have been christened. Some may ask that all Godparents have been christened in order to fulfill their role, or others may be happy to perform the service if only one person has.
When and how should I ask them to be my baby’s Godparents?
It’s really up to you to decide when you’d like to ask someone to be a Godparent for your child. You may like to ask them as soon as you know you’re pregnant or perhaps a little later down the line when your baby is born and baptism plans in place.
There are lots of lovely ways to ask someone to be a Godparent as well. You can find some personalised cards as a way of asking them or send them a thoughtful poem. Maybe you’d feel more comfortable just asking them face to face over dinner or giving them a call to chat through your decision and what you’re expecting from them.
What if they turn down my offer?
There can be many different reasons for someone to not accept an offer of a Godparent. Often it can be down to the religious aspect that people are not comfortable with, or perhaps they don’t feel they fulfill the responsibility of the role.
It’s important to listen and trust their reasons even if you’re upset with the answer you get. Chances are, you’ll both agree the decision isn’t for the best if there are doubts involved.
You might also like to read our guide to Christening outfits to help with the preparations!