A Greek Orthodox baptism is one of the first and by far most precious occasions in your baby’s life. From choosing a child’s name, deciding on Godparents, down to planning all the fine details for this special event- there is a lot of decision making and preparing for parents, ahead of the big day.
GCT chatted with Lia and Stelios, the creative masterminds behind White Events- a leading and award winning event styling business based in Rhodes, who have helped hundreds and hundreds of parents from Greece and abroad plan their little one’s joyous occasion.
They tell us what is traditionally required for a Greek baptism, as well as share their most popular styling tips for 2016.
What is the first thing parents should do when organising a baptism?
Firstly, they need to talk to the church where they are planning on baptising their child. They should see what official papers they will need to provide- this includes things such as their baby’s birth certificate, as well as parents' and Godparents' baptism certificates. If you are baptising in Greece and are from overseas, you will need these papers officially translated and certified, so it's best you know what is required well ahead of time.
Depending on which country you are baptising your child, you also need to chat to the priest about how many names you are allowed to give your child- for example in some countries, you aren’t allowed a middle name, whereas in Rhodes you are. It is also best to ask how many Godparents are allowed- in Greece you may have more than one however in other nations, it is only one Godparent that is allowed to baptise.
Can you tell us when you started your business in the baptism industry?
White Events opened in 2008 but our styling work began in 2010. We always had a love for styling and design, especially for happy occasions such as these.
How many of you make up the White Events team?
There are two of us who own White Events- Stelios and Lia, however when there is an actual event, there can be up to six of us working- maybe even more depending on the size and details of the event required.
What services do you provide for parents and Godparents?
We actually have all the necessities required for an entire Greek baptism, from products including baptism outfits, shoes, the under garments, sheet, towel, boxes, lambada, oil set, invitations and bonbonniere. We are also able to decorate both the church and venue afterwards, so really we can organise the entire baptism from start to finish.
Traditionally, what products are purchased by the parents and what do the Godparents buy?
Parents traditionally buy the invitations, bonbonniere and gifts for the Godparents. The Godparents purchase the box with all of the baptism essentials that go inside it; including outfit, shoes, holy sheets, oil set, Lambada (candle), martirika (witness pins) and also the cross. In Greece, many Godparents also purchase a second set of clothes, which is for when the baby is bathed.
What Greek traditions should parents keep in mind for after the baptism?
After the baptism the baby must be taken to church three times with their Godparent(s) to have Kinonia (Holy Communion). They also take the lambada (candle from the baptism) to be lit and on the third occasion, they leave the candle at the church. The baby should not be bathed straight after being baptised. Only three days following the date of the baptism, the baby should be bathed by the Godparent(s). The water that is used to cleanse the newly baptised infant should not be flushed down the drain, but should be taken and spread into the ocean or around the garden. The same should be done with the water used to wash the baptismal clothing, which should also be cleaned separately from any other items.
Do you travel around for events or are you only available in Rhodes?
We are based in Rhodes, however that doesn’t stop us from styling events in any part of Greece, or even beyond- we would go anywhere in the world to decorate and style a baptism.
What themes are popular at the moment for baptisms?
In the last few years what has been extremely popular is vintage, rustic and shabby chic and this is continuing through to 2016. The candy bar really is a must and for us at White Events it’s an inseparable part of our styling. Also very much in fashion at the moment is the cooling station, which includes homemade lemonade, iced tea and fresh juices. Since in Greece we have a very hot summer- this is the perfect addition to an event.
What is most popular with bonbonniere right now?
In terms of bonbonniere, the most popular at the moment are the use of different materials, little bags, and also wooden ornaments, depending of course on the theme of the baptism.
What do you love most about your business?
We love that each time we are able to achieve a look that is individual and we are able to customise an event to suit each client’s style. We are always doing something different, which means we are never bored and we are able to make our clients happy at one of the most special and joyous occasions in their lives, which is the honour of baptising their child.