Our Baby Boy's Baptism

Monday, August 1, 2016

On July 17th, 2016 our baby boy was baptized as a Greek Orthodox Christian at St. Nicholas church in Scarborough.  This is the same church where I grew up, had many fond memories as a child, and also later married my husband.

It certainly was a special day in our family's story and for this reason, I wanted to share a small glimpse of it with all of you!

Our BIG Greek family, including the Godparents!

Since I guess the term "simple" is not part of my vocabulary, I kind of went a little bit overboard... Or for those who know me well, I just did what I always do which is pay attention to the tiny details.  ALL of them!  From the Godparent proposal, to the invitations, to the decor, to our matching outfits, and the list goes on...

I know that planning events can be stressful, but honestly I really love watching everything come together!  Trusting that all ideas/materials are intentional and meant to be part of the piece to a grander puzzle or day.  Of course, hosting my son's first ever party on this Earth was a particularly enjoyable process for me!  It sure beat writing essays, and was a welcomed change in pace from my PhD studies! 

Throughout this blog post, you will notice some one of a kind additions.  My mom and I hand-made many of the unique items, and I had the help of my amazing family/friends (you know who you are! THANK YOU!) to either assemble materials, create play dough, bake, drop-off/set-up/clean-up, babysit, or let me borrow what matched our chosen theme.

Can you believe that my mom embroidered this? - P.S. One detail we forgot was to properly tie his shoe laces above!

I also had the great privilege of collaborating with some pretty AMAZING professionals, and know that without their excellent services and products our day would not have been the same! If you continue to read this post, you will discover who I partnered with.  In addition, I created a list with the details (at the bottom) for your own reference or curiosity!

Please note that this is only a snapshot of our day... In future posts, I will go into greater detail about the event coordination, a few of my collaborations, and the children's creative corners.

The church service:

This is my brother (Godfather) adding the oil, which later was also placed on my son's head.

The Godmother's picked the outfit that Baby S changed into.

My brother and his wife (holding the S candle), along with two of my husband's closest friends (the other couple above holding the candles) will guide our baby boy through his journey of life!  It's a big job, so we chose two positive male role models and their loving partners! Fun fact - Ari knew his friend Claudia since Kindergarten and she later married one of his high school friends!!!!!  See how important those early relationships are?

We love our nieces and nephews, and they joined us to watch the service from up close!

In my humble opinion, the church service is what mattered the most.  Though the rest was fun to plan, in the end it was just frills compared to the meaning of baptism.  Holy Baptism is the first of seven sacraments in the Orthodox Christian faith.

We are so grateful to God for blessing us with our sweet baby boy!

The following sections of this blog post are dedicated to the frills!  Everything was setup at our venue, and later after the church it was where we held the reception dinner for our guests.

Welcome tables, guest book, gifts, and more:

This evil eye pillow was given to me by my own Godmother when I was pregnant.  My Nona (Godmother) lives in Greece and though she may be far away, always thinks of me!  The colours of the pillow, and the texture of burlap inspired my theme!  

Can you tell that this is a cloud?  It's my table seating chart!

My mom and I made these martiriatika (baptismal pins) for all of the guests to wear!  

The children were given either books, homemade play dough, bear rattles, and blankets depending on their age!

I styled these areas using photographs from our newborn session, some of my son's special nursery items or gifts, and other objects to match the theme of "Hopes and Dreams." The ladders were rented from @joaniweddingdecor.  To maintain the rustic feel, I incorporated wood throughout the decor, as well as lace, burlap, whicker baskets, and wild flowers.

The guest book was non-traditional.  It was a wooden puzzle for my son to use when he gets older, and each family member or friend who attended signed a message on the back.

The flowers and rustic decor:

I wanted something a little bit different than a single arrangement at each table.  With a rustic theme in mind, I thought that having a few smaller mason jars on top of wood with varying combinations would give it the wild flower feel!  I worked with @bloomsbytanya, and loved how elegantly she created each centrepiece and hallway display.  It felt like a miniature garden for fairies!  

All of the wood and rustic decor came from @joaniweddingdecor.  She had so much selection to choose from, that matched perfectly with my vision!  

The sweets:

I planned/styled the sweets table (#EventsTransformEd) and handmade the backdrop using wooden skids and ribbon in the theme colour palette of white, beige, tan, and soft shades of blue.  Adding a wooden bench from my classroom in front of the table varied the heights of the desserts and candy.

The cake, mini cupcakes, macaroons, and white chocolate pyramids were made by @cakesandcupcakesbymelissa.  Her sweets tasted amazing, and their appearance was like a piece of artwork.  The cake, believe it or not, actually looked like real bark!  Scroll back up and take a look!

The candies and chocolates were handpicked and assembled by @caramelacandy01.  I was so appreciative that she stayed to help me with the setup of the event, all of which I did early in the morning of the baptism before rushing home to change and make it to the church on time!!!  It was a crazy morning, that's for sure!  Thanks Jean for making our day sweeter!

The greek pastries, including all of the blue mini cokes (they look like tiny light blue hamburgers with cream in the middle!) came from @seranobakery on the Danforth.  Thank you to my mother-in-law for picking everything up.  I must confess that I was actually eating these for a few days following the event!  P.S. If you ever go to this bakery, it feels like you have walked right into Greece!  It's worth a visit just to experience this sweet aromatic smell!

Finally, the custom cake topper sign in blue was made by Sandra Macri from @myfancysigns.  She also made one with my son's name for a flower arrangement (above in the welcome tables section).  They were just the right touch of sparkle for our event!  Also a nice keepsake that we are currently using as a bookmark in his nursery.

The creative children's corners:

Creative Expressions through the Arts - Open Ended Process

Hands-on Sensory Explorations - Playdough 

Thinking and Constructing - Loose Parts

Science and Discovery - Colour Investigation

Literacy Learning - Drawing and Writing Simple Messages

Adult Colouring and Relaxation

Reading and Resting for Babies and Beyond

In my opinion, I think that every event which includes children should really have something setup for them to participate in. Sitting through a five-course meal can be really long and hard, especially for the little ones!  It's no wonder that they either end up on their iPads all night or running around the venue.

Having the various spaces of possibilities for them to explore, meant that they were completely engaged and no one was getting into trouble!

I will write a little bit more about this, as I only gave you a sneak peek!  One of the areas on the floor with the building materials came from @LouiseKool & Galt.  You should see how the children and families interacted with everything and what the created!

Every provocation was planned and arranged by me, and I started to use the tag #EventsTransformed - a section of TransformEd Consulting Services.

My husband's immediate family.  I was so fortunate to have my mother-in-law help the morning of this special day with all of the setup details!  

Thanking our guests and explaining the children's creative corners for them to explore!

The Godparents with their own babies!! Can't wait to watch them all grow up together!

Our nieces and nephews saying the prayer before we ate dinner.

My parents!  You can see from Sebby's smile that he adores them too!

Our family (minus our Jack Russell Terrier dog Ruby) ! P.S. Sebastian clearly was more interested in my bracelets than the photo!

Again thank you from my heart to our family, the Godparents, friends, and collaborative partners for making Baby S' baptism so special!  My husband and I chose to give a donation in Sebastian Dean's name to the Angel Foundation for Learning.  We are happy to know that our contribution will help children in the Toronto Catholic District School Board (where I first started my education journey) attend field trips or have breakfast before class.

Wishing you and your loved ones a happy rest of the summer! There is so much to see, do, and be thankful for!


Party Planning + Coordination + Styling -  #EventsTransformEd  a section of TransformEd Consulting Services @joannebabalis that specializes in creative experiences for children and the young at heart!

Flower arrangements - @bloomsbytanya

Cake, mini cupcakes, white chocolate pyramids, and macaroons - @cakesandcupcakesbymelissa

Greek pastries - @Serano Bakery

Candy and chocolates - @Carmela Candy Subscriptions

Rustic decor rentals - @joaniweddingdecor

Children's Creative Corners + Art Activities -#EventsTransformEd  a section of TransformEd Consulting Services @joannebabalis that specializes in creative experiences for children and the young at heart!

Flower and cake topper signs - @myfancysigns

Wooden blocks and building materials - @LouiseKool & Galt

All photos are from VCM.  Thanks so much! We loved them!

Please contact me if you are ever interested in having #EventsTransformEd plan something special for your children's events!  More to follow on another post...  I can't seem to write fast enough, for all that I want to say/share!

If you ever wanna know what 

a creative person's mind feels like,

imagine a browser with 2, 857 tabs open.

All. The. Time.



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