The honor of asking close relatives to become godparents is a familiar tradition in many parts of the world. Strongly rooted in the Christian faith, godparents are also part of African, Jewish and Chinese customs. Among Christians, these surrogate parents are usually selected at the time of a child’s baptism to guide them along their spiritual journey. According to the Vatican’s Code of Canon Law 874, godparents “help the baptized person to lead a Christian life.”
As spiritual advisors, godparents also have a special role during weddings. Traditionally, they offer their blessings of the nuptials and stand as witnesses to the marriage covenant. They are also expected to pledge their own vows to God and the couple during the ceremony to serve as role models, confidants, and protectors of the union.
In Romania, the godparents purchased the unity candles and hold them during the ceremony. Latino godparents typically present the couple with a Bible and rosary while Serbian godparents toss metal coins at the newlyweds as they leave the church to bless them with a life of prosperity.
There Are Many Ways That You Can Show Your Appreciation to a Godparent During Your Wedding
- Request their presence at the rehearsal dinner.
- Include them in the prelude to the processional. Ushers should escort godparents down the aisle after your grandparents and before your parents.
- Give them a special boutonniere or corsage. While you can make it distinct to recognize the role they play in your lives, it should be slightly smaller than those worn by grandparents and parents.
- Include them in formal pictures with your photographer.
- Invite them to recite a reading during the ceremony that provides advice on marriage.
- Reserve a seat of honor for them at the reception.
- Feature their names on the wedding invitation or add a special thank you in the wedding program.
- Ask them to deliver a toast at the prenuptial parties or reception.
- Present them with a personalized gift that shows your appreciation for the lifelong support they have provided. A framed photo of the two of you together at your baptism and wedding will become a treasured keepsake for your godparent.
Godparents Can Offer Their Support for the Marriage in a Number of Ways as Well
- Providing financial assistance. It is traditional in Latino weddings for the padrinos and madrinas to help cover the costs of the lavish celebration.
- Checking in with the bride and groom throughout the wedding planning process to offer guidance on planning and advice on marriage.
- Delivering a ceremonial reading or a reception toast.
- Praying for the couple before and after the marriage.
- Working with the maid of honor or best man to plan the prenuptial parties.
- Presenting the couple with a special spiritual gift during the ceremony, such as a Bible or rosary.
- Checking in with your godchild just before the ceremony to ease any last-minute jitters or to offer words of spiritual encouragement.
- If your godchild has a deceased or absent parent, then the traditional parental responsibilities become yours. This can include hosting the engagement party, walking the bride down the aisle or participating in traditional wedding dances.
- Providing ongoing support throughout the marriage, including advice on overcoming relationship challenges, helpful tips on child rearing, and guidance on spiritual matters.