Choosing your baby's Christening outfit
Choosing your baby's Christening outfit
Today we have more choice of Christening attire than ever before and things have come a long way from the traditional white Christening gown that the Victorians introduced us to. This choice is nice to have but can make things more daunting, if not confusing, when trying to decide on the right outfit for your baby. We have made a short list of things to consider when choosing your baby’s Christening wear that may help you in your decision making - but remember that as long as you have chosen something that you like and that your baby is comfortable in you won’t go far wrong.
White is the traditional colour of choice. Throughout history white has been the colour of an infants’ Christening gown. White symbolises purity and new life in the Christian faith. For the Catholic baby girl the white Christening gown is the first of her three white dresses in the most important rites of passage in her life; Baptism, First Holy Communion and Wedding.
Today the colour choice has been extended not only to ivory but also pastel shades of pink for baby girls and blue for a little boy. Before you make your decision on colour, however, remember to check with your priest or vicar that any colour other than white is acceptable. For a baby’s Naming Ceremony it is perfectly acceptable to choose whichever colour you feel happy with.
This can be anything from an elaborate gown to a simple dress or suit. Only you will know what you feel comfortable with and what will suit you, your family and your budget.
Gowns can be traditional in style, long in length in either white or ivory with a simple bodice and full skirt. For a contemporary feel many designers have introduced tulle skirts or heavy embroidery with beads and sequins. Gowns do not have to break the budget and many are made in fabrics such as satin backed dupion which gives the appearance of silk at a fraction of the cost.
Gowns are suitable for both boys and girls and whilst some gowns may be too feminine for your little boy, there are many that use simple styling that baby boys look gorgeous in.
Christening dresses have a more contemporary look and feel about them. Shorter in design to the traditional gown they are suitable for Baptisms, Christenings and Naming Ceremonies. Christening dresses come in a wider range of colours to suit all taste.
For boys, as well as the gown, there is the choice of either a romper or a suit. Most rompers consist of an all in one with a jacket or waistcoat over. The colour choice is usually either white or ivory but many designers are now introducing pale blue or navy. Your little boy can also wear a four or five piece suit and these are particularly popular for Naming Ceremonies.
It is important that your baby feels comfortable on his or her special day. You can help ensure this by making sure the Christening outfit you have chosen fits well. Many Christening clothes come up smaller than day to day baby wear, so if your baby is going to be between sizes or at the upper end of the age range it is usually best to opt for the larger size.
There are many items available to complete your baby’s Christening outfit. You may wish to consider socks/tights and shoes in a matching or co-ordinating colour. A cardigan, cape or shawl is a good idea as even on the warmest days some churches can be rather cold. For little girls, heads may be covered with a simple bonnet or elegant hat and in summer months a pretty co-ordinating headband can be worn. Boys can wear either a matching hat or beret.
One or two Christening bibs will help keep baby’s gown or outfit in pristine condition throughout the day and if your little one is wearing a full length gown you may even want to consider a simpler outfit to change into if there is to be an after ceremony celebration.
Creating your own Heirloom Christening gown
If you would love to have a family heirloom to pass on through the generations of your family then you can always start your own with your baby’s gown. It is best to choose a gown that is of a classic design and not too contemporary that may easily ‘date’. After wear ensure that the gown is completely clean and dry and wrap in several layers of acid and chlorine free tissue paper (not coloured as the colour may transfer onto the garment). The gown should be stored in a dry place away from sunlight. You can buy specialist boxes to store your gown in to keep them preserved and these can be found in Wedding specialist shops and websites. To the box add a record of your baby’s name, the date worn and a few ceremony details such as; place and names of Godparents. You can even add a photograph of the gown being worn which will give future generations a sense of history and will make a lovely item to pass on.