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Baptism and christening ceremonies are a significant event in the young life of any child, and choosing the right christening gown or baptismal outfit is an important part of the event for every family. Traditionally gowns are white, which makes the planning aspect somewhat easier, but choosing the right style will contribute to the classic tradition of the ceremony. There are hundreds of choices widely available, so it should be easy to make the decision once you know what your options are.

Girls and boys both traditionally wear gowns to their christening, although there are rompers and shorts sets available as well. These are equally classic, but may break with tradition somewhat. Additionally, girls’ gowns are often more detailed than outfits for boys, but families often forgo this tradition. Outfits for either sex are widely available in satin, organza and shantung for elaborate looks, as well as simple cotton blends for a gentle traditional look. Many girls’ outfits also come in taffeta and tulle, which are somewhat more difficult to find for boys, and beadwork often shows up on baptismal gowns for both boys and girls.

The outfits rarely end at just the gown or romper, with dozens of options for accessorizing and matching. Many outfits come with a cap that matches the gown in fabric, pattern and style. Some rompers come with matching cloth booties, although boys or girls dress shoes often come separately, in a range of styles of their own. Boys and girls alike often wear white boots that may be embellished with a cross, a dove, or another spiritual symbol, and Mary Jane style strap-on shoes are particular popular with little girls. Of course, it is perfectly acceptable to use booties instead, as there are dozens of appropriate options in white silk and satin.

Christening accessories may become a keepsake, part of the ceremony itself and later set aside to give to the child when he or she is old enough to understand. For this reason, many christening gowns are accompanied by a set of prayer beads, often soft pearls or white crystals that gently complement the gown, dress or romper. For very young children, parents may elect to buy a special christening blanket to act as security during the ceremony, and let the child keep it later. Other accessories may not hold significance to the event itself, but may contribute to the child’s traditional outfit, such as a white cap or a satin bib.

Christenings serve a purpose to celebrate the beginning of a new life, which makes the ceremonies significant to the child themselves and the parent who intends to nurture this life. For this reason, choosing the right gown or romper is also significant in that it contributes to the ceremony. Often, parents will keep sentimental photos or video from the event long after the christening has passed, and these may serve as some of the earliest formal photos of the child. By expressing the tradition of the christening itself through the choice of gown, parents are ensuring that the event holds all the significance that they want for their child, and that it will be memorable to them for a lifetime.