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What to Wear to a Baptism or Christening (+ What NOT to Wear)

Figuring out what to wear to a baptism or christening is not quite as intimidating as it sounds! While other ceremonies, like weddings and funerals, have strict unspoken dress codes… this is not the case with baptisms. It is far less formal, and there aren’t any colors or patterns you should/shouldn’t wear! 

Of course, we all want to look our best on important days like these – even if there isn’t a strict dress code! This post is meant to offer a little guidance when choosing your outfit for baptisms for both men and women. 

My outfit for my Goddaughter's baptism last weekend!
My outfit for my Goddaughter’s baptism last weekend!

Outfit Tips for Baptisms

1.) Try to Dress Modestly

What do I mean by dressing modestly? These are the guidelines I think are good to keep in mind.

For women:

  • Avoid low-cut tops and short skirts/dresses. High necklines and knee-length or midi or maxi lengths are perfect!
  • Avoid extremely tight and clingy clothing. (This is not to say your attire can’t be fitted, just avoid EXTREMELY tight clothing.)
  • Avoid spaghetti straps. If it’s a hot summer day, opt for thicker straps or short sleeves.

Read next: 20 Best Sites to Shop for Baptism Dresses for Women

This is a great example of what NOT to wear to a baptism.
This is a great example of what NOT to wear to a baptism.

For men:

  • Avoid shorts. Opt for pants instead.
  • Avoid tank tops. (Polos would be a better option.)
  • When in doubt, opt for a suit or suit coat! (I’m also a fan of sweater vests in the winter!)
  • Wear nice shoes – avoid flip flops and dirty sneakers. 

I think dressing modestly is a good idea for any type of ceremony taking place in a church and is a good way to show respect. 

For guys, when in doubt, opt for a suit to wear to baptism
Perfect baptism attire all around!

2.) Wear a Cardigan/Sweater/Jacket (or Bring One Along)

Churches can be cold, even in the dead of summer. While wearing a sleeveless dress might sound like a good idea on a hot summer day, you might end up freezing halfway through the ceremony! Grab a cardigan that matches your outfit, just in case. 

3.) Wear Pants if You Want!

While many ladies tend to think you HAVE to wear a skirt or dress for these types of ceremonies… there is no reason you can’t wear pants to a baptism/christening. This is especially true if you’re attending one in the winter! The temps were well below freezing for my Goddaughter’s ceremony last weekend, and many of us opted for pants over dresses. 

4.) Consider Wearing Clothes That Can Be Easily Cleaned (Or Won’t Show Stains)

I mention this because there is always the chance of getting spit up on when holding a baby! There will also likely be other children at the ceremony that could contribute to stains as well… (speaking from experience here, haha). 

Wearing pastels for my nephew's baptism a few years ago.
Wearing pastels for my nephew’s baptism a few years ago.

5.) Embrace Colors & Happy Patterns!

There is no color or pattern that is off-limits for a baptism! White, black and polka dots are all more than fine to wear. You can never go wrong with floral prints and pastels for a baptism, in my opinion!

6.) When in Doubt, Ask the Family

If you’re still unsure, you can never go wrong with asking the family what they would like you to wear. Every family will likely have a different idea of how formal guests should dress for a baptism – so, it never hurts to ask!

Outfit Ideas for Women for Baptisms and Christenings

1.) Floral Midi Skirt for Spring

This is my outfit from my nephew’s baptism a few years ago. This skirt is a great length, and florals are a good idea, in my opinion, no matter what time of year the baptism takes place! While my top is fitted, it’s balanced out by the skirt and the neckline is also high and modest. 

Click to shop:
Similar skirts | Similar tops | Similar Flats

2.) Printed Dress With Collar (Godmother Outfit!) 

I am REALLY excited I am the godmother to my niece Claire! Her baptism was last weekend and it was FREEZING. I paired my dress with fleece-lined tights! 

I had opted for this dress, as the pear print is fun and cheery, but the cut of the dress is still modest. I’m also finding that I am a fan of wearing dresses/tops with collars for baptisms! 

Click to shop:
Dress | Similar Wedges | Similar Tights 

The next set of outfits I did not actually wear to a baptism (we don’t have too many babies in our family!), but these outfits would work too!

3.) Polka Dot Dress

Click to shop:
Similar polka dot dress here & here | Pumps | Similar handbag

4.) More Floral Midi Skirt Ideas!

Read next: How to Style a Floral Midi Skirt – 7 Outfit Ideas for Summer & Fall

Shop a similar midi skirt, here & here.

Green Goddess Dressing Vintage Dress and accessories

5.) Dress + Cardigan

Read next: Accessorizing a Vintage Dress

6.) White Midi Skirt 

Midi skirt outfit for a christening

Read next: 4 Ways to Style a White, Eyelet, Midi Skirt

If anyone has any questions, please reach out in the comments section at the end of this post!

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What to wear to a baptism or christening


  1. To Cheryl F.-Our daughter is 15 and we just had her baptized at Easter sunday mass this past Easter.All of the girls being baptized wear the traditional,poofy,short sleeve,knee length baptism dress and matching bonnet with the lace socks and white maryjane shoes.The traditional white cloth baptism diaper and rubberpants is worn under the dresses with a tee shirt as their top.The daughters baptism dress came to the top of her knees and was quite poofy! I got adult size rubberpants for her to wear over her diaper and they fit her blousy and made her look babyish under her dress.

  2. We adopted our daughter,Tiffany,when she was 14 years old,three months short of her 15th birthday.Her profile said that she was catholic,but had never recieved her Sacrements of Baptism,First Holy Communion.Shortly after we got her,we right away made arrangements to have her baptized at sunday mass. The date was set for a month later.The baptism director told us that since she is newly adopted,that she should wear the traditional white,poofy,short sleeve baptism dress,bonnet,etc.We found a cute,white,poofy,top of the knees,short sleeve dress in her size with a matching bonnet.Due to the fact that she was bedwetting some,we had her wear a cloth diaper and rubberpants to bed every night,and the Baptism director said she should have the diaper and rubberpants under the dress.So we got a white tee shirt,white tights and the white mary jane shoes to complete the outfit.The morning of her baptism,we dressed her in the parish nursery with the cloth diaper and rubberpants first,followed by the tights,tee shirt,dress,bonnet and shoes.it was very special! I wore an off white dress and the husband wore his suit and ty! The daughter looked very pure and innocent in her out fit and we knew God would accept her into his kingdom.

  3. This is a great topic to cover Lindsey!! I always have loved that floral skirt and one of these days I’ll find it at the thrift store, I hope.

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