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The History of the Christening Gown

During early baptism (around AD 160-220), babies were wrapped in plain swaddling bands. Swaddling bands were more restrictive than the muslins we swaddle newborns in today. 

From the time of Jesus, swaddling bands were tied around the right hands of a couple getting married during their wedding ceremony. Hence the expression ‘tie the knot’! The same bands were then used to swaddle a baby born to that couple for their baptism. The swaddling bands used for marriages and baptisms had evolved to include elaborate, symbolic embroidery.

The Modern History of the Christening Gown

In the 17th century, infants were required to be fully immersed in water for baptism. As such, a new style of christening gown emerged in order that a baby could be unclothed and redressed quickly in (often) very cold churches!

By the 18th century, full immersion had been stopped and swaddling was called into question for health reasons. This is when the long recognisable Victorian gowns that we’re familiar with today first appeared. At that time, gowns were usually silk or satin and babies would wear petticoats underneath.

Christening gowns were modeled after women’s fashion in the 19th Century, with a high short bodice, low scooped boat neck adjustable with drawstrings and a high gathered waist.

When the 20th century arrived, white linen or cotton gowns grew in popularity, often covered in broderie anglaise lace and floral embroidery. 

Choosing a Christening Gown

And today, ANNAFIE has drawn on the rich heritage of the christening gowns to create the perfect ceremony dress. The design and materials have longevity at the core, designed to last and be passed down through the generations, as family heirlooms. 

The ROYAL and CHRISTINA gowns are a perfect union of traditional style and modern comfort. Simple, romantic silhouettes with long skirts to drape gracefully over your arm as you carry your baby, and Intricate rose embroidery and smocking on the chest, create a classic contemporary ceremony gown.

The LOUIS romper and BLANCHE dress are also popular choices for christenings, communions, weddings and other special occasions.

Do Christening Gowns Have to be White?

In modern times, Christening Gowns generally don’t follow the same strict rules that may have been required in the past, so your child can wear whatever you choose. However, to stick with tradition, our selection of christening gowns are both white.

Further reading

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