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What to wear to a christening in 2024: Outfit ideas and inspiration for Christening guests

We’ve found the best christening guest outfit ideas plus the etiquette to follow

best christening outfits
Carla Challis
Commerce Partnerships Editor
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Spring is the optimum time for the christening invites to start rolling in, and if you’ve got a few in your calendar over the next few months, deciding what to wear to a christening is probably top of the list – there’s plenty of ideas on present ideas for the baby, but an outfit for guests is a whole new ball game.

While there's no rules on christening outfits for women, the celebrations do have an unwritten dress code of men wearing suits, or at least smart trousers and a shirt, and female christening guests wearing venue appropriate dresses or suits. Read on for the dos, don'ts and outfit inspiration.

Best christening outfits at a glance

The floral dress for a christening: Yumi Floral Wrap Dress, £60 at John Lewis / $67 at Yumi

The tea dress for a christening: M&S Midaxi Tea Dress, £39.50 at Marks & Spencer / $69.99 at Marks & Spencer

The polka dot dress: Chiffon Halter Neck Top, £159 at Phase Eight / $258 at Phase Eight

The shirt dress for a christening: Floral Shirt Dress, £40 at River Island / $74 at River Island

The ultra-feminine dress for a christening: & Other Stories Linen Blend Bustier Dress, £135 at ASOS / $67.90 (save 65%) at ASOS

Is there a dress code for christenings?

Since christenings are formal occasions, usually held in a place of worship or a smart venue, a christening guest outfit should follow suit.

For women, this tends to mean floral dresses, usually below the knee; you can wear sleeveless or cami straps, but I think bandeau dresses would be a no-go – add a blazer or boucle jacket to keep it modest. A smart suit, skirt co-ord or even trouser co-ord works too.

The most popular style for women is a floral, floaty dress, but don’t overlook the more structured style of a shift dress, or the whimsical shape of a tea dress. I for one love soft silhouettes for a christening, like pleated skirts in playful prints, and off-shoulder shirred bust dresses in pastel shades with big puffy sleeves. Baring your shoulders isn’t banned, just be sure to make sure the rest of the dress is quite covered up, like a maxi length, and not too fitted either.

Just always remember that this is a formal occasion, and trainers and jeans are frowned upon.

How I chose the best christening outfits for guests

Modest dress: While it isn’t a no-go to bare shoulders or knees, an element of decorum should be remembered when dressing for a christening. The pieces I’ve chosen are all at least midi length, and feel modest even if a shoulder shown - nothing is too fitted or tight.

Colour: I’ve opted for spring, pastel shades or block colours in cheery shades. An all-black outfit isn’t normally seen at a christening, but can be woven in with trousers, skirts or accessories so I kept this in mind when choosing the edit.

Price: Most of the time, you’ll find occasion wear can be on the pricier side. With that in mind, I've made it my mission to include fashion across a range of budgets.

Best outfits to wear for a christening

  1. 1/15

    Yumi Floral Dipped Hem Midi Dress

    John Lewis Christening Outfit

    John Lewis Christening Outfits

    Sizes available: UK 8 - 22

    Colours available: Green, mint green, blue, light blue, yellow, pink, 

    Shipping: Free click and collect or free on orders over £50 

    Returns: Free within 28 days 

    John Lewis is a great retailer for christening outfits, stocking a range of styles across occasion wear.

    This Yumi dress is a bestseller, and ideal for those wanting something floral, floaty but modest; the long sleeves are sheer, but the length keeps you covered up.

    The kimono, fit and flare shape will accentuate your waist and the midi length is spot on for a christening. Add neutral heels to let the dress take the spotlight.

  2. 2/15

    Phase Eight Naomi Spot Chiffon Dress

    Phase Eight dress

    Phase Eight Christening Outfits

    Sizes available: UK 6 - 20

    Shipping: £2.95 Standard Delivery or free for orders over £150

    Returns: Free within 28 days

    If you want something a little more glam, a halter neck dress bridges the gap between modesty and modern. Phase Eight's chiffon design is a floaty and feminine fit, with a pale pink background with faint black spots dotted over it.

    You could wear a boucle blazer or jacket over it, in neutral or white, to cover up on a chillier day.

  3. 3/15

    Marks & Spencer Midaxi Tea Dress

    Marks & Spencer tea dress

    Marks & Spencer Christening Outfits

    Sizes available: UK 6-24

    Colours available: Blue

    Shipping: £3.99 Standard Delivery or free for orders over £60

    Returns: Free within 35 days

    Another tea dress, this time a super affordable one for £39 from M&S. The pale blue is a brilliant shade for most skin tones, and the length is a little on the longer side so would work well with heels or even fancy flats.

  4. 4/15

    Karen Millen Tailored Structured Crepe Dress

    Karen Millen Dress

    Karen Millen Christening Outfits

    Sizes available: UK 6 - 16

    Colours available: Pink and green

    Shipping: £4.99 Standard Delivery or free with Karen Millen Premier

    Returns: £2 within 28 days or free with Karen Millen Premier

    This Karen Millen crepe dress is giving royal, with its longer sleeves, pleated skirt and structured aesthetic - it's a smarter option if the venue calls for it.

    The pale pink is dreamy for spring, but there's also a mid-green if that's your colour. 

  5. 5/15

    Jolie Moi Danika Keyhole Neck Mesh Dress

    Debenhams Christening Outfits

    Debenhams Christening Outfits

    Sizes available: UK 8 - 20

    Shipping: Free for orders over £15

    Returns: Within 28 days

    For those wanting a formal yet feminine dress, try this polka dot dress. Jolie Moi's midi dress has a flattering keyhole neck, to show a little skin, but modest long sleeves and a chiffon-sheer fabric to give it a whimsical finish. 

    The butterfly sleeves are worth noting, as is the cinched in waist - universally flattering.

  6. 6/15

    River Island Blue Floral Belted Shirt Dress

    River Island Christening Outfits

    River Island Christening Outfits

    Sizes available: UK 6 - 18, Petite and Plus also available

    Shipping: £4 Standard Delivery or free on orders over £50

    Returns: Free within 28 days

    River Island's belted shirt dress is very similar to a toile de jouy designer midi that Meghan Markle wore to a wedding in 2016. River Island's version is a shirt dress, which can be worn as loose or tight as is comfortable, and add a pair of heeled sandals and you're christening ready.

  7. 7/15

    Oasis Ruched Pleated Tiered Floral Midi Dress

    Oasis christening dress

    Oasis Christening Outfits

    Sizes available: UK 10 - 14

    Shipping: £3.95 Standard Delivery or free for orders over £150

    Returns: Free within 28 days

    I adore this Oasis dress, which looks far more expensive than it is. It really does look christening perfect, as it's pretty, flouncy without be OTT.

    Wear with cream heels or even a pink rose shade to match the rouge tones on the dress.

  8. 8/15

    ASOS DESIGN Flutter Sleeve Asymmetric Hem Dress

    ASOS Christening Outfits

    ASOS Christening Outfits

    Sizes available: UK 4 - 18

    Colours available: Six available, including brown stripe, khaki and rust

    Shipping: Free 

    Returns: Free within 30 days

    This isn't your typical christening outfit, but if you're not into florals or polka dots, and want something neutral, this ASOS dress is a great option, with its wide stripes, boat neck and asymmetric hem.

    ASOS has hundreds of christening outfit ideas, so worth a scroll for inspiration alone.

  9. 9/15

    Coast High Neck Floral Lace Dress

    Coast Lace Christening Outfit

    Coast Christening Outfits

    Sizes available: UK 8 - 18

    Shipping: From £2.99 for SuperSaver Delivery 

    Returns: Within 28 days

    Lace, pleats and a midi length - Coast's cobalt blue dress ticks all the boxes as a christening-perfect outfit.

  10. 10/15

    Boohoo Tailored Suit

    Boohoo Christening Outfits

    Boohoo Christening Outfits

    Sizes available: UK 8 - 16

    Shipping: £3.99 Standard Delivery

    Returns: Free within 28 days

    Boohoo may not seem the obvious place to visit for christening outfits, but it has hundreds, including suits for women, floral dresses and crepe block coloured dresses.

    This nude-coloured suit is a great buy for a christening; layer over a white cami or silky tee, and make it modern with metallic or nude strappy heels. 

  11. 11/15

    RIXO Leyane Chiffon Gown

    Rixo christening outfit

    Rixo Christening Outfits

    Sizes available: UK 6 - 16

    Colours available: Pink and black and white polka dot

    Shipping: £5 Standard Delivery 

    Returns: Free within 14 days

    Rixo is the cool-girl destination for vintage-inspired occasionwear, never too smart or stuffy but always pretty, both in pattern and design.

    I chose this pink dress to highlight for a christening for the versatility of it. Great with heels, or flat sandals, and can be reworn with sneakers on a sunny day. 

    Square neck dresses are particularly flattering for women with a bigger bust, and if you're on the smaller chest side, the ruching on the bodice will add a bit of depth.

  12. 12/15

    Boden Corinne Midi Tea Dress

    Boden Corinne Tea Dress

    Boden Christening Outfits

    Sizes available: UK 6 - 22 (Petite, Regular, Long)

    Colours available: Red, blue and green

    Shipping: Free over £50

    Returns: Free within 90 days

    Tea dresses feel right for a christening, with a fitted bodice top and a looser skirt.

    Boden's tea dresses are classics, with a flattering fit and flare shape and cute short sleeves. The red dress has a sweet ditsy floral pattern, and there's a blue and green version too.

  13. 13/15

    Nobody's Child Pink Puff Sleeve Kelsie Midi Dress

    Nobody's Child Dress

    Nobody's Child Christening Outfits

    Sizes available: UK 4 - 18

    Shipping: Free standard delivery on orders over £100

    Returns: Free 

    I think this raspberry pink dress is an absolute showstopper - just look at those puff sleeves. The cotton material makes it less dressy, but it can smartened up with heeled espadrilles and a clutch - it's calling for a summer christening with garden tea party afterwards.

    There's seven colours to choose from.

  14. 14/15

    Warehouse Floral Satin Halterneck Dress

    Warehouse floral dress

    Warehouse Christening Outfits

    Sizes available: UK 8 - 16

    Shipping: Free delivery on orders over £50

    Returns: Within 28 days

    This stunning floral satin maxi dress features softly draped satin with a punchy floral print. The slimming ruched bodice and flowing A-line skirt will be a flattering fit, and if you're conscious of your arms, add a boucle blazer to feel more comfortable.

    There's also an open back with crisscross straps and asymmetric hem.

  15. 15/15

    Whistles Floral Nellie Dress

    Whistles Christening outfits

    Whistles Christening Outfits

    Sizes available: UK 4 - 20

    Shipping: Free on orders over £150

    Returns: Free within 28 days

    I think Whistles' floral maxi dress embodies spring fashion, thanks to its pastel floral design and frill detailing on the skirt.

    With brighter days ahead, embrace the freshness of spring with our Shaded Floral Nellie Dress, a great addition to your wardrobe. The dress is sleeveless and completed with timeless floral prints. Frill detailing through the skirt with side splits at seams for ease of movement. Style it with ballet pumps.

Can I wear white to a christening?

Technically, you can wear white to a christening as a guest, however, it is traditionally the colour for the child being christened to wear, in the form of a christening dress or gown. It’s not unusual for the mother to wear white either – Princess Kate chose creamy, neutral palettes for the christenings of her three children, but as a guest to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's son Archie's christening, Kate chose a rose pink shade instead and left white to mum Meghan. 

The royal family at Archie's Christening
Princess Kate chose a rose pink outfit for Archie's christening

As a guest though, it’s not really the done thing to wear white to a christening. I’ve been a guest at many of them over the years, and other than the baby and the mum, I have not seen a guest wear all-white or all-cream, other than as part of the outfit (ie. a jacket or top). So all-white outfits to a christening? I’d skip.

Can I wear black to a christening?

You can, but bear in mind this is a celebration, not a sombre occasion, so accessorise wisely. Black shoes, accessories and parts of an outfit are fine  to wear, as is a black dress or suit. I'd personally try to not wear black, and choose navy instead or opt for monochrome.

Why you should trust me

I’ve been to quite a few christenings in my years, including the christening of my best friend’s daughter, to whom I’m a godmother (to which I wore a long sleeve floral dress with velvet black sandals). Not only can I give you advice from what’s stylish, but also what’s practical – a lot of christenings will see you holding the child, or a child, and standing around for long periods during the service and post-service celebrations.

Along with my years writing about fashion, I’m across what makes a good christening outfit for female guests and even though I haven’t tried the pieces in this edit, have used my knowledge and expertise to bring you the best christening outfit inspiration.