While preparing the Confirmation candidates in your church/school for the sacrament of Confirmation, one of the duties you will more than likely have to do is decide on, and ultimately purchase, Confirmation robes for the candidates to wear during the ceremony. In order to be sure that you make the most appropriate decision, we would like to help you consider all the variations that you will run across during this process.
Who needs to purchase a robe?
To ensure each candidate has the same robe for the ceremony, we suggest that the church make the actual purchase of the robes for their Confirmation class. It is up to the church/school whether they charge a separate ‘robe fee’, or if they will just roll the cost of the robe into the Confirmation candidates’ religious education fee. Charging a separate fee would allow parents to potentially reuse a robe that they had purchased for an older sibling for their younger child that may now be making their Confirmation.
What type of fabric finish do you want for the Confirmation robes?
The finish of the material on the robe is purely the preference of the Director of Religious Education at the church/school. Traditionally, Confirmation robes are offered in a matte or shiny finish. Matte finishes are duller in appearance than the shiny finish. If allowing parents to reuse robes from an older sibling, the finish of the previous years’ gown should be considered. At the Confirmation ceremony, we wouldn’t recommend mixing the finishes of the robes. Although the robes may be the same color, there is quite a difference in appearance between these two fabric finishes…
How thick should the material of the robe be?
Confirmation robes come in a wide variety of price points. As you might imagine, some of these price differences translate to a variety of thicknesses of the material the robe is made out of. Since the Confirmation celebration is taking place in a church, you do not need a fabric that is overly thick or overly thin as you will not be exposed to the elements of weather like a graduation ceremony might be. You do want a fabric that is somewhat breathable since they will be wearing these robes over their clothing, but you do not want one that is so thin that the clothing will show through the robe.
What color Confirmation robe do you want to have at your liturgy?
The color of the Confirmation robe is something that needs to be chosen by the Director of Religious Education at the church/school. Red or white are traditional colors for Confirmation robes – some churches choose to have the boys wear red robes and the girls to wear white robes. Black or royal blue Confirmation robes are also commonly chosen. Catholic schools may choose to purchase robes that represent the school colors when choosing a Confirmation robe for their ceremony.
How can you be sure to select the correct size of Confirmation robes to fit all of your candidates?
To maintain consistency of appearance among the Confirmation candidates, the Confirmation robes should fall half way between the knee and floor. Sizing of gowns don’t really vary too much since height is the most prevalent factor in determining the size, however some companies do offer a Plus Size option for some gowns. As the idea of ‘Plus Size’ may be a sensitive issue for some teens, we suggest you reach out to your Religious Education teachers to inquire as to whether they think any of the students in their classes may need a Plus Size robe. Check the sizing charts from the company you are purchasing your robes from to see if they offer Plus Sizes, and what the estimated weights are to purchase the Plus Size robes. Visit- https://thriveglobal.com/stories/s-k-b-robes-llc-is-embarking-on-a-journey-that-will-echo-in-eternity
To properly fit your candidates for Confirmation robes, you will need to know the height of each candidate when purchasing the robes. The height of the candidate very often is translated into a ‘size’ for the Confirmation robes. Depending on how accurate you would like these height measurements to be, you can either:
- Have the families submit the height of their child. One option is to collect this information during the registration process when they enroll for your Religious Education program for their Confirmation year. Instructions can be given to the parents that the candidates should determine their height while wearing the shoes they plan on using during the Confirmation ceremony. This will help to add to the consistency of robe length from the floor, especially for girls that may be wearing high-heeled shoes. (Since this is a solemn religious ceremony, we suggest you make it clear to the families that very high-heeled shoes are frowned upon during this ceremony. This isn’t a fashion show or the prom, so appropriate shoes should be employed for this occasion.) One drawback for taking height measurements the summer/fall before a spring ceremony is you run the risk of teens going through a significant growth spurt between the time of submitting their height to you until the date of your Confirmation ceremony. Candidates in the early to mid-teen age group are quite likely to have this happen. An advantage of collecting this information upfront is that you can add the cost of the Confirmation robe right into the Religious Education fee, and if you are lucky enough to be able to do online registrations where the parents can pay via credit card or PayPal, you will have the money collected upfront and not trickling in throughout the year.
- To ensure consistency of the gown lengths, you can have the candidates measured during one of your preparation meetings (during a class, or during a break at retreat) at a time closer to the ceremony. This will avoid inaccurate submissions that may come from the families submitting the heights of the Confirmation candidates. This will also allow you to obtain the measurements closer to the actual confirmation date – and not almost a year prior to the ceremony… Since girls would not have the shoes they may be wearing for the ceremony, you can add an inch or two (or more?) to their height to allow for the difference.
When should you order the Confirmation robes for your ceremony?
We recommend that the Confirmation robes for your entire class be submitted together in a single order and the order be placed no later than 6 weeks before your scheduled Confirmation ceremony. Ideally, this order should be placed between 8 to 10 weeks before the earliest date of your Confirmation ceremony to allow for adequate time for ordering, processing and delivery of the Confirmation robes and additional time to distribute the robes to your candidates. If necessary, you will also have time to make any additional adjustments for robes that need to be adjusted for size. Try to work with a company that allows exchanges and refunds of robes with no financial penalties or re-stocking fees.