Naming ceremonies are warm, happy and child-friendly occasions that give parents the chance to mark the significance of having brought a child into the world, formally welcome them and celebrate with families and friends.
That said, namings are often gloriously chaotic too! After all, children are rarely predictable and sometimes ‘participate’ in their ceremony in unforeseen ways, but as far as I’m concerned that’s all part of the fun.
Once again thank you so much for how beautifully you conducted Ava’s ceremony. Words cannot describe how much we enjoyed it and our families were overwhelmed by your lovely words.
You don’t have to consider yourself a humanist to have a humanist naming ceremony – they simply offer a meaningful, personal and non-religious way for people to welcome their children into the world with meaning but without religion. I might say something simple like “Jo and John have chosen a humanist ceremony for Jessica today because they want her to be free to decide what she believes about religion for herself as she gets older“. Guests often comment afterwards how inclusive it all was.
Each and every naming ceremony is unique as it reflects the particular family unit. There is no set model to follow– it will vary according to personalities, circumstances and family set-up. And whilst some namings are quite formal, others are much more personalised and relaxed. The number of people involved varies too: I’ve taken a very intimate ceremony for six and the largest I’ve been involved with had 120 guests.
I felt compelled to write and say a massive thank you for Ella’s naming ceremony. We were so pleased with how the ceremony went and it set a real foundation for the whole day. So many people have commented to us how unique and personal the service was. We feel that Ella has now been properly welcomed into her circle of family and friends. You do a wonderful job, we are so pleased that we found you!
Where are namings held?
Since naming ceremonies have no legal standing, there are no limits as to where they can be held. I’ve conducted ceremonies in people’s homes, gardens, function rooms, hotels, village halls, parks, on Glastonbury Tor and at the zoo!
Who are they for?
Although they are often called baby namings ceremonies, they really aren’t not just for babies. I’ve taken namings for sibling pairs, twins, a set of triplets, toddlers and older adopted children. And about a third of the namings I take are joint celebrations of the child’s first birthday. This is a wonderful way to combine two important occasions – and gives you some chance of having enough sleep to be able to organise a get-together!
All our guests commented on how lovely the ceremony was and how they thought that having a celebrant perform the ceremony made it seem a real occasion.
What happens during the ceremony?
The naming lasts between ten and twenty minutes and usually takes place at the beginning of a family party or gathering. Typically we talk about the joy and responsibility of being a parent, about the child as an individual, hopes for the future and the importance of other people outside the immediate family unit (e.g. grandparents, cousins, siblings etc.) Parents often appoint ‘guideparents’ for their child who might make promises about how they seek to raise their child.
We wanted to write to thank you for the very special and moving ceremony that you helped to create for Eliza. We very much enjoyed creating the naming with you and we loved the script and certificate you gave us. Thank you very much. We will be in touch when baby number two comes along!
If you’re considering a naming ceremony, please get in touch with your initial thoughts and preferred dates. I’ll be happy to let you know if I’m available and give you further information.
If you then want to go ahead, I’ll arrange a time to meet you all – usually it’s easiest to do this at the family’s home when there are little ones to consider. We’ll talk about options for the day such as readings, music, candles, promises etc. Hopefully I can give you lots of practical tips and creative ideas to help you on your way. After you’ve made the bigger decisions, I’ll then draft a script for you to read. There’s plenty of time to review and finalise this before the day.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the lovely service you did for Tom. It really was one of the best days of my life and you certainly contributed to Tom’s perfect day. So thank you again! Hope to see you again (when I can convince Andy to have a 2nd!)
My fee for namings in Cheltenham and Gloucester is £275 and I charge a little more for those further afield. I ask for a £100 deposit when we first meet which formally books the date. The balance is then due a week before the ceremony.