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What are Naming Ceremonies?



A naming ceremony is a non-religious ceremony giving parents opportunity to gather with friends and family to welcome their child into the family. The ceremony is practiced differently throughout different cultures and the timing can vary from some days after the birth to several months or many years. It can include one child, or several, babies, toddlers and teens, or the whole family. Often the whole family works beautifully for an adoption or gender transition.


If you are thinking about holding a naming ceremony for one or more of your loved ones, here's some ideas...

As there are no legal restrictions with naming ceremonies, the world is your oyster and so it is entirely up to you. That's what makes the occasion so special. It should purely reflect a meaningful moment in your family’s life. My favourite naming ceremony was in a care home. The family wanted to include great nan, who was quite frail and concerned about leaving the care home for a couple of hours in case she spoilt the day for the parents and grandparents. After discussing it with the staff the family decided to do the ceremony the care home. The little girl was name Ellie Grace after great nan Grace, so of course she was delighted to have been included in the ceremony. Family and friends in attendance wrote promises for Grace and attached them to a line which was then placed in a keepsake box for Grace to open on her 16th birthday. A poem by Dr Seuss called Wishes was read by Ellie Grace's Uncle while the residents at the home sat and observed the ceremony and clapped enthusiastically when the ceremony concluded . The family commented on how much joy the ceremony had brought to great nan and all of the family as well as lifting the spirits of the care home residents and staff.


Talking of ideas, when considering the timing of when to hold it... Traditionally, many ceremonies are held for new born babies, but there are no hard and fast rules. Many ceremonies take place shortly after the birth, others later in life when the parents feel the child can understand what is going on and enjoy taking part in it. Sometimes there are other quite significant reasons for holding the ceremony. For example, a naming ceremony can be a wonderful way of including a step-child in a new marriage and celebrate the importance of you all becoming a family, or to welcome an adopted child into the family with a memorable day which is focused around them. And then we start thinking about when is the best time of year to hold the naming ceremony... The time of year and day of the week is entirely up to you. If you are planning an outside ceremony then consider late spring through to early Autumn when the weather is more likely to be warm and dry. Many ceremonies take place on a Saturday afternoon so most people are able to attend – remember though – it is entirely up to you when it occurs. The main thing is to check that all of the people you want involved in the ceremony can attend on the day that you have in mind before you make any firm plans AND that the Celebrant your heart is set on carrying out the ceremony for you is available on that day! Another frequently asked question is about the venue, where is appropriate... and also the question of what to wear for such an occasion often crops up . . Well you can hold your ceremony anywhere you choose! You can choose a special family place or your can have it at home. And you can be as casual or as smart as you wish. The venue may influence the dress code. Are you throwing a party, going to a pub or restaurant afterward, are there other children involved so do you want children's entertainment….. Try and ensure everyone is comfortable. Jeans and t’shirts, occasion wear and suits or maybe a themed ceremony! Just be comfortable with what you decide.

Many ceremonies are held in village halls, family gardens or event venues. There are some unusual places too:

Castles Beaches Forests Meaningful places of natural beauty

Remember though that if it is a public place, you are likely to need permission.

Also consider if you want to decorate it – whatever and however you decide it to be – PLAN it! My friend Jan at Pretty Little Parlour does some fabulous floral arrangements to dress any venue, chic and stylish, rustic, glamour or fun.

When you book me as your Celebrant, I can also help you with the planning, I have many contacts, Jan being just one of many, some can also be found on my website. I'll take away the hassle and stress associated with creating a central point so that you can then focus on enjoying the ceremony and making long lasting memories with your family and friends.


Your go to Celebrant for Naming Ceremonies.

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