What is a naming ceremony?

All you need is love and … a naming ceremony.

 

As a celebrant I am able to perform many different types of ceremonies, and as well as wedding ceremonies I am also available to conduct naming ceremonies.  Back the truck up, but what is a naming ceremony? How does it all happen? Sounds like fun! How do I go ahead with it?

What is a naming ceremony? A naming ceremony is a non-religious celebration of the arrival of a new child, a way to introduce him/her to family and friends. It is usually organised by parents who want to mark their child’s arrival with a celebration, but in a non-religious way.

Is a naming ceremony legal? A naming ceremony is a private occasion, so there is no legal status to the ceremony.  It is not the same as legally registering a child’s birth through Births/Deaths and Marriages.

Who can have a naming ceremony?  Naming ceremonies are appropriate for any age, a new baby, and adopted child or uniting step children, or even a adult name change.

Where can we have a naming ceremony? Naming ceremonies can be performed anywhere, as long as you have the permission of the owner. Popular spots are homes, parks, halls.

What kinds of things are included in a naming ceremony? The sky is the limit for this one, because it is not a legal ceremony, there are no real “have-to’s” attached to the process so there are lots of ideas, including poems, readings, quotes, time capsule, tree planting, candle lighting, wish making, video for guests, wishing well cards etc.  Your celebrant will be able to point you in the right direction and offer you heaps of ideas to make your ceremony perfect

I don’t know of any quotes or readings I want. Do I have to have them? No, your child’s naming ceremony will be completely unique to your family, so if you’ve not sure about poems or readings then you don’t have to have them. Your celebrant will be able to share with you some appropriate examples of readings, if you do want to include one but aren’t sure where to start.

I want to include my child’s grandparents.  Is there a way to do this? Absolutely.  I recognise the importance of a child’s extended family, and there are many different ways we can recognise, acknowledge and include any of the extended family into a naming ceremony.

When can we have a naming ceremony? There is no time limit for when you can hold a naming ceremony for your child. A lot of families combine the first birthday and naming ceremony.  It’s a great way to have a double celebration at a time when you may have gathered friends and family together already.  Some couples like to wait until the first few months are out of the way, when things are a little more settled in the family.  Older children also love to have a day of celebration all about them, so any age is fine.

Does it matter if I’m a single parent/we’re not married or a same sex couple?  Absolutely not! I’d be delighted to be involved in helping any parent or couple celebrate and mark their new arrival.

A naming ceremony sounds right up my alley. But I hate public speaking, as a parent do I have to say anything? Most naming ceremonies do actually include the parents making some kind of commitment or promise to the child. However if you would prefer not to speak there are definitely ways around it.  For example you could do a “we promise” answer after the celebrant has read your promises.

How much work will I have to do to organise the naming ceremony? I completely understand that first year brain fog of child-rearing.  So much like a wedding ceremony I will come and visit you at your place, no need to drag your family out to see me. We will discuss what your thoughts are, I will offer suggestions and examples, ask you a whole lot of questions, and then head off and write you a naming ceremony.  I will send this to you to take a look at, we will fine-tune it, and then that will be what is performed on the day.  I will have all the props and tools for the day with me, so you don’t have to remember to bring anything with you. My aim is for it to all go smoothly, well as smoothly as a ceremony involving a small child can (I know they can be unpredictable) and for you as parents to totally enjoy the experience and day.

Is there any way to add a  momento of the day? I have totally customisable certificates that parents and guide-parents can sign on the day as a keepsake of the special day, for the child to treasure in days ahead.

How is a naming ceremony structured? Below is a loose structure for a naming ceremony, of course everything is customisable to the family.

  • Introduction and welcome to guests
  • Reading or poem
  • Information about the child – their arrival, personality, traits so far
  • Words about the importance and responsibility of parenting
  • Parental promises to the child
  • Reading or poem
  • Importance of wider family in the child’s life (grandparents/cousins/aunts etc)
  • Appointment of guideparents/mentors/support/godparents
  • Guideparents promises
  • Reasons for choice of name
  • The naming itself
  • Concluding words

If the idea of a naming ceremony sounds like the perfect way for you to celebrate the arrival of a new member of you family, then get in touch and we can discuss the best way to mark your new arrival. And of course you can include cake and wine!

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