This is a question I get asked a lot so I thought I’d share my thoughts. I hope this blog gives you an insight into what to expect from a Naming Ceremony delivered by a celebrant.
Quite simply, a Christening is a religious occasion in which the child starts their relationship with God. A Naming ceremony is a celebration where friends and family gather together to welcome a child into the world. The child’s name is announced halfway through the Naming Ceremony but this doesn’t mean you have to have the ceremony when the child is a baby. In fact, I have delivered Namings on a child’s 1st and 2nd birthday – it is a lovely opportunity for the important people in the child’s life to celebrate.
The idea of a Naming Ceremony may seem daunting because people don’t know a lot about a naming celebration but that’s why I’m here. I’m a civil celebrant, not a Humanist, but either of us can conduct your ceremony. You can have a Naming Ceremony anywhere: gardens, village halls, on a beach, in a field, basically anywhere you choose and in Newcastle, the North East of England, we are spoiled for choice. Every Naming Ceremony is bespoke and I, the celebrant, would meet the parent(s) long before the ceremony to get a picture of the family and help me create the perfect script.
Naming Ceremonies generally last around half an hour. During the ceremony, the parents make vows promising their love and commitment to their child and sharing their hopes for the future. They may choose to express their feelings using a reading and there are some beautiful ones out there (trust me, there won’t be a dry eye in the house!) Naming Ceremonies also have guardians (the equivalent of godparents) who also make promises to the child and parent(s), pledging to support them throughout their lives. Special people in the child’s life maybe do a reading/poem in the ceremony and this is a lovely opportunity to celebrate someone who has played an important role in the child’s life. My advice here is to chose someone you think will enjoy the the spotlight. Finally, my favorite part, you can include a symbolic gesture such as creating a time capsule for baby, planting a tree, giving the baby a present or, as some of my current clients are doing, asking guests to record a message to the child for the future.
After the ceremony it’s your opportunity for friends and family to celebrate and of course give the star of the show lots of cuddles. A Naming Ceremony is such a special time as it may be one of the only occasions everyone can come together.
I hope this makes Naming Ceremonies clearer and helps you picture the kind of ceremony a celebrant can create for you. Naming Ceremonies might not be something everyone automatically thinks to do but that’s what makes them special – not everyone is doing them. I promise you, people will remember your child’s Naming because the ceremony will be totally unique to your family. They are a beautiful way to celebrate your new arrival and it’s a privilege to be a part of so many families’ special day.