Naming ceremonies are beginning to grow in popularity as parents look for different, non-religious ways to celebrate the arrival of a precious new life into their world. Namings can be fun while being heartfelt at the right moments too, and they are always special. So here are my top tips for creating a personal ceremony that’s just right for you.
- Choose a time of day that will fit with your usual routine of feeds, sleeps and hopefully some awake time to help take the stress out of the day. This will also maximise your chances of having a smiley baby for part of the celebrations at least! Find a venue that will work well for you too, if having the ceremony at home seems like a good idea but is stressing you out then book a local community venue instead or a nearby hotel who will take care of everything. Or if you don’t want to wait until the pandemic is over, consider going virtual instead.
- Think about who you would like to appoint as guide parents and role models for your little one. There is no set number of guide parents, so anything from one to 10 works. They don’t need to be upstanding pillars of the community, just friends and family members who will take an interest in your child as they grow up. Maybe they have an adventurous nature and will help your child develop a sense of adventure, or they might be a great role model for their family or work ethic, or maybe they are great fun and will be a positive force in your child’s life. Whatever the reason, this can be celebrated as part of the ceremony.
- Shape the commitments that your guide parents will make to your child to reflect their character and attributes. If one of your guide parents is football mad then make this part of their commitments, “I promise to take Rory to see the match on Saturday afternoons and to teach him the offside rule!” Or if their kindness is what you admire most about them, “I promise to teach by example to help Chloe become kind and generous”.
- Consider if you want to make promises to your little one yourself. You could do this in the form of a poem or reading – the tale of Edward hopping into life from Beatrix Potter is wonderful. Or your celebrant could ask you questions that you then respond to, either together or you could have separate commitments for each parent.
- Poems or readings make a great addition to a naming ceremony, or maybe a short story would work well if you’ve got lots of young children there. Find a friend who’s great at reading stories and gather the children at the front for a quick story time with a moral, The Lion Inside by Rachel Bright is a great option.
- If you are music fans then why not include a karaoke style song as part of the celebrations? I love these moments, the whole room is singing the song you’ve chosen at the top of their voices and loving every moment of it. It Must by Love by Madness is one of my favourites but you can choose anything you like, although something well known that is also easy to sing is best.
- Make sure you tell everyone how and why you chose the name that you did for your child, and the significance of each name – if there is one. Maybe their middle name is your grandma’s first name, what attributes does your grandma have that you’d love your little one to inherit through sharing her name?
- Find a way to involve all your guests in the naming ceremony. There are loads of options here and you could ask them to add their wishes for your child to a wishes tree, or to add their fingerprint and name to a picture which you can frame and display at home afterwards. It’s great to ask everyone to join in formally naming your child too, they can repeat a few short sentences after the celebrant.
- You might want to hire the services of a celebrant to write the ceremony for you and to lead the proceedings on the day, Humanists UK has a directory of celebrants who are trained specifically to perform naming ceremonies. But you might feel comfortable doing this yourself or asking a confident friend or family member to do it for you, particularly if you’d like a very relaxed celebration. There is no right or wrong, just what’s right for you!
- Finish on a high! You could end with a toast, just make sure everyone has their glasses charged before you start and they know they need to keep a little back until the end of the ceremony! Alternatively, you could finish with three cheers or by singing happy birthday if the naming ceremony is doubling as a 1st birthday party. Have some music ready to play as soon as the ceremony finishes to keep the atmosphere going.
There you have it, my top tips for creating a great naming ceremony that everyone will love and that will bring a smile to their face when they think back to it. You can find out more about naming ceremonies here.
However you decide to celebrate, enjoy welcoming your little one to the world!