In this section
How does a Naming Ceremony differ to a Christening?
How do you choose your Naming Ceremony congregation?
Can we involve our other children in the Naming Ceremony?
Can I have a transgender Naming Ceremony or Renaming Ceremony?
When and where should naming ceremonies be held?
When and where should naming ceremonies be held? The beauty of a naming ceremony is that every decision is entirely up to you! Where and when you hold a naming ceremony is a personal reference, and should reflect a meaningful moment in your family’s life.
There are no legal restrictions with a naming ceremony; that means the world really is your oyster!
When should naming ceremonies be held?
Although many naming ceremonies are held for newborns, there are no rules on when the ceremony needs to be held.
It can take place very soon after the birth of your child, or it can later in their life when you feel like they can also understand what is going on and be a part of it. There may be another significant reason for holding the ceremony at a certain time. If you are getting married and you have a step-child, you may want to hold a naming ceremony shortly after the marriage to celebrate the importance of you all becoming a family. Similarly, if you adopt a child, you may choose to hold a Naming Ceremony to officially welcome them into your family and provide a special, memorable day all about them.
What time of year should a naming ceremony be held?
The time of year and day of the week is also up to you. If you would like a celebration outside then you may want to consider holding the ceremony in the summer! A lot of naming ceremonies take place on a Saturday so that the congregation can attend more easily, but this is completely up to you. The main thing to check is that the people you would like involved in the ceremony can attend on the day you have in mind, and also that the celebrant you have your heart set on is available on that day.
Where can we hold a naming ceremony?
Anywhere you choose!
You can choose somewhere special to you and your family. You can even have it at home!
Typically naming ceremonies are held in village halls, gardens or event venues. However, some more unusual venue choices include:
- The forest
- A meaningful spot of natural beauty
You will need to get permission If you would to hold the ceremony in a public space. If you are thinking of holding the ceremony outside, then you might need to consider the local weather and have an appropriate backup in case. For your chosen venue you will also need to consider how you would like it to look; will you be required to bring your own decorations, or will they provide it? There may be equipment at the venue that you can use, but you will want to plan to ensure there is a centrepiece if you would like one, and enough seating if you need it.
We recommend visiting a few venues before making your choice; this is a big decision, and it’s important you make the right one!
The options are limitless and entirely up to you where you’d like to have the ceremony.
Can we hold the naming ceremony in a church?
Since naming ceremonies offer a more personalised experience than a Christening, many people will opt to have a naming ceremony but still plan to hold it in a church.
As a general rule, this is possible. But, if you are planning on using a humanist celebrant, you will need to check with them that they are happy to conduct the service in a church. You will also need confirmation from the church themselves that they allow naming ceremonies on their premises.
How long are naming ceremonies?
Depending on how many symbolic additions, readings you include, or any other personalised aspects, a naming ceremony usually lasts around 20-30 minutes. This would include the ‘official’ naming part of the ceremony and the guideparent affirmations, plus certificate signing, which all usually take place towards the end. However, as the process is fully tailored to your requirements, the ceremony can be altered in any way.
Many families choose to have some food and drinks after the ceremony itself and use the opportunity to decorate the venue to their taste or have a theme, perhaps even fancy dress for any children attending! It’s the perfect opportunity to bring your family together for a celebration of your new arrival.
Photographer Credit: Amber Varghese