All you need is love and a gazebo…
What a Perfect Place for a Naming Ceremony: an Octopus’s Garden, in the shade. Ok, so not really an octopus’s garden, but we did play the famous Beatles song at the end of the ceremony – because it is (currently) Lyla’s favourite song.
Over the past couple of years, there appears to be a trend towards downsizing weddings to smaller numbers of guests – but upsizing on personalisation and guest participation. This year, I have also seen a similar movement in the naming ceremony. And I absolutely love it! I love it because people are choosing what they want and, as their Celebrant, I am able to incorporate their ideas and design and deliver a ceremony that is exactly what they want – and utterly unique to them.
Of course, this is the case with every ceremony that Celebrants create and conduct. I am just as happy when there are hundreds of guests, because that is what that couple, or family, wants.
But sometimes, less is more.
When there is a smaller gathering, there is another dimension and it is possible to acknowledge, and include, every single person and thank them for being part of the ‘inner-circle’. And that is what we did at Lyla’s Naming Ceremony.
Her parents wanted to hold the naming ceremony outdoors, but didn’t have an outside space large enough, at home. We asked Sudley House, a local art gallery and museum, if they minded us using their gardens and they said “no problem”. Sudley House gardens are somewhere that Lyla visits quite often, with her family, and she loves it there. Her parents chose a beautiful, and (almost) secret spot, a little clearing near the house, surrounded by trees.
After weeks of glorious sunshine, we woke up to rain, on Lyla’s big day! But that was fine, because there was a Plan B (in the U.K. you always need to consider the weather and how it may affect your naming ceremony, you always need a Plan B!)
Our intimate naming ceremony simply became a little more intimate.
The guests gathered under, and around, the pop-up gazebo that Lyla’s dad had brought along. There was an eclectic selection of foldable chairs, and a picnic rug, for those who chose to sit, and plenty of umbrellas for those who preferred to stand!
At the beginning of the naming ceremony, all of Lyla’s guests were greeted, individually, and thanked for making the journey (which was a considerable distance, in almost all cases). We then lit a candle to acknowledge and remember those no longer, or unable to be, with us and this remained lit throughout the naming ceremony (thanks to a storm lantern which was even in Plan A!)
Lyla’s dad read one of her favourite stories and then I formally welcomed this precious little girl to the World (including to ‘rain’ – which raised more than a smile). After announcing her name, and the reasons for choosing it, Lyla handed out a flower to each of her guests (and me). This was such a lovely touch and caused more than a few tears of joy. We then had promises from her parents and Godparents and readings from Lyla’s grandmother, her aunt and two of her Godparents.
As we neared the end, we had group promises from everyone, which included this:
“As long as it’s not dangerous to do so, or straight after dinner, and as long as you’re physically capable of doing so, do you promise to wrestle Lyla if she asks for a wrestle?”
Lyla’s mum shared our final reading and then the star of the show was delighted when a bubble machine appeared. She switched on the machine and Octopus’s Garden started playing.
A perfect end to a perfect ceremony…
Thank you to Lyla’s mum and dad for entrusting me with such a special moment in their precious daughter’s life. Thank you to Lyla for being a superstar – who has taught me how to emulate, and pull off, her very effective and impenetrable ‘stare’. To each of the guests for their energy and enthusiasm and for everything that they added to the ceremony.
And to our wonderful photographer, Liam Doyle (of Folkstar Photography). Liam was a joy to work alongside and he captured all of these special moments – and many more.