Planning a naming ceremony

If you want to celebrate your gorgeous newborn, yet don’t fancy a religious service, why not try a naming ceremony? Read our top tips…

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These types of ceremonies may suit you better if you don’t have a specific faith. Tana Wollen, Head of Ceremonies at the British Humanist Association agrees: ‘Many people who aren’t religious want a ceremony that they can make special in a way that suits them.’

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What to expect:

It can take place anywhere that you choose, and the ceremony can be organised in a way that works for you. Humanist naming ceremonies are specifically for people who have no religious beliefs. Tana Wollen says: ‘Informal, formal, relaxed or chaotic – a humanist naming ceremony is what parents want it to be. They are usually happy occasions full of laughter and attended by all sorts of family and friends – and more often than not, lots of children! They can be held in someone’s house or garden, in a park, on a beach or any special place.’

Where to start:

You can contact the British Humanist Association (www.humanism.org.uk) to find a humanist celebrant in your area. Ceremonies cost up to £200. Alternatively, www.civilceremonies.co.uk can organise your naming ceremony, with prices starting from £168.

Top tips…

  • You need to think about the type of readings or music you want, and who you would like to contribute to the occasion. For example, are there other children or grandparents you’d like to involve?
  • Many people still like to have godparents, but might call them mentors or guide-parents instead.
  • It’s about welcoming your baby the way you choose – don’t be talked into doing something you’re not comfortable with because a relative disapproves of the way you do things.

The alternative:

You don’t have to have any sort of formal ceremony to welcome your baby to the family. Something as simple as planting a tree, naming a star or getting friends together to introduce your baby can be just as meaningful.

Mum’s story

‘We held a candlelit naming and blessing ceremony in the function room of a pub. Close friends and family came and the ceremony was conducted by a family celebrant – who happens to be my mum! We each chose four guardians, who lit candles from the baby’s candle to symbolise the connection between them, whilst others contributed readings. It was a beautiful way to welcome Poppy.’

Sophie, 26, mum to Poppy, 10 months, and Clarke, 4

The legal bit

However you mark the event, don’t forget that you have a legal obligation to officially register the birth of your child. In England and Wales that means you need to make an appointment at your local Register office. You need to get things sorted out within 42 days of the birth in England and Wales; 21 days for Scotland.

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If you would prefer a christening service, read our top tips here…

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