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  • Writer's pictureGlynis Woodhead

Welcoming your little one with a naming ceremony

In the last hundred years, the number of babies being Christened or Baptised has gradually declined. Just after WW1, almost 70% of babies born were Christened; now the number is less than 10%. It was traditionally a time not only for a religious ceremony, but also for families to come together and celebrate a new addition into the family. Nowadays, although fewer people wish to have their babies Christened, the desire for a formal gathering certainly hasn’t waned. The answer to how to address that is to have a naming ceremony using a celebrant.

A celebrant will first of all get to know you as parents, so that your ceremony is highly personalised. A typical ceremony will last between 30 and 45 minutes and include an introduction to your baby’s new family, a look at the meaning of your baby’s name and the reasons why you’ve chosen that name; it will also include readings – perhaps a special poem or two, and you might want to also include some music. Then comes a really important part of the ceremony: the promises. These are promises made to the child by you as parents, but promises can also be made by grandparents. And, of course, there are the promises of other adults – those who were traditionally referred to as godparents, and now referred to as guide parents, or life mentors. These promises include how you will love and support your child in the future.

Many naming ceremonies include symbolic elements such as a tree planting, ribbon tying, or a time capsule, all of which ensure the guests are fully included in the ceremony. There are more ideas for these included on my Naming Ceremonies page.. The ceremony usually ends with the baby being presented with some special gifts: these don’t have to be silver, or expensive, but simply meaningful in some way.

And no naming ceremony would be complete without a cake of some kind – and when can any of us ever refuse a beautiful slice of cake? Traditionally, the top tier of a wedding cake was kept for the first baby’s Christening, but nowadays, anything goes, and tiers of beautiful and delicious cupcakes are particularly popular. Having a ceremony at a venue means you can sit down afterwards and have a lunch or special afternoon tea with the celebrations continuing as long as you like: many hotels and venues will have private, intimate function rooms which will cater for numbers as low as 15 – 20 people.

Choosing your child’s name may well have been one of the most important decisions you ever made so why not celebrate that special moment with family and friends.

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