What are they?
A naming ceremony is an opportunity to welcome your child into your family and the wider community and to publicly pledge your love and support to them. It is an alternative to a religious christening or baptism.
Naming ceremonies can also be used as a celebration of adoption or to welcome step-children into an extended family unit. Children of any age may have a naming ceremony.
Where can a ceremony take place?
The ceremony may take place at any of the following types of venues:
• Register Offices
• Village halls
• Your home
• Private clubs
You can also contact your Local Authority to find out which venues they have approved for naming ceremonies and how much they cost.
Who conducts the ceremony?
The ceremony can be conducted by you or a celebrant.
Naming ceremonies can be organized by organisations such as The British Humanist Association (BHA), Civil ceremonies celebrants or by your local county council, who will have celebrants (trained people who officiate naming ceremonies) working for them.
Some options and idea of prices listed below:-
Registry office celebrant
Fees vary from area to area, but from £180-250, the higher figure for a weekend ceremony. Saturdays are often not free due to weddings.
Civil Ceremonies Celebrant
Contact Civil Ceremonies on 0845 0048 608 Civilceremonies.co.uk Civil Ceremonies have over 200 trained celebrants covering the whole of the UK. They have worked closely with local authorities and The Baby Naming Society to come up with the very best packages for naming ceremonies. It is worth noting that Civil Ceremonies celebrants will allow you to make religious references within the naming ceremony if you wish. Prices range from £168 to £198 for an external venue, with an additional £30 if you wish to have the ceremony at home.
Contact the British Humanist Association on 0207 430 0908 Humanism.org.uk Humanism is the belief in leading a good life without religious or superstitious beliefs. A British Humanist Association celebrant can conduct a ceremony for you in the venue of your choice including your own home, priced between £95 - £130. They normally have a pre ceremony meeting to discuss your ceremony. No reference to religion is allowed during a humanist ceremony. Check out their book called New Arrivals via their online shop for further information.
Parents or family member
You can buy guides and scripts from the organisations above, or simply write your own ceremony. There are no rules to naming celebrations, so you can say anything you want and anybody you want can say it! Sometimes this can be the parents, grandparents, or simply a friend or family member who is good at public speaking! When you do it yourself, you choose how formal or informal to make it. It might be as simple as thanking everyone for coming and making a toast to the child.
Ceremonies usually last 20 minutes, during the ceremony parents state their love and commitment to their child and any other special hopes for the future. You can choose to have specific readings, poetry, music or a symbolic gesture, like lighting a candle or planting a tree during the ceremony.
A great guide is “Our complete guide to Naming Ceremonies’ by Anne Barber, published by Civil Ceremonies ltd, the book is packed with valuable practical advice and ideas from the experts to help create the perfect naming ceremony to welcome a new arrival.
The book offers advice on planning a naming ceremony from scratch, a step by step guide from arranging the venue, thinking about timing and when to hold the ceremony, what and who to include, things to avoid, the importance of choosing the right promises and explanations of the key roles in the ceremony.
There are lots of suggestions, ideas for themes, an invaluable budgeting section and an insight into the choice of ceremonies available, not to mention a brief look into the background and origination.