You have just created a magnificent new human and of course you want to commemorate their arrival, but aren’t really into sacraments and ecclesiastical vestments. Looking for a low-key, personalised and relaxed alternative? Then a baby naming ceremony is for you!
What exactly is a baby naming ceremony? Simply stated, a naming ceremony is a symbolic celebration that requires no licences, has no legalities and can take any format that you choose. It’s an event where family and friends unite to welcome your baby into the world, an opportunity to announce your child’s name, make promises and commitments to your child, for other important people in your child’s life to give well wishes, and to drink champagne and eat cake.
You can have a naming ceremony that lasts 30 minutes, or one that lasts all day (best to serve snacks and beverages if you are leaning to the latter). It can be as simple or bougie as you want and pretty much wherever you want – your home, the local park (check the local council requirements for events in parks – yep that’s a thing), at a hotel or the beach (thinking sunset with a beach BBQ to follow? Count me in!)
Are Godparents still a thing? In the traditional sense, a Godparent served to encourage the child’s spiritual growth, stand surety in the rite of baptism, serve as proxies for parents who were unable or neglectful in the religious training of their offspring and vigorously renounce the devil! Modern day Godparents are chosen for their responsibility, reliability and memory (birthdays peeps!) so best to give Uncle Bob the fam alco wide berth for this role! For those who want to add a more contemporary twist to an old classic, you can ditch the religious moniker and call them guideparents, oddparents or squadparents! (You’re welcome)
The ceremony you decide to have is only limited by your imagination and creativity. If you are lacking both, here are some great ideas for your baby naming celebration:
- Tell the significance of your baby’s name and why you chose it
- Share your hopes and dreams for your child
- Special Readings or poems
- Music – a special song. How about Etta James – At Last (brings tears to my eyes just writing that!) or Roberta Flack – First time ever I saw your face (blubbering now!)
- Rituals – Hand and foot printing, lighting candles, tree planting, holding hands and singing kumbaya (I just added that last one because it made me laugh!)
- Create a time capsule or memory box
- Bubble blowers (an ethical alternative to releasing balloons into the atmosphere)
- Create a wish tree and invite your guests to write promises, words of advice or good wishes on individual tags and hang them on the tree. (You can then put them in the memory box for your child to read when they grow up)
- Make a video of good wishes
- Sign a guest book
- A sand ceremony – layering different coloured sands in a large, glass jar – each layer representing the individual commitment to the child
- A jar full of wishes – have your guests write a wish for your child
- Honour those who came before you and are part of your family history
- Have Grandparents do readings
- Finish off with a HUGE celebratory cake! (And champagne of course…that goes without saying.)
The best thing about a baby naming day is that there are no rules.
Mandi Forrester-Jones is a Marriage Celebrant in Brisbane who has held many baby naming ceremonies and can share a myriad of ideas for the format of the event, working closely with you to create a unique ceremony that is personal and meaningful.
Written by Karen Sivijs