What’s a Naming Ceremony?

Jul 24, 2017

I am being asked more and more often about naming ceremonies and what they consist of, so I thought a blog answering that question might be in order.

Why a Naming ceremony?

A few common reasons for arranging a civil ceremony are:

  • Religious elements are wanted, but the couple are mixed-faith
  • The couple want to mark the rite of passage, but preferably not (or barely) religiously
  • A couple are marrying, and bringing a child or children into the relationship. They want to formally symbolise their integration into one family.

What does a Naming ceremony consist of?

Because I specialise in bespoke ceremonies, I can’t give a one-size-suits-all answer. As we have already seen, these ceremonies may be religious or secular, and can be held indoors or out. Thus rituals will be more or less appropriate depending on the circumstances and tone.


Naming ceremonies tend to be more relaxed (although some of the content may be quite serious), and there’s usually a greater element of participation than with many other ceremonies.

Here, the parents may want to take an active role. They may choose and read poems (of course, the celebrant can help them with choices). They may also read out promises to the child. Again, they write these themselves or use a bit of help.

Godparents and/or grandparents may be invited to play a role. They may read a text about what it means to be a god/grandparent, for example.


As well as music, which is another option to be considered, you could include some rituals. Unity candle lighting is deservedly popular. This doesn’t always work outdoors (for obvious reasons!), and health and safety does have to be taken into account inside! But it’s especially good if two families (with children) are combining.

Another possibility for a baby, is to sprinkle her with rose petals (different colours representing desired qualities). Again, this invites participation.

The ceremony might end with a communal blessing and a baby-specific blessing (not necessarily religious).


I hope this gives a flavour of the “typical” ceremony, and will whet a few appetites! I’ll be very happy to help out, if you want to know more.