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Welcome to the World: Naming Ceremonies

We’ve just had a baby and want to celebrate in some way but we’re not religious. What do we do?

Firstly; CONGRATULATIONS! I’m so happy that your family has expanded. Secondly, you’re not alone in wanting to celebrate this in a different way. There’s definitely alternatives and I’m really happy to discuss them with you.

Mum and Dad cradling a new born baby.

What a Naming Ceremony isn’t:

It’s not a legal ceremony. Guardians may be appointed as legal carers if anything should happen to the parents, however this is done separately in a legal office and is not the role of a Naming Ceremony.

It’s not a religious ceremony- there’s no Baptism etc. If you’d like to include a religious reading that may be arranged with your celebrant.

Alternative wording:

We’re used to hearing the term God parent which is a gender neutral term. Some people still use this term but disregard the religious element. Traditionally, this role went to someone who was well versed in religion and could be relied upon to guide a youngster on a Godly- moral, well behaved, ‘pure’ path. Nowadays, this isn’t always relevant. However, parents do want to provide a good circle of friends and family for their niblet or niblings.

To ensure they are surrounded by people who are a loving influence and are kind, patient, generous, and safe. There is also the element of this chosen person stepping into raise your child should something happen to you.

Alternatives to God-parent might be-

Goddess parent

Fairy godparent

Fairy oddparent



Odd parent


Honary uncle/aunty





Elder-Nib/ Nib-Elder or OverNib

Guide parent

For some people, they wait until their child can talk and choose their own term for them. However, if we are wanting to officially welcome your niblet into the world, you may want to choose a term with the understanding that can be changed later.

Toddler girl in a field holding a flower up to her lips.

So, what would a ceremony entail?

Firstly, I’d welcome everyone to the ceremony and introduce everyone. We could have a reading or poem to set the tone. It would be nice to share something of the journey to having your baby and the birth/adoption/surrogacy.

We could then look at the roles and responsibilities of parenting and how important it is.

I’d then do a reading, chosen by yourselves to express how you feel about this journey and your baby. We could read a favourite book or chapter of said book. We can even play a favourite song that your child loves to sing or dance to.

I would then suggest something about why you chose the people you did to be Guardians for your child. This is a lovely opportunity to explain how much these people mean to you and why you’d trust your child’s welfare to them.

We could then look at some promises you will make to your child, to each other as parents and the promises your special people will make to the baby. You might want to read a special story and blow some bubbles. If your child is a toddler, we could look at a sand ceremony, for example. It’s important that they join in - ultimately it IS all about them.

The following are some examples of ways to join you all together to make a memorable experience-

  • Sand unity ceremony with coloured sand blended together

  • Petal shower with each colour symbolising a different quality

  • Fingerprint picture as a memento of everyone at the ceremony

  • A time capsule filled with memories and future wishes

  • Planting a tree to grow with the child

  • Look at creating family traditions

  • Skills promises – I promise to teach you how to knit, sew, drum, play guitar, whistle, dance, drive, speak Italian etc

Nearing the end, we’d look at why you chose the name/s you did, what they mean to you - a little bit of history to your choices.

We would end by officially welcoming your niblet to the world Lion King style and have a wild party, probably with jelly and custard and a cup of tea.

It really is up to you and how creative you’d like to be.

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