Naming Ceremonies

I have my heart on my sleeve when it comes to Naming Ceremonies. I love - love - love them! Every single one makes me feel like I've acquired another grandchild!

Over the years I've created and officiated over 300 naming ceremonies, each one of which has been a tremendous pleasure. I've created ceremonies for couples of all genders, for single parents, for donor babies, babies born through IVF, and babies birthed by surrogates.

I've also created many DIY naming ceremonies where, for various reasons, it hasn't been practical to have an officiated ceremony. For a DIY ceremony I create a personal ceremony script and certificates and the parents or a family member or friend has officiated the ceremony, using my script.

What is a naming ceremony?

A Naming Ceremony (sometimes called a Name-Giving or a Baby Naming Day) is a way of formally welcoming your child into the supportive community of family and friends that will nurture them as they grow. During the ceremony, the child is formally given their name.

Who is a naming ceremony for?

Naming ceremonies are suitable for
  • natural or adopted children of families of all kinds, including
    • heterosexual parent families
    • same-sex families
    • single-parent families, and
    • families where the adults are the guardians of the child
  • A naming ceremony is a powerful way to acknowledge and support a child who is transitioning
  • A variation on a naming ceremony can be used to embrace a step-child
There is no age limit. You can hold a baby naming ceremony for a young baby, at any time during the child's first year, or, as is very common, in conjunction with the child's first birthday celebrations, or when the child is older. Each age has its special characteristics.

Adult Naming/Renaming Ceremonies

If, as an adult, you have changed your name to reflect your true gender, or for other reasons, I would be honoured to create and officiate a meaningful ceremony to say goodbye to your dead name and celebrate this new chapter in your life

Combo Ceremonies

You can combine a naming ceremony with your wedding ceremony (legal marriage or non-legal wedding), commitment ceremony, or reaffirmation of vows.

Does a Naming Ceremony include religious content?

A naming ceremony can be seen to be a non-religious/secular alternative to a Christening or Baptism. But in many ways it is more than just a straight secular swap-out for the religious service that inducts a child into a particular faith. It is an expression of family unity, family values, and parenting commitment, so of course you can include religious content or references, if you wish.

Doing so may be a good compromise where you yourselves are not religious but someone important to you is. Or it can be a way of acknowledging dual religious or cultural heritages within a largely secular ceremony.

A naming ceremony can be held to complement a church baptism, as part of the christening celebration at home.

I provide a range of different types of Naming Ceremonies for babies and children. My fee is $350 for an officiated ceremony for one child, and $200 for a DIY ceremony.
  • Baby Naming Ceremony
  • First Birthday Naming Ceremony
  • Naming of older children
  • Adoption Naming Ceremony
  • DIY Naming Ceremony  - a professionally created ceremony without the expense of having a celebrant conduct it
Naming Ceremony Packages
More information about Types of Naming Ceremonies
NB My vaccinations against COVID19 and other transmissible diseases are up to date for the protection of your child and everyone present

I create each ceremony specifically for the occasion, so each is a personal celebration of the birth or adoption of your child that gives you an opportunity to express your personal values and your commitment to parenting your child in front of your family and friends. The ceremony is extremely flexible. It can be structured as you wish, and include readings, rituals and personal recognition of anyone you wish. If you are a single parent, non-parent guardian, or a same-sex couple, you can be assured that the ceremony will be sensitive to your needs and situation. As it will if your child was donor-conceived or you are celebrating your child's or your own transition.

What will be included in the ceremony?

When you do me the honour of choosing me to be your celebrant, I guarantee that you will have a naming ceremony that is
  • personal
  • inclusive
  • relationship-strengthening
  • light-hearted in the appropriate places
  • authentic to your beliefs and values
In preparing for a naming ceremony I will spend time getting to know your family to ensure I create a ceremony which perfectly reflects your needs, your beliefs, your values and the unique qualities and heritage of the child or person being named.

As with all ceremonies I create and conduct, your ceremony will be inclusive and invites participation from everyone important to you.

Part of ensuring that significant family members feel included is presentation of thank-you certificates which include a photograph of the child.

I will provide you with resources and information
  • Your godchild your godparent responsibilities: a guide to share with those you have chosen to fulfill this important role in your child's life
  • Guidelines for arranging a naming ceremony in a private home/garden
  • and much more.....

Creating a custom-created naming ceremony takes commitment, creativity, knowledge and time that goes far beyond the visible half hour of the actual ceremony.  The invisible hours (10 - 15+ on average) include:

  • Communicating with you by email, text, or phone
  • Providing you with information and exploring with you ideas and opportunities to ensure that your ceremony fits with the overall style of your the day but also provides substance
  • Preparing and completing all the certificates
  • Creating the first draft of the ceremony and reworking as we finalise it
  • Creating and printing the keepsake copy of the ceremony
  • Travel to and from the ceremony venue
  • Briefing the godparents and other participants in the ceremony
In your ceremony, the creative use of symbols such as candles, wishing stones, trees, mementos, gifts, together with items of family significance, will add meaning and create lovely photo opportunities. Innovative inclusion of references to your family story will also be a feature of the ceremony.

Some background information on Naming Ceremonies

Naming ceremonies are sometimes called secular christenings. A naming ceremony is ideal for parents who have no religious convictions. However, where parents believe that children should choose their own spiritual path and values when they are mature enough to do so, or where the family belongs to a denomination that does not believe in infant baptism, having a naming ceremony allows you to joyfully welcome your child into your family and have a religious christening or baptism at a later date if you wish.

The ceremony itself performs no legal function (but then, neither does a christening). It does not replace your legal obligation to register your child's birth with the Registry Office in your state. Nor is the appointment of guardians as part of the ceremony legal and binding. But it does perform a very important social function.
  • It can help you clarify how you want to support your child as he or she grows
  • It is a joyous expression of welcome, both to the family and to the wider community
  • It provides an opportunity to share the wonder, joy and pride you feel
  • It is a reminder of the great responsibility involved in raising a child
  • It is a formal mechanism to appoint godparents (defined in modern dictionaries as someone who acts as a godparent or is a sponsor or protector) and honour other significant adults, such as grandparents, who will have important roles in the nurturing and supporting the child
  • It provides you, as the parent(s) with an opportunity to acknowledge your gratitude to  family, friends, and particularly godparents (also called guardians, sponsors,  mentors, guideparents. life guides or any term you choose) for their involvement in your child's life
  • It provides a formal opportunity for significant adults to commit to supporting and nurturing the child and each other.

More information