I had never really seen the point in naming ceremonies. By the time you feel like attending (let alone organising) a social gathering after giving birth, it’s fair to say your baby’s name will be pretty well established.
I knew I was never going to Christen Small Stuff, religion is just not a factor in my life and although it’s always nice to have a family get together, a naming ceremony seemed a bit OTT to me- all the faff of arranging a venue, feeding everyone, getting someone to perform the ceremony etc. just to announce your baby’s name to people who already know it!
The way I looked at naming ceremonies changed when we started planning our wedding. When Small Stuff was 3 months old, Mr Stuff decided that after 11 years and a child together it was time to make an honest woman of me. We had a no-frills, weekday, registry office wedding (no rings, basic vows, no music, no guests, the bride wore Primark!) We just viewed this day as a matter of paperwork. We then had our “big day” wedding that weekend and the ceremony was performed by a humanist celebrant – a wonderful lady named Shirley George.
Having a humanist ceremony meant the wedding could be completely personalised. The date fell 2 weeks after Small Stuff’s first birthday and we knew we wanted to involve her in the ceremony somehow. This is when I reconsidered the possibility of a naming ceremony.
Shirley drafted the wording and found some beautiful poems and readings for us so we could have a combined wedding and naming ceremony. It was then that I realised the term “naming ceremony” is well, a bit of a misleading name! It’s not just about announcing the name of your child, in fact that was barely touched on. For us it was about asking selected friends and family to promise that they would always be a presence in Small Stuff’s life, to be someone she could always turn to, to help her develop and grow. I guess you could say it was like a christening but instead of Godparents making promises to God, we had guideparents making promises to our daughter.
Here’s my favourite reading from the guideparents which sums it all up really.
We want you to be happy
We want you to be happy.
We want you to have the type of friendship that is a treasure and the kind of love that is beautiful forever.
We wish you contentment; the sweet, quiet inner kind that comes around and never goes away.
We want you to have a real understanding of how unique you truly are.
We want to remind you that the sun may disappear for a while, but it never forgets to shine.
We want you to be able to make your good times better and your hard times easier to handle.
Of all things we’ll be wishing for, wherever you are and whatever we may do, there will never be a day in our lives when we won’t be wishing for the best…for you.
How lovely is that?!
So if you’re undecided about a naming ceremony, don’t get too hung up on the naming aspect. You are bestowing a huge honour on whoever you choose to involve and what could be nicer than surrounding your little one with people who promise to cherish and care for them and all having a lovely day together?
Just to add, we made it clear that we didn’t expect cards and presents for Small Stuff but she did receive a “Lost my name” book which is just so whimsical and beautiful. It will be treasured for years to come. If you’re struggling to think of keepsake gift ideas and want to break from the norm I highly recommend you check out www.lostmy.name you can’t go wrong!
Did you hold a naming ceremony? What did you include?
Are you planning a naming ceremony? Share your ideas with me!