Baby Naming & Adoption Welcoming Blog

by Steve Pritchard-Jones

Naming and Adoption Welcoming ceremonies are a popular choice for families in the UK who want to formally welcome and celebrate a new family member whether through birth or adoption without making a commitment to any particular religion. A naming or adoption welcoming ceremony will offer a beautiful opportunity to welcome a new family member into your loving family and signify your union as a family together.

The ceremony is a special occasion and one that your family and friends will remember and talk about for years to come.

By law, you must register the birth of a new child and as part of the process, a name has been decided and documented on the legal birth certificate. It’s important to remember that a baby naming ceremony isn’t about actually giving the child their name. It’s a celebration! A baby naming ceremony can be described as a secular christening; however, the ceremony can include expressions of faith if the parents want this. It doesn’t replace a christening, baptism, or other religious denomination ceremonies. Some families choose to have a religious christening as well as a naming ceremony because in this modern age in which we now live, some family members are believers and an increasing number of family members are non-believers.

A baby or adoption naming ceremony can be held anywhere the family wishes, although in some cases you may require permission. 

There is no set script and no time limitations. Parents can have what they want, where they want it, and when they want it. 

Things to consider if planning to hold a naming or adoption welcoming ceremony in a public place:

How accessible is the space? 

Will parents with small children in prams and anyone with mobility problems be able to get to it easily? 

Parking arrangements?

What facilities are available and how close are they? 

Are there any toilets? 

Is there seating? 

What if it rains? What is ‘Plan B’? You’ll need to have an alternative if,

  • It rains
  • Extreme heat
  • Venue becomes unavailable which can happen with parks and other public spaces
  • How crowded is the area likely to be and how noisy?

How crowded is the area likely to be and how noisy?

Are there hazards in the vicinity – busy roads, unfenced ponds or water features?

Do you need permission?

Where will family and friends stand or do you need chairs?

Where will parents and guide parents stand?

Is there shade?

Will everyone be able to see what’s going on, and will you (and your celebrant) be able to see the guests?

Where you will position the table – you’ll need a table to sign certificates and to hold any ceremonial or ritual objects

There are no legal requirements in the UK for a naming ceremony, so, from the legal point of view, anyone can lead the ceremony. However, as with all special ceremonies, it takes a great deal of skill and experience to create and deliver a meaningful ceremony that is both emotionally satisfying and personalised.

This is where I come in as a professional Life Celebrant.

 I will work with you to write a bespoke ceremony and I will also officiate the ceremony. My service includes collating detailed information about your family, your new baby or adopted child, your wishes, and your dreams for your new family member. I will also offer suggestions about what to include in the ceremony, such as special rituals and a personalised certificate.

A naming ceremony is a celebration, so there are opportunities to include special meaningful rituals in the ceremony. 

The following list is not in any way exhaustive but can help open up the possibilities or guide you to think of your own ideas for a symbolic ceremony. Remember, the beauty of it is that there are no right and wrong ways, and there are no rules. 

Water & Pebble Ritual

A pile of pebbles for family members and friends to pick up, hold in their hands and think of some words of wisdom, guidance or a blessing while the stone is in their hands warming up. These stones would then be placed into the jar of water.

Sand ceremony

The parents, guide parents and adopted child (if old enough), pour different coloured sand into a single jar to signify their unity. 

Memory Box/Time Capsule

Items that mean something personal to the family are placed in a box or capsule and only opened on a special birthday such as their 18th or 21st. 

Candle Ritual

For this beautiful piece of ritual, parents, guide parents and child if able to, will each place a candle beside an unlighted pillar candle. Once you have both said appropriate words of encouragement, the parents will light up the unlighted pillar candle. The lighting of the unity candle represents your obligation to each other as a family.

Plant a rose bush, tree, or plant 

Planting a tree is another ritual executed by families after reciting a suitable passage of text. The tree, bush, or plant you will be planting represents your family unity and its roots signify the love and attachment that you have for each other.

Wishing Tree/Positivity Tree Ritual 

This is an individual tree, either made of plywood or an actual small branch of a real tree and cemented into a plant pot. At the naming ceremony, friends and family could leave blessings or messages on individual labels and tie them to the tree. 

Wish Jar 

Guests write their hopes and wishes for the child.

Message Book 

Guests leave a message for the family

Patchwork Ritual

I love this one! Guests would all bring a piece of material from something special to them – their favourite old shirt, favourite old football shirt, favourite scarf etc and then I would have someone make all these pieces of fabric into a blanket for the baby. Friends and family would place a blessing on these pieces of fabric before they are all sewn up together.

Wrapping a small item of jewellery

Each guest is given a piece of paper and they write a special word or phased on the paper. The jewellery is wrapped in many pieces of paper it is passed round to the next person and they repeat the process, wrapping up their special words. This would carry on until everyone has completed their wrapping. At a special time in your child’s life, they could unwrap as many or all the sheets to reveal the words left behind.

There may be family traditions that would be meaningful to include or refer to in the naming ceremony. There may be cultural traditions from either side of the family that could be incorporated to honour the cultural background and this is a wonderful reminder of your child’s roots and the history of your family.

Remembering deceased relatives or friends of the child can be both a meaningful and poignant addition to the naming ceremony. 

Where living loved ones can’t be present because of distance or other reasons, one option would be to stream the ceremony to share the wonderful occasion with them. 

I hope this blog gives you some ideas for your child’s naming or adoption welcoming ceremony, and as always, I’m only a phone call or email away to help if you have any questions. And once again, remember that there are no rules. You can have any venue, any text, any music, and any symbolic ceremony that you as parents want.

Personally, I’m excited about creating bespoke ceremonies that are unique, meaningful, fun, and personalised. If this sounds like something you would like to have for your naming or adoption welcoming ceremony, or you wish to know more about any other ceremony that I offer, then please give me a call on 07988 626 583 or email steve@pjtopnote.co.uk or complete the contact on www.pjtopnote.co.uk and I will get back to you.

 Thanks for reading!


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Tel: 07988 626 583

Steve Pritchard-Jones

Steve Pritchard-Jones

I am an independent civil celebrant conducting weddings, celebration of life/funerals, commitment, civil partnership, renewal of vows, adoption welcoming, naming, pet funerals, internment or scatter of ashes, memorials service, and even divorce ceremonies in Shropshire, West Midlands, Mid and North Wales, Derbyshire, Staffordshire & throughout the UK.