What is a Naming Ceremony?

by Steve Pritchard-Jones

Did you know a naming ceremony encompasses several different ceremonies?

Here are the most common,

Baby naming
Change of name
LGBTQ Coming out

Why not put the ceremony into the hands of a professional celebrant? I am an accredited celebrant and will spend time getting to know your family and circumstances and I will work with you to produce and deliver a bespoke ceremony which is personal and meaningful.

Naming ceremonies are generally non-religious but religious elements can be included. The ceremony allows parents and individuals the opportunity to gather with family and friends to welcome a new family member or to celebrate a change of lifestyle or name change.

As there’s no legal aspect to this type of ceremony, the ceremony can be held wherever you like, as long you have the necessary permission.

Ceremonies can be combined with beautiful symbolic rituals that have meaning to the family, these include tree planting, scattering of flower seeds, the sand ceremony, unity candle lighting, plus many more. See my ‘Rituals’ blog to find out more.

A Naming ceremony is based on the idea of a welcome. Its purpose is to celebrate new life or in the context of a family, to welcome a new relationship with the person it concerns, or to celebrate a new addition to the family. A ceremony is constructed and officiated to ‘name’ or ‘welcome’ the new life and for the family to share their aspirations for the child’s future.

There is also no reason why a naming ceremony cannot be conducted for a newborn/young child or for a child being welcomed into the family through adoption for example. It is a wonderful opportunity to share the love for the change in family circumstances with family and friends.

There are several different types of naming ceremony, here are a few examples,

Baby Naming Ceremony

This is a celebration of new life. This ceremony will usually take place between 2 months – 1 year old.

Parents may choose to appoint ‘Guide Parents’ or any name that may signify a special person in the upbringing of the child. The Guide parent can be involved as much or as little in the ceremony itself, such as performing a reading, making wishes or tying coloured ribbons, the list is endless and entirely up to the client.

A Guide parent would be someone that the client sees their baby potentially looking to for advice or help or guidance in the future, hence the use of the accepted term Guide Parent. It’s an amazing honour to bestow on anyone and the responsibilities that the client attaches to the role may vary massively, along with the briefing given before the special day.

Adoption Welcoming Ceremony

This is a ceremony that recognises a new addition to a family unit and could be for any age as well as any family configuration.

If someone is adopted into the family, a ceremony can be performed to mark and honour their right as a family member. The involvement of other significant people may also vary, such as the child doing a reading or marking the significance of the occasion with a ritual or perhaps even something fun like a show of their talent. It’s all about making the child feel welcome, and comfortable and ensuring all those around them who love and care for them will be there to support them as part of the new family unit.

Stepchildren Welcoming Ceremony

This is a celebration of blending a (new) family unit. It is a great way to recognise two families coming together and the love that the (new) relationships hold and represent. The purpose is to surround the new family unit with the love and support of significant people in their lives; to declare to the world that the new family is strong, cohesive and bound together with love.

Change of Name Ceremony

If a person decides to change their name throughout their life, they may choose to have a ‘Renaming’ ceremony to mark this occasion. This can be particularly relevant to transgender and is a wonderful chance for the client’s family to openly declare their love and support for the person making the change.

There could be a whole host of reasons why someone would change their name, but as above, the same applies regarding total location flexibility, setting, style and everything else to make it personalised.

Transgender/Coming Out Ceremony

If a person decides to change their name, sexual orientation, or gender throughout their life, they may choose to have a ‘renaming’ ceremony to mark this occasion. This can be particularly relevant to transgender and is a wonderful chance for the family to openly declare their love and support for the person making the change.

Baby Naming after passing ceremony

In the unfortunate event that a baby does not live in the first few months, parents may choose to have a Naming ceremony to officially mark the life and name of the child that has passed. This sometimes coincides with a funeral service and is a beautiful marking of the life lost, for whatever reason. Ceremonies such as these are very often more low-key than the others, they are quite intimate and understandably emotionally charged

Contact me for further information or to book a free no obligation consultation.


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.