Your Little Ones
Whether this wonderful latest addition to your family is a new baby, an adopted child or stepchild, it is both a joyous and heartfelt occasion that should be celebrated in the company of family and friends. The symbolic ritual with which we welcome them into the world and our families, provides the very primary scaffolding to their personality and identity. All any of us want, is to have a child that feels held by their family, by their community and may be by their beliefs.
A Humanist Naming or Welcoming ceremony is a great way of bringing your family together to wish your little one the very best in their life, make commitments and promises to their future, and celebrate the joy that they bring - in any setting of your choice. Not only will I formally introduce them to your family and friends and confirm and bestow upon them their chosen names, but you may also wish for me to appoint supporting adults who have a special interest in their development, known as Guideparents or Mentors
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What Happens During a Humanist Naming Ceremony?
The arrival of a new child, stepchild or adopted child is one of life's treasured moments. A naming ceremony is not a baptism or christening, it is a non-religious celebration and can often be done to coincide with your baby's first birthday celebrations.
These ceremonies are a way of welcoming your child into your family unit by formally introducing them to their family and friends. It is also an opportunity to officially name your child whilst paying homage to their name's heritage.
Namings involve the important people in your child's life - family and close friends. Therefore, parents have an opportunity to ask other adults to play a supportive role in their child's life. These people are known as guideparents or mentors and they are appointed during the ceremony.
Parents may also like to make a commitment to their baby's future, and so you can recite your own written promises to your baby, if you wish. While this ceremony does not have any legal status, it is a wonderful way to welcome your child and celebrate them as they begin their journey through life.
What is the Format of the Ceremony?
- Welcome and Introduction
- Some Words about Baby and the Significance of those Gathered
- A Reading
- A Symbolic Ritual
- Acknowledgement & Appointment of Guide Parents
- A Reading
- Parental Declaration and/or Promises
- Formal Baby Naming
- A Symbolic Ritual
- Music – if family or friends are musical
- Signing of Commemorative Naming Certificate
- Closing Words
- A Toast to Baby’s Future
What Naming Ceremony Enhancements or Rituals Can we Include?
There are many different elements that you can choose to make your child’s Naming ceremony unique, personal, meaningful, and symbolic of the love and dedication that goes into raising your child. Symbolic rituals, when used in a naming ceremony are sooooo cute and heartfelt.
I will spend time with you planning your perfect naming ceremony and to give you some inspiration, here are a few ideas of what you might include (normally 2 to 3); a Candle ceremony, Tree of Well-wishing, Sand ceremony, Family Tree Thumb Print ceremony, Memory Box/Time Capsule, Rose Petal ceremony, Symbolic Box, Tree Planting, Bubble or Balloon Release, Signing Commemorative Naming Cert or we could just develop or include one of your own family traditions.
Can We Involve Our Other Children or Friends and Family Members in the Ceremony?
Absolutely. This is a celebration of your whole family unit and your new addition is joining it. So, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and even close friends can take part - adding to your little one’s celebrations. Maybe, their siblings can write a poem or perhaps make their own commitments or promises to help look after their new brother or sister, which will make them feel very much involved. Family or friends could show off their talents by singing a song, playing an instrument or reciting readings and grandparents or guideparents can light candles or take part in other symbolic elements - they will all love being a part of it. There are various other ways of including them, all of which I can discuss with you.
Where Can a Humanist Naming & Welcoming Ceremony be Held?
Many people choose to hold the ceremonies in their own homes (often in the garden, weather permitting). Otherwise they are normally held in a local hotel, community/sports centre or GAA club. Woodlands & parks are good venues too.
How long Does a Ceremony Typically Last?
Naming/Welcoming ceremonies typically take anything from 15 mins – 30 mins, it’s up to you and it will depend on the elements you choose to include.
How Much Does a Humanist Naming & Welcoming Ceremony Cost?
Typically, you can expect a fee in the region of €300 - €350 (this does not include the €25 contribution required by the HAI). Different celebrants will also have travel costs to factor into their costs, so fees may vary. Some celebrants are VAT-registered and, as such, need to add 23% VAT to their fees.
How do we Book Your Services?
Due to the current popularity of Humanist weddings, popular dates, particularly weekends are often booked up, to a year or more in advance. Naturally, as you will not be giving as much notice, it helps if you can be as flexible as possible with dates and times of day. Please feel free to contact me at any stage - I will be happy to explain all the processes involved, provide more information and check my availability for you.
Disclaimer: Please note that these topics are for general information purposes only. The answers are correct to the best of our belief and knowledge at present but are not definitive. Different HAI accredited celebrants take slightly different approaches, so please speak to a celebrant directly if you have a query or concern.