I have been meaning to write this post for a while now, as when I was planning Darcie’s Naming Ceremony I could only find limited information on how to organise the day.
I have had my heart set on having a Naming Ceremony for my hypothetical future child way before I knew Darcie was on the way. My Aunt and Uncle held Naming Ceremonies for both of my cousins when I was around the age of 12. I just remember the days being colourful and happy and such a contrast to the few Christenings I had been to which were stiff and dry in comparison. For anyone unaware of what a Naming Ceremony is, it is basically a gathering of all your family and friends to welcome your child into the world and into your family. They are originally a Humanist idea but you don’t have to be a Humanist to have one. I saw it as a chance to get everyone together to celebrate Darcie and just generally have a good time. We also chose some of our friends as her Guide Parents (an alternative to God Parents) and this was a nice occasion to formally recognise their significance to us and to Darcie. The thing that I love the most about having a Naming Ceremony is that it is completely bespoke to you, there are no rules about what to include and what to do so it can really be a reflection of your own personality.
I wanted to have the Naming Ceremony relatively soon after her birth as a big part of it for me was to welcome her into the family so I was keen for her to still be new to people. She was around 5 months on the day and was unfortunately going through a phase where she didn’t really want to be held by anyone but me. It didn’t really make a difference to the day but with retrospect I feel maybe if we had waited another month or so she would have been feeling more sociable, but you really can’t plan for these things!
You can hold a Naming Ceremony basically anywhere as it is not a legal ceremony so the venue doesn’t need to have any particular licenses. I found a lovely venue close to where I live called King John’s House which is a Tudor Cottage that did used to belong to King John and is now used as a Museum and Tea Rooms. It has a beautiful outdoor courtyard where we had the ceremony and lovely gardens and of course the actual house itself which is where we had our buffet and some entertainment. It was late September so the weather was very hit and miss on the day, we did manage to have our ceremony outside although we had to move our guests in and out a few times before we began as there were a few unexpected showers.We decorated the venue with flowers and a big rustic board full of photos from Darcie’s life so far. I had planned on having candles dotted around but unfortunately Health and Safety meant I couldn’t. I also ordered some hessian bunting with Darcie May written on it from Etsy and we had a Guest Book from Paperchase for people to write a message to Darcie for when she is older.
One of my closest school friends held the actual ceremony for us which I had put together from bits I had found online. There are a load of sample ceremonies online which you can find easily with a Google search. My Sister and Best Friend both read poems and after the ceremony my Dad and Brother played Moon River and I Can’t Give you Anything (But My Love) on the piano and french horn which was a lovely end to the proceedings. There were a couple of commitments for myself and Dan and also for Darcie’s Guide Parents too. After the Ceremony we had a buffet that we had put together ourselves with a trip to Costco and plenty of Champagne and drinks for everyone. I was so impressed with Darcie throughout the day, considering she wasn’t going through a very confident stage and her naps were very interrupted she held it together beautifully. All in all it was a lovely day, of course with retrospect there are things that I would do differently next time (like allowing at least 2 more hours to decorate the venue) and things which I wish had gone smoother, but it was such a special day to have so many people make such an effort to come and celebrate our baby girl with us and I will treasure the photos and memories for a long time to come.