Modern guide to naming ceremonies

A modern guide to baby naming ceremonies

Planning a little get-together to wet the baby's head? Lucy Tallon explores the options


You've had the baby. You've written the thank-you cards. You even got five hours of unbroken sleep last night. And now you're expected to organise an event?! And no ordinary do, but one steeped in tradition. Where do you start? What are the rules? And the shortcuts?

Having done this twice in two years, for my boys Logan and Felix, here are my tips on how to celebrate your baby's arrival without breaking the bank or driving yourself to distraction.

With military timing...

Think carefully about how things will fit in with your baby's routine (although he's bound to wake at 5am that morning and be insatiably hungry all day). It may sound obvious, but don't schedule key moments for when he would normally be asleep, or feeding.

...Something's gotta give

Having said that, don't worry too much if you have to cut a nap a little short, or feed in an unfamiliar place. Babies are adaptable, and you'll have lots of helpers on hand to induce an emergency power nap.

Personalise it...

Include readings that mean something to you, or ask the grandparents for suggestions. Talk to whoever leads the service, so they can include tales about your tot's arrival.

...But be prepared

If you want everyone to join in, beware of unwittingly choosing songs or hymns that turn out to have eight million verses, like we did at Felix's christening (For All the Saints, since you ask). And make sure they're not pitched too high...

The humanist option...

If you're not religious, or simply want to let your little one make their own choices later in life, you can get a celebrant from the British Humanist Association. They will lead a service of about 20 minutes, that's not in the least bit hippy dippy, I promise, just really down to earth and all about your family. I attended one recently where a lovely woman reminded us about the difficulties that had been involved in conceiving baby Zach – we all cried and reflected on how wonderful it was that he had arrived.

...Or religious compromise

Don't worry if you and your partner have different religious backgrounds. These days preachers from many faiths will agree to bless the baby in a regular service, rather than undertake the full ritual. It'll still feel like a special day, but you won't have made a commitment you're uncomfortable with.

Significant others...


  • Modern guide to naming ceremonies (current position)
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