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Christenings & naming ceremonies

Christenings & naming ceremonies

Christening and naming ceremonies are when family and friends mark the birth of a baby. Both are regarded as the time when a baby is officially named.

Christening

Many churches have baptisms as part of their Sunday service; this means the whole community can join in the ceremony. Contact your local Vicar for further information.

Another option is a church blessing, which doesn't contain the commitment that a baptism or christening holds. These are becoming more popular as they celebrate a baby's birth within the church, welcome it and give thanks for the baby's arrival; a Christening or baptism can follow when the child is old enough to understand its significance. Sometimes churches allow parents to write part of the blessing, although check with the church first. Godparents are optional.

Christening clothes are important, with some people keeping their family's garment for generations so it gains symbolic value. Traditionally styled gowns may be worn, but plain white or cream outfits look beautiful too. Whichever outfit is chosen, it should be put on at the last possible minute to avoid any mishaps!

Naming ceremony

Naming ceremonies are becoming increasingly popular amongst parents who want to mark the birth of a baby with friends and family but don't want a religious christening. Although this approach is less traditional, it doesn't hold any less value for parents or guests. Naming ceremonies can be held at any venue chosen by the parents, and can be as formal or informal as they like.

One good thing about creating a naming ceremony is that religious or spiritual and secular readings can all be included together. Combining hymns like 'All Things Bright and Beautiful' with chart music is a possibility, as is mixing Bible and other readings. Choose meaningful music and readings - they don't have to be about birth or naming, just topics important to the parents.

Tea, cakes and gifts!

After the service parents usually hold a light lunch or tea to complete the celebrations. Plan in advance and you can even pre-order buffet food from your favourite supermarket and hire wine or champagne glasses to help ease your work load.

Gifts

Relatives or friends may also offer to buy a gift for your baby to celebrate the day - you may wish to leave it to their discretion or suggest a list of items so you don't received five money boxes on the day!

The perfect christening gift