Choosing between a Christening or a Naming Ceremony?
So you’re trying to decide between a Naming Ceremony or a Baptism / Christening, you’ve got the whole family expecting a party.
You want everyone to celebrate the birth of your little bundle of joy but at the same time you’re also thinking “what the heck is the difference between a Naming Ceremony and a Christening or a Baptism???
Worry not, we’ll help you get the facts right.
Christening or a Naming Ceremony?
Many parents want to celebrate the birth of their baby, especially with friends and family to ‘name’ the baby. Officially, the name of your baby is recorded at your local register office and this is required by law.
Birth registration usually takes place at your local register office (usually within the district where the baby was born) and involves completing some paperwork – often by just the parents. As such, many people want to have more of a celebration and occasion with friends and family to publicly ‘name’ the baby.
“…birth registration is required by law and has to be done within 42 days of the birth of your baby…”
If you’re thinking about having a celebration, two of the main options include a christening or naming ceremony. For some the decision is fairly straight forward due to their religious beliefs, however, for others, the decision may be a more difficult one.
Shall I have a Christening?
A christening welcomes the child into Christianity and the church community. For some, a christening is seen as a family tradition and something which ‘ought to be done’ to celebrate and commemorate the new arrival. Many parents like the symbolism of a christening – having godparents and officially welcoming the child into a religious community.
For others the motivation may be a little more practical as being christened is often a pre-requisite for faith based schools and therefore may provide more options for schooling in the future.
Whatever the reason, a christening can be a special one-off occasion which brings families and friends together. If you’re not entirely sure what a christening is and what it means have a look at the article ‘What is a Christening?’
“Choosing between a Christening or a Naming Ceremony is tricky but ultimately both events bring family and friends together to celebrate a new loved one.”
Shall I have a Naming Ceremony?
Many parents feel they should let their child decide whether they want to practice a certain religion so feel they ought to wait until the child is old enough and can make their own decision.
For others, one parent may not be particularly religious or perhaps they feel hypocritical having a church service. Whatever the reasoning, if you do not want a religious service but want to organise a special celebration with friends and family then a naming ceremony may be an ideal option.
“A naming ceremony can be as formal or informal as you would like.”
A Naming Ceremony is also a wonderful way to include and welcome an adopted child or step children into a new family unit. It can be as formal or informal as you would like – this option is entirely up to you.
A ‘celebrant’ can be hired to conduct the service – for example, a registrar (similar to civil ceremonies e.g. weddings) or opt for someone else to run the service. The British Humanist Association is gaining in popularity for naming ceremonies – or you can do it all yourself or ask a confident family member or friend to do this. To find out a little more about naming ceremonies take a quick look at the article ‘What is a Naming Ceremony?‘.
- Naming Ceremony
- Licensed venue/home and garden
- Celebrant – registrar/humanist/yourself!
- None or ‘supporting adults’ or ‘mentors’
- Your choice of day providing the celebrant is free