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A Naming Ceremony – When it’s one of your own

A Naming Ceremony – When it’s one of your own – By Anne Barber

I love naming ceremonies. I have conducted loads since first setting up the scheme for registrars to conduct naming ceremonies back in 2002. Of course it has changed hugely since then and now more celebrants than registrars carry out naming ceremonies. The original point was that parents would have to think about what they wanted to promise to their child or baby and say this at the ceremony. The government at the time was very concerned about divorce rates and both parents staying involved in the life of the child. These ceremonies were thought to be a way of cementing relationships, making promises and keeping them

Maybe these ceremonies do help keep both parents involved, maybe they make no difference, but I do know they have depth, resonance and most importantly they focus on the key relationship between parent and child. It is tangible. You can feel it as parents make their promises, always a tear or two. Supporting Adults, guide parents or whatever title is given to those people who promise a special relationship with the child at the ceremony, take on a responsibility and it’s clear in their faces that they do so seriously.

These ceremonies have meaning and are remembered.

Yesterday I carried out the naming ceremony for my own grandaughter, it was also her first birthday party. Her birth and the fact that she is healthy was an absolute miracle due to her mum’s health issues. It was an emotional, joyous, sincere and important event and gave real meaning to the party that followed.

My top 5 tips for those conducting ceremonies for their own family are:

1. Don’t over-manage it! You may be a professional Celebrant, or not, but let the main participants be in control. You probably do know what works best, but it is THEIR day so go with their ideas and wishes. Resist the temptation to take over.

2. Cope with your own emotion in advance! Get the ceremony written and read it aloud UNTIL you can do it without choking or sobbing!

3. Depending on content, be prepared to hand the script to someone else to say the part that includes you as a grandparent or Supporting Adult etc.

4. Be prepared for your ‘client’, in this case my daughter, to change their mind at the last minute a lot more than one of your other clients will! They will ask much more of you than other clients!

5. My daughter (a designer by occupation) said to me afterwards that great ceremony creation is like great design – it works best when you can’t see the ‘work’. When the ceremony is for your own family, weave in as much personal content as you can (you will know it anyway!).

The ceremonies that you do for your own are undoubtedly the best you will ever deliver on so many levels. They create really magical moments and what a privilege it is to use your celebrant skills in creating such personal ceremonies.

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