Humanist naming ceremonies – full of laughter and tears!

Barry willis humanist ceremony

by Stephanie Spencer |
Updated on

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A humanist naming ceremony is a wonderful way to welcome a new arrival to the family. Fiona and Dan tell us about the naming ceremony they held for their son last summer.

Why did you decide to have a humanist naming ceremony for George?

We wanted to create an occasion to celebrate the arrival of George into the world, and to bring together all our dearest family and friends to be a part of it. We’re not religious, so a humanist naming ceremony seemed to be the ideal solution - inclusive, joyous and totally personal to him as an individual.

We also wanted to mark the change in our lives: we were lucky enough to have lots of years together as a couple, travelling the world and socialising, but being parents is a new and exciting stage, and we wanted to recognise that.

The COVID restrictions meant we couldn’t have the ceremony when George was a baby but we finally managed to go ahead when he was almost two.

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How did you arrange it?

The first step was to get a list of local celebrants by searching on Humanists UK’s website and putting our postcode into the Find-A-Celebrant page. We spoke to a few to find the right fit for us - they were all happy to have a brief introductory call. The celebrant we chose seemed to have the same approach as us, and we liked her suggestions and ideas for the ceremony itself.

Then we met with her and told her all about us and George, and what it meant for us to have a family. We talked about ideas for the ceremony itself. She created a draft script, which we were able to amend and correct. On the day, the ceremony was exactly as we wanted it to be, full of laughter (and a few tears!).

Where did you hold the ceremony?

We’d just moved to a house with a lovely back garden, so decided to host it there. It worked perfectly - we had a small marquee, and decorated it with balloons and paper lanterns. Being outside meant there was lots of space for all the children to run around before and after the event, and we could all enjoy the sunshine.

Do you have god parents at a humanist naming ceremony?

We invited four of the people closest to us to have a special role in George’s life. We chose to call them guideparents, but could have decided on mentors - or even sparents, or fairy godparents! They decided that they each wanted to say something to George as part of the ceremony, promising to support his journey through life.


Did you include anything special?

We bought a tree to plant in the garden, and asked everyone to write good wishes for George’s future on message tags and tie them on the branches. They’re a lovely keepsake

of everyone’s love for him, and the tree will grow as he does. It was a really touching shared symbolic gesture.

What was the best bit of the day?

For us, it was the chance to say to George in front of all our family and friends, what having him in our lives means to us, and to promise him that we will try to be the most supportive parents to him that we can be. It was incredibly emotional!


What tips do you have for anyone thinking of hosting a naming ceremony?

It doesn’t need to be grand - you could be in a park, or in a wood. The most important thing is to create a memorable moment for everyone close to you, coming together to celebrate your child. Involving a professional celebrant accredited by Humanists UK was the right choice for us as it meant the ceremony was perfectly planned and delivered.

Find out more about humanist naming ceremonies, and how to find a humanist naming celebrant near you.

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Photo credit: Barry Willis Photography

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