Should I Have a Christening or a Naming Ceremony for my Baby?

Oct 1, 2020 | Namings

Have you’ve always presumed that the only option of what you can do to mark the arrival of your most precious bundle of joy, was to have a Christening? This is most definitely not the case. You can have a beautiful magical Naming Day Ceremony!

Here’s some information to help you decide which ceremony is best suited to you and your baby.

What is the difference between a Christening and a Naming Ceremony?

The main difference between a Christening and a Naming Ceremony, is that one is a religious ceremony, and the other, although it can contain elements of religion with a Celebrant, generally, is not.

little girl getting Christened with Mum and brother in a church

Often we don’t really give too much thought to the reason why we Christen our children. We just do it because we were Christened ourselves. But a traditional Christening is really a ceremony to initiate your child into the Christian faith. The Godparents you choose are making vows to guide your child to live their life in a Christian way. It’s a religious ceremony, always performed in a church. Some people believe that it’s a legal ceremony, but this isn’t the case, you are simply choosing your child’s faith, and making promises to raise them as a Christian.

A Naming Ceremony, however, is all about celebrating the name you have chosen for your child, and also to formally welcome them into your family. It is a beautifully inclusive ceremony, and can be held anywhere you like. Even in your own garden.

Little girl in ladybird costume running in a garden at a naming ceremony

What About Godparents? Can we Still Choose Them at a Naming Ceremony?

The answer is YES!

When you have an Independent Celebrant to write your ceremony, you can indeed choose Godparents. Some people prefer to call them GuideParents, Mentors or even Fairy Godparents, but if you want to keep the traditional name though, it’s no problem at all.

There are no rules either on how many GuideParents you can have. The choice is yours! If you’re finding it too hard to pick mentors, you could ask everyone that is attending, to have a role in your child’s life, and create a group promise or vow section in your ceremony, where everyone agrees to be guiding lights and guardians on your child’s path. After all, the saying goes that “it takes a whole village to raise a child”

What can we Include in our Child’s Naming Day That is Different From a Christening?

Once more, this is entirely up to you. Here’s my list of Top 10 Mini Ceremonies and Elements To Choose From For A Super Special Naming Ceremony:

1. A Thumb Print Tree
2. A Tree of Wishes
3. A Time Capsule Ceremony
4. A Sand Blending Ceremony
5. A Unity Candle Ceremony
6. Wish Jar Ceremony
7. A Reading or Poem
8. A Favourite Song or Lullaby
9. Planting of a Tree or Rose
10. A Commemorative Certificate Signing

All these elements go along side of the promises to your baby/child that can be made by the Parents, Grandparents, and Guideparents.

What else happens on the day?

I would always recommend having at least one reading or poem, which is often lovely to have read by a family member or close friend. If you have any would be poets in your family, how amazing would it be if they could write one especially for this magical day.

The pinnacle of this lovely ceremony, just as in a Christening, is the actual naming of your child.  You can include reasons why you chose the name, the meaning of the name, and any family history regarding it. Often names are passed down through the generations, and it will be wonderful for your child to learn all about this when they are older, especially if you have a keepsake copy of the script.  Make it as personal as you can to create the most wonderful memories.

Blowing bubbles full of wishes is also a gorgeous thing to do, especially when the certificate is being signed. It’s a great way to keep other children happy too. They could could blow them all the way through the ceremony, to help them feel they too, have an important role in the day!

Mum kissing giggling son at an outdoor Naming Ceremony with bubbles being blown

A Naming Day is generally a lot more relaxed than a formal Christening, but each Ceremony has it’s place, and everyone’s preference is completely personal.

So in answer to our first question, “Should I have a Christening or a Naming Ceremony” ask yourself if you would like your child to be a Christian, and if the answer is yes, then a Christening is for you. If the answer is no, find your local Independent Celebrant and start planning your awesome Naming Day Ceremony together!

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