“We know we want to do something to celebrate our baby’s arrival, but we’re not religious so a christening wouldn’t feel right.”

We hear this a lot and this is exactly where humanist naming ceremonies come in. Happy, personal and relaxed occasions, they can be held where and when a family choose.

Naming ceremonies are relatively new and increasingly popular. They are organised by the many parents who know that they want to mark their child’s arrival but who want to do so in a way that isn’t religious.

Naming ceremonies:

  • Can be held wherever you want: at home, in the park, the garden, a village hall, the zoo…
  • Focus on the individual child, their personality and the friends and family that surround them
  • Can be held whenever you’re ready. There’s no rush: many are combined first birthday celebrations, for examples, and we also conduct many joint namings for siblings.

A typical naming ceremony might include readings or poems, parental promises to their child, the appointment of ‘guideparents’ and perhaps a symbolic action such as planting a tree, signing a certificate or writing in a wish book.

There’s no set script for a humanist naming ceremony – it’s too personal an occasion for that. Instead, every naming is tailored to meet the particular family’s requirements. Your British Humanist Association celebrant will guide you through the process. They will:

  • Meet you (often in your own home or wherever is convenient) to get to know you and what you want from the occasion
  • Share their ideas and draw on their experience
  • Write a unique ceremony based on your preferences
  • Edit this in response to your feedback to make sure it’s absolutely perfect for you
  • Conduct the ceremony on the day itself
  • Give you a presentation copy of the final script.

Humanist Ceremonies™ makes recommendations for fees and suggests a band of £150 to £300 for namings, but the exact price will vary according to the distance a celebrant needs to travel and the complexity of the ceremony. Many celebrants give an indication of their fees on their websites but do always check this with them when you enquire about their availability.

“There were lots of tears, laughter and joy! Everyone ‘got’ what we did and were very impressed. We were so lucky to share it all with all our friends and family.”

You can download our namings leaflet or see our Frequently Asked Questions about naming ceremonies.

You can also see a sample structure of a naming ceremony or look for celebrants who conduct naming ceremonies in your area.

You may also like to buy a copy of the British Humanist Association’s book, New Arrivals. This includes lots of information and ideas on music and readings as well as sample ceremonies.

We’d love to hear from you if you’ve had a humanist naming ceremony and would like to share a photo and a tell us a bit about it for our website.