What is a baby naming ceremony?

A baby naming ceremony is a beautiful way to welcome a new baby with your family and friends. You can take the time to celebrate this new life and new addition to your family, or if its your first baby, the creation of your family.


Its so good to mark this joyful event with a ceremony, after all this is possibly the most important, monumental and life changing event of your life! Not to mention, the beginning of a new life….

And that new life is a new addition not just to your immediate family unit but also to your wider family and your community of friends and neighbours. You may be surprised by who wants to read a poem or say a short paragraph at your baby’s naming ceremony.

There is no special time or date to hold a naming ceremony, whenever you are ready and you have chosen the name you will be able to start choosing a date for the ceremony. Many people have this ceremony in their own homes. Others use function rooms, parks, private clubs, the beach, parent’s houses or community gardens. This ceremony can be relaxed or formal. The choice is yours.



The benefit of choosing a trained professional independent celebrant like me is that we have training in the writing, delivery and choreography of ceremonies. We are used to public speaking and last minute changes or emergencies. We know how to listen to people and deliver their story as part of their ceremony. This is what makes a celebrant led ceremony so special. Not to mention the in depth knowledge of many ceremony enhancements, that lend that special magic to a ceremony.


This is a really special way to name your baby and welcome him or her into your family and community. This ceremony gives a chance for you as new parents to celebrate your new arrival and to bless them in your own way. I found my own sons naming ceremony very special, after all the blur and exhaustion of the first few weeks it was lovely to stand back and take the time to write down our feelings on being a new family and our hopes and wishes for our baby son.

We each gave a short speech on what becoming a parent meant to us, giving thanks to our own parents and what they had taught us about parenting and life that had helped us arrive at this point and we included some wishes or blessings for our baby.

After our speeches (my sons dad actually did his in song form) we each lit a candle, to symbolize us as individuals and with those candles lit a larger central candle to symbolize the creation of our family.

My sister’s girlfriend wanted to be involved and she read a poem. We asked two close friends to be ‘guide parents’, to be involved in our son’s life, always are an extra adult there for him. I said a short paragraph on why I had chosen each of them and then they stood up and each lit a candle and said a couple of words to the baby (who was fast asleep) promising to always be there for him and listen to him and support him.

Our celebrant spoke about my partner and I and what being a new family meant to us and read a lovely poem. The whole ceremony was deeply personal to us and written with our input and feedback. Our guests commented on how touching it had been and how they had wished they had known that there were alternative options to the traditional route for a baby naming ceremony. They found that our ceremony had been more meaningful than others that they had been at, including the ones for their own children, and had reflected us both as individuals and as a family very well. It was relaxed, fun and it meant a huge amount to us.

We had the ceremony on the deck at home, with just 12 guests. We made all the food for the buffet ourselves and I made the decorations for the deck (with inspiration from Pinterest and using up-cycled materials such as old fabrics) and my sister and her girlfriend arranged the flowers around the house.

My mother was very unwell with cancer at that time, and we had just been told that she had only a few months left so the ceremony was extra special for us- it was the one major event in my son’s life that my mother would be at. She passed away three months later. Those emotions, knowing that we would have to say goodbye to her soon and how much my son meant to her, did make the ceremony both harder and sweeter. I did cry when I spoke, and it did feel like heart break knowing that my mum wouldn’t see my boy grow but I cherish the memories of that ceremony.

I would highly recommend having a naming ceremony to anyone. It’s a perfect way to celebrate your new addition. And a new baby deserves to be celebrated, as do you as new parents! Using a celebrant for your ceremony means that it can be just how you’d like it- as classy and chilled out as you like. As well as this, the ceremony will be all about your baby and your family- the celebrant will not bring any personal agenda into your ceremony. As a celebrant, to me this means that I can accommodate what families want to have included in their ceremonies in the best way that I can. It means there are no barriers to spirituality, but at the same time, it doesn’t have to be there. This is your day, your way.


A welcome ceremony is a lovely way to celebrate an older new member of your family… All of the basic elements can be the same as for the baby naming ceremony- the parents can each light an individual candle to symbolize themselves and then together with those candles they can light a larger central candle, symbolizing the family unit. An older child may want to light their own candle and all three light the central candle.

Poems, music, words about welcome and family and hopes and wishes and what you see in your child are all appropriate and just right for a welcome ceremony. It can be as serious or as fun as you want. You can name guide parents, plant a tree, compose or read a poem… just as for a naming ceremony.


A blending ceremony is yet another variation and is for two families that are coming together, for instance two single parents choosing to live together might want to hold a blending ceremony. It serves as a welcome to everyone in his or her new family unit and lets the kids know (as well as any guests) that this is a new family unit.

As your celebrant I can provide suggestions of poetry, music and ceremony enhancements to make your day even more special.

Get in touch if you want to know more about naming ceremonies- kate@kateoshaughnessycelebrant.ie