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Naming ceremonies

A naming ceremony is an opportunity to welcome and celebrate existing or new family members. As parents, you can use a naming ceremony as a public or private declaration of how you will bring your children up, how you will guide and support them and cherish their contribution to the family.

The age of the children does not matter - you determine when you want to celebrate. A naming ceremony can be used as a formal welcoming event for adopted children and stepchildren into a new relationship and form part of the family bonding within an extended family unit.

Quite often couples who have booked a civil marriage or civil partnership like to add the facility of a naming ceremony immediately after their own ceremony. This brings a much richer dimension to the day of celebration and commitment across the whole family.

Children playing with confetti
A family with a baby in a sunny garden
Children lying on the ground playing

Choose your ceremony content

Both you and your children can choose from a wide range of options available to tailor your ceremony so it becomes special for you all. Every naming ceremony is different, so you can create something unique for you and your child to remember and treasure.

What happens at a naming ceremony

The ceremony may be as simple or as grand as you like. We provide the framework for you to build a celebration event around you and your child’s requirements. However, the ceremony cannot have any religious content.

Naming ceremonies do not have any legal standing.

The ceremony will be led by a Registration Service ceremony officer. However, the ceremony officer does not act in any official or legal capacity. Ceremony officers are trained to conduct different ceremonies professionally and in a customer-focused manner. This ensures your ceremony is an enjoyable and memorable occasion for you, your child and everyone else attending your celebration.

The length of the ceremony depends on the content and the different options you choose but can be up to 30 minutes.

After the ceremony, the celebrations can continue as long as you like, especially if the naming ceremony is combined with a civil marriage or civil partnership.

Ceremony locations

Whilst your ceremony can be conducted in any one of the registration office ceremony rooms around the county. West Northamptonshire Council also has an amazing variety of open-air venues in our country parks (weather, health and safety requirements permitting).

You may want to consider something a bit more formal. As a naming ceremony is not a legal ceremony, you do not have to use an approved venue.

You need to book your venue directly with them but we recommend you enquire about Registration Service staff availability via our online enquiry form before paying any deposits with a venue. ​

For prices, please ceremony fees page.​

Book a naming ceremony

Any parent can make the arrangements. The parents do not have to be married. Anyone who has recognised parental responsibility or legal guardianship of the child can make the arrangements.

Step 1: Make an enquiry

Simply complete the online enquiry form and we will confirm our availability.

One of our ceremony officers will contact you if we need to clarify any aspect of your ceremony.

Step 2: Plan your ceremony

Fill in the ceremony planning form by logging into your account that was created at the time of booking. If you have forgotten the login details provided at the time of booking please contact the Registration Service by emailing: [email protected]

This lets the registrars know your order of events for the ceremony. We recommend you submit the form 8 weeks before the ceremony to let us check there are no religious references in readings or music. We will contact you to take any outstanding balance of fees.


Last updated 08 March 2023