Planning a Naming Day

(Note from the editor: AKA me. Right now). I wrote this post a few days after Ruben’s naming day in June… June! He had just turned 6 months and it was the beginning of summer. Its now mid-September, he’s 9 months old and I’m only just getting to upload this! Mum life is great for content ideas but rubbish for the time to post them!). 

I can’t believe that my little Baby Roo is 6 whole months! It really has flown by and although he is at the most amazing stage right now, I really miss having a tiny baby. Anyway, we celebrated on the actual day by holding a naming ceremony and it really was the perfect way to mark him turning 6 months, but when we were planning I found it really hard to find posts specifically about naming days, rather than Christenings. We aren’t particularly religious, and we didn’t do a church wedding, so it seemed disingenuous to do a Christening, but at the same time we wanted to celebrate our beautiful boy and appoint Guide parents (a secular version of Godparents), so a naming ceremony seemed to be the perfect option. 

One thing we loved about naming ceremonies is that they are really personal, and because there is nothing that you have to include, you can build it entirely around you. We happened to know the celebrant, which made it extra special, and she came to see us to discuss what sorts of things we wanted to include. We wanted it special, but not super formal, with plenty of opportunity for personal words and sentiments. Basically, we wanted people to cry! 

We ended up holding it in the in-laws garden. We looked at various locations but none of them seemed right. We couldn’t spend a fortune on it (as we are off to Disneyland Paris next month!), and we wanted to do out own catering as we wanted it 100% veggie, and to cater for our vegan, gluten free and dairy free friends without compromising on taste.  

Their garden is enormous and absolutely beautiful – they even have an outdoor bar, so it was perfect. We decorated with bunting (man, do I love bunting) and some little decorations I got from Wish. We weren’t sure on the weather, so we had a few marquees set up just in case! Under one of them, I set up a few play mats and toys as we had a lot of babies and children coming. It meant that they could play out of the sun (which eventually came out!) and wouldn’t get too restless. At the last minute I put down a big bubble wand and that was definitely the highlight for the children! 

We had a mismatch of different chairs (Steven’s parents just happened to have around 25!) and blankets to sit on, and we performed the ceremony on the decking. Steven had set up a live-stream for my family and friends down south who couldn’t make it, which was really nice, although the sound didn’t work particularly well in the end. 

We started off with our celebrant (the lovely Margarita!) chatting away about Roo, and she even mentioned my mum who we lost while I was pregnant (a year ago today as I write this). Then we got on to mine and Steven’s promises. Of course, Ruben decided that this was prime time for a feed, so I did mine sat down while feeding him. 

We’d asked the guide parents to write their own personal promises to him but made sure we didn’t hear them before the day, and they were perfect. Some were about teaching him dance moves and watching all the Disney films with him, whereas others were about loving him as if he was their own, and their door always being open. It was so lovely and definitely something I would recommend you doing if you have a naming ceremony – it was really personal and something we will cherish.

Choosing guideparents was hard as we are surrounded by so many lovely people but in the end, we looked at who we couldn’t have done the last 6 months without. The people who have shown us and Ruben nothing but love and support, helping us out with meals in those hazy newborn days and offering to help declutter the nursery with us, celebrating his little milestones and going out of their way to help us. In the end, we chose some special people who all made absolutely lovely promises. 

We gifted the guide parents a little pack of wildflower seeds that said “Thank you for helping me grow”, as a little token of thanks. It wasn’t anything fancy, but when I found that idea it seemed so perfectly us and it didn’t cost much either – babies are expensive! 

After the guideparents, Steven’s parents did their promise, and then the four of us lit a chunky pillar candle with two long candles. This was really lovely and we are going to light the candle every year on his birthday. 

We then did a toast (to the reason I couldn’t drink for 9 months, and the reason I now want to drink everyday!), and it was party time. We had music playing and a huge spread and we just had a lovely afternoon. 

Ruben got some gorgeous gifts and he was absolutely showered with love. He got an actual, real-life mulberry bush which came with a lovely plaque and the poem and was just such a fun, creative gift that we can enjoy as he grows up. He was gifted a beautiful silver compass necklace with an inscription on it that I’m keeping safe until he’s older, and even had a star named after him! He got some lovely toys and books and keepsakes and it really was so lovely.

I was worried that people wouldn’t think of it as especially special, if they didn’t know what it was about, but actually everyone really made the effort and it was a lovely day! 

My top naming day tips

  • Work with a celebrant (or even get a friend to do it if you’d rather) to create a totally bespoke, personal service. Stories behind baby’s name make a lovely section. 
  • Ask your Guide Parents to write their own promises to the baby. This worked so well for us because it was like a little gift and a little more symbolic and meaningful than them just being there. They were all so individual too. 
  • Check out ideas on rituals you can do – some people do sand pouring for example, but we loved the candle idea and its something we can keep. 
  • Do a guestbook. Okay, so it’s not a wedding but who cares?! Ours didn’t come out the way we wanted, but I’m glad we tried it. We had a lovely vintage picture of Winnie the Pooh and Roo (as in Kanga and Roo, not our Roo), and people could sign a balloon. I wrote a big, heartfelt passage and Steven wrote “You rock buddy” *eye roll*. Not everyone got to do one so it didn’t really work out, but it’s still worth doing. 
  • Have a backup outfit for baby that you still really like. It was super hot and Ruben is a sicky, dribbly little bean, so we knew we needed a backup. His main outfit was from John Lewis, but his Nanna and Grandad grabbed him a cute backup from Matalan which was certainly needed! 
  • Remember, this is all about celebrating your baby, and welcoming them into the world. It can be as big or small as you want. 

So that was little Roo’s (or Ruben Hendrix Etienne Wright’s) naming day! Did you do a naming day for your kids, or would you consider one? Let me know in the comments! 

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