Naming ceremonies

Naming ceremonies are formal events that celebrate your child's existence be it by birth or as a new family member in their later lives.

A naming ceremony is, in every sense, an opportunity to welcome, demonstrate your love, care and support. 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. It is also a unique opportunity for friends and other family members to take part and promise their support to your son or daughter’s future.

The age of the children does not matter - you determine when you want to celebrate. A naming ceremony can also be used as a formal welcoming event for adopted children and step children 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.

Can we choose our own ceremony content?

Yes, 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.

Who conducts the ceremony?

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 in a professional and customer focused manner. This ensures your ceremony is an enjoyable and memorable occasion for you, your child and everyone else attending your celebration.

How long does a ceremony last?

The length of the ceremony depends on the content and the different options you choose.

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.

Where can the ceremony be held?

Whilst your ceremony can be conducted in any one of the registration office ceremony rooms around the county, Northamptonshire County Council also have 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. For instance, this could be in a hotel, conference centre, castle or country estate, or indeed a venue of your choice subject to health and safety requirements. As a naming ceremony is not a legal ceremony, you do not have to use an approved venue.

Please note: 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. ​

Reading examples

The readings below are only examples; you a may have a poem or passage of non-religious text that has a special meaning to you and your family which you are welcome to include.

Watch and wait and listen as I learn and grow.
Know when to let me have my way and when to tell me no!
Help me when I need you but it's OK to let me cry.
I'll never learn to do things if I never get to try!
Give me your time and not your treasures, read me a story or two.
And remember that being my parents is the most special job to do.​

​If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.
If a child lives with shame, he learns to feel guilt.
BUT If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement, he learns confidence.
If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice.
If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship.
He learns to find love in the world.

​Babies are angels that fly to the earth.
Their wings disappear at the time of their birth.
One look in their eyes and we're never the same.
They're part of us now and that part has a name.
That part is your heart and a bond that won't sever.
Our babies are angels, we love them forever.

How to 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:

Make a ceremony enquiry

One of our ceremony officers will contact you if we need to clarify any aspect of your ceremony. For prices, please visit our fees page.

Step 2: Plan your ceremony

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

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. About this time we will also contact you to take any outstanding balance of fees.