Baby Naming Ceremony
Me and my fiancé Becki decided not to hold a Christening for our baby, Theo Lewis, as we wanted to give him the opportunity to make any religious choices for himself later on in life. However, we wanted to bring together our families to help us celebrate his safe arrival (read about it here) and also to join us as we made our own promises and vows to him. We also wanted to formally introduce his guardians to the family, so we needed to arrange a ceremony of our own.
I have attended many Christenings as I have a big family, but I had heard of Baby Naming Ceremony until someone mentioned it Becki on the BBC's Baby forums, of which she is an active member. This sounded like a great idea!
A Baby Naming Ceremony ticked all of the boxes, and allowed us to organise a completely tailor made event. We decided to keep it fairly informal, however, and opted to arrange the event to be held at my parents house. Luckily friends of ours had a large outdoor marquee we could borrow, and one of the advantages of having such a big family meant we had plenty of help organising food and decorations!
The day was a great success. Over 60 people travelled from all over the country to be with us on Theo’s special day. The marquee was decorated with Becki’s hand-made baby blue bunting and balloons, with a line of tables holding plates laden with a vast variety of food. We hired in a keg of beer to keep the men happy; and 12 bottles of champagne and 10 bottles of wine promised it would be a lively afternoon! We managed to save money on the booze by using some voucher codes we found at moneysupermarket.com :) Becki’s Mum also brought along a hand-made cake, bearing Theo’s name and date of birth on a baby’s blanket with a tiny baby asleep underneath.
Becki opened the ceremony by thanking everyone for coming along and explaining why we had chosen to hold what was, for most, the first Naming Ceremony they had attended. She talked about how having Theo had changed our lives and how important the support of all our friends and family had been throughout her pregnancy and the first 6 months of Theo’s life. Theo’s Grandad then also said a few words and invited all the guests to raise their glasses to toast Theo’s safe arrival and to officially welcome him to the family.
The promises came next. Becki and I had put together the values we considered most important, as parents, to pass onto Theo, and what we came up with was as follows:
1. We promise to love, care and respect Theo, to bring him up to respect those around him and to grow up to be happy and contented.
promise to nurture his curiosity, courage and enthusiasm and in doing so, to
enable him to lead his life with confidence and grow into a responsible adult. November 2009 update: See the travellingtoddler.com blog which charters our dream of taking Theo on a round the world trip :)
3. We promise to keep Theo safe and strive wherever possible to meet his needs, dreams and desires, to teach him right from wrong and to always set a good example.
4. We promise to always be there for Theo in times of need, to always show him kindness, tolerance and patience and to offer our support, comfort, love and understanding whenever he needs us.
Following this, I read ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling, a slightly philosophical poem from father to son, and we then introduced Theo’s guardians. The 4 guardians were called forward while Becki explained why we had chosen them and what role they were to have in Theo’s life. Bringing up a child is definitely not something you can do alone and we would always need the support of our friends and family! We then asked the Guardians to make the following promises:
1. Do you promise to encourage Theo to fulfil his dreams and ambitions, and to offer your guidance and support when it is needed?
2. Do you promise to be there when Theo needs you, to offer your help, love, friendship and understanding to him whenever you can?
The ceremony was closed with another reading, this time by one of the Guardians called ‘A Child Learns What They Live’ and a few final words from Becki and myself. At this point we invited all the guests to make a contribution to Theo’s ‘Book of Pledges’, a leather-bound baby blue notebook in which we copied up our promises and our friends and family made a variety of pledges- to teach Theo to ride a tricycle, for example, to take him for his first pint or to see his first rugby game, to always be there for him and to love him throughout his life. It was lovely to read through everybody’s contributions at the end of the day.
We had our hiccups, of course- one of the guests decided
to fall through the side of the marquee into the garage during the speeches,
Sainsbury’s decided to tell us two days before that they didn’t have champagne
glasses and then followed this by telling us they didn’t have pint glasses the
day after, leading to some frantic running around to make sure our guests weren’t
forced to drink Carling lager out of wine glasses! But in the scheme of things,
these were very small stumbling blocks. It didn’t hurt that my parents also
have a hot tub in their back garden, either- and after the kids and babies had
a dip, it was the turn of our guests to relax with glasses of champagne amongst
the bubbles. November 2009 update: We've actually moved back in with my parents now in order to save money for a round the world trip, see our money saving blog here: frugal-father.com
The party continued into the evening and guests gradually drifted away, but it was the perfect ceremony, and will definitely be a day we’ll remember for the rest of our lives.
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