So, what exactly is a Humanist / Secular Naming ceremony?

A humanist or secular Naming ceremony is held to welcome a new life into the family, the community and to the world. It is an opportunity to gather together with family and friends to celebrate your child’s birth and, if you wish, to appoint guideparents/godparents.

So, it’s like a non-religious Christening?

That’s one way of putting it, yes.

Where can I have it?

That’s up to you really. Many families have the ceremony in their home or garden. Others use a community centre or restaurant or a private room in a hotel or pub. I’ve also conducted Naming ceremonies in a public park, at the zoo and at a family activity estate.

What happens during the ceremony?

I will welcome everyone and explain why we are gathered. Typically there would then be contributions from parents, grandparents and others – for example readings, poems, words written especially for the occasion and also symbolic rituals like candle lighting, a sand ceremony or blanket wrapping. You might choose to have a keepsake box with messages and/or items in it. If there are older siblings they might make and present a gift to the baby. You might also have some music, particularly if there are any musicians or singers among the group. There is also a formal naming element and some closing words.

What about “guideparents”?

Most people appoint guideparents (also called godparents, oddparents, mentors or guardians) and they would play a part in the ceremony. That said you don’t have to have guideparents.

And what do people usually do after the ceremony?

Again that’s up to you. Most would have food and drinks and family and friends would stay around together for a few hours. If there are a lot of children, perhaps activities organised for them.

How do I book you for a ceremony?

The best thing to do is to email me on siobhan@siobhanwalls.com with your preferred date, if you have one, and a general timeframe if not. Also let me know your location and where you hope to have the ceremony.

Are you available at weekends?

Yes, and most people have Naming ceremonies at the weekend. That said, I am also a wedding celebrant, so I can be booked up quite far in advance particularly in the summer months. Sometimes people would have the Naming ceremony either early or late afternoon so that I can come to you before or after a wedding.

What if you are not available?

I will direct you to the Humanist Association of Ireland website where you will be able to check availability of my celebrant colleagues.

Do you travel to all parts of the country?

I live in north Dublin and am happy to travel about an hour’s drive from Dublin 13.

How much does it cost?

The full cost to you is €275 of which €25 goes to the Humanist Association of Ireland.

What happens next?

If I am available I will respond with more details about how the process works. I’ll ask you for any further information I need.

Assuming you want to go ahead with the booking, let me know within one week. I will then confirm the date in my diary and send you on an email with details of next steps to fully confirm your booking.

I’ll send a Terms & Conditions document and I’ll ask you to confirm that you have read, understood and accept those T&C’s.

I’ll send an invoice and ask for a €50 booking deposit to be paid to me and a €25 contribution to be paid to the Humanist Association of Ireland – I’ll give  you a link where you can do that.

We’ll then arrange a call, Zoom or perhaps to meet to go through ceremony options.