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Naming ceremonies

When families are celebrating the birth of a new baby, they often feel the need for a special occasion to gather together their close family and friends.

One way this can be done is by holding a naming ceremony, designed to meet the individual needs of the family.

A naming ceremony is a very special way of celebrating your child's birth and welcoming the new arrival into the family.

It is also an opportunity to declare, before family and friends, your promise to be as good a parent as you can, and for adult friends or relatives chosen by you, to pledge their special relationship with your child.

A naming ceremony is, in every sense, a unique occasion for everyone to feel involved and to offer their support in your child's future development.

This event provides a dignified and formal opportunity to:

  • Welcome the child into the family and wider community
  • Announce the names that have been chosen, and maybe give the reasons behind the choice
  • Make promises of commitment to nurture and support the child into adult life
  • Choose other adults prepared to promise a special supportive relationship to the child
  • Reflect on the miracle of birth and recognise that children are society's hope for the future

Additional sections

You can choose to add any following additional sections:

  • Reasons for the names
  • Hopes for the future
  • Parents' vows to each other
  • Grandparents' promises
  • Absent guests
  • Further readings
  • Presentation of a gift to the child

As you can see, there is plenty of scope for making your child's ceremony a very personal and unique event.

Any parent can arrange a naming ceremony, whether married or not, with any spiritual or religious beliefs or with none or from any cultural background.

Children of any age can have a naming ceremony, not just young babies. Ceremonies can also be used to celebrate adoptive children and stepchildren into a new relationship and form part of the family bonding within an extended family unit.

More than one child can be named in these ceremonies, but they must belong to the same family. Children from another family, even though they may be related, cannot be included in the same ceremony.

Your unique ceremony

Specially written ceremonies are available containing choices to make your naming ceremony unique with special meaning to your family.

You will be able to choose promises to the child, promises to your partner, supporting adult promises to the child, include grandparents in the ceremony and even refer to absent guests.

You may choose from a selection of poems and readings to enhance the ceremony and can present your child with a special gift to mark the occasion.

A basic ceremony usually takes about 15 minutes, but can be up to 30 minutes if more readings and options are included. A souvenir record of the ceremony will be signed and presented at the conclusion of the event.

How to book a naming ceremony

Any parent can make the arrangements, or anyone else who has parental responsibility or legal guardianship of the child/children. Parents don't need to be married to each other.

Families wishing to organise a naming ceremony need to contact the Register Office (0191 424 6350) and make an informal appointment with a celebrants who will explain the options available.

Please bring the child/children's birth certificate(S) as this must be presented before the ceremony can be booked.

A non-refundable deposit will be paid at the time of booking and the balance of the fee to be paid  nearer the time of the event.

Most ceremonies are organised about six to eight weeks in advance of the date so that invitations can be sent to family and friends, but they can be organised at short notice if required. Please contact the register office on (0191) 424 6350 for fees for this service.

Venues for naming ceremonies

Venues used for naming ceremonies at this present time are

  • South Tyneside Register Office
  • South Shields Town Hall & Civic Offices
  • Jarrow Town Hall
  • Little Haven Hotel, South Shields
  • The Dunes, South Shields   
  • Hedworth Hall, South Shields
  • Quality Hotel, Boldon

Find out more about these venues

Ceremonies can be held on most days of the week. These ceremonies cannot be held in a private home.

Please check with South Tyneside Register Office for times and fees.

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