Naming ceremonies

Naming ceremonies

What is a naming ceremony?

To celebrate your child’s birth, or to welcome an adopted or step child of any age, a naming ceremony can be an extra special occasion.

As a non-religious ceremony with no legal requirements, you can personalise the day for you, your family and friends.
All ceremonies will include:
  • a reading or song
  • naming of the child or children
  • promises by parent(s)
  • promises by guiding adults
We can also include:
  • additional readings
  • grandparents’ promises
  • reasons for the name
  • hopes for the child’s future
  • parents’ vows to each other
It is possible to combine a naming ceremony with a marriage, renewal of vows or civil partnership.
 

How do I arrange a ceremony?

Please follow the five easy steps below to help plan your naming ceremony.

1. Choose your venue

Naming ceremonies can take place at any of our licensed venues, from cosy hotels to stunning castles. Use our search venues tool to find the place that suits you best. For smaller affairs, you could choose one of our register offices or council venues.
Once you have chosen your venue, you need to book your registrar as soon as possible, even if this is a few years in advance.

2. Book the registrar

To book your registrar, you need to call our ceremony co-ordination team on 01665 602870 to check availability of your preferred date and time. It is useful to ask your venue for some alternative dates, in case your first choice isn’t available.

If you are combining your naming ceremony with a renewal, marriage or civil partnership ceremony, please let the registrar know when you call.

When you book the registrar, you will need to pay a non-refundable booking fee. View the price lists below:
  If you change the date, time or venue of your ceremony, you will need to pay an amendment fee charged at the current rate.

3. Plan your day

View our personal touches page for ideas, and our wedding brochure for excellent local suppliers, including photographers, musicians and caterers serving locally sourced food. Please remember, this is a civil ceremony so there should be no religious content.

We will send you a ceremony arrangement pack after you pay your booking fee to:
  • help you understand what happens on the day
  • show you the structure of the ceremony and the wording used
  • give you ideas and options for what you could say during the ceremony
  • suggest ideas for promises by parents and supporting adults
  • advise on how you can personalise your service
  • give you tips of what you need to do before the ceremony
  • include a ceremony arrangement form to be completed and returned with your decisions at least six weeks before the ceremony

4. Pay your fees and return your ceremony form

Return your completed ceremony arrangement form to us at least six weeks before the service. Please include any outstanding fees and anything that your conducting registrar will need for the ceremony such as readings.

Return completed forms to:
The Ceremony Co-ordination Team
The Register Office
27 Fenkle Street
Alnwick
NE66 1HW
 
Pay your fees by:
  • Telephone: 01665 602870 using a credit or debit card< >: send a cheque made payable to ‘Northumberland County Council’ to the above address
 

5. What happens on the day of your naming ceremony?

You won’t need any paperwork and all fees will have been paid, leaving you to enjoy your day! The registrar(s) will arrive approximately 30 minutes before the start of the ceremony. They will check last minute arrangements and will speak to anyone playing a part in the ceremony, to ensure everything runs smoothly.  

Please remember:
  • your naming ceremony should start promptly to ensure our registrars can travel safely to their next ceremony
  • we reserve the right to leave if we feel the next ceremony will be compromised – this decision will not be taken lightly and we will always consult with you and the venue first
  • bring any of your own promises and readings with you on the day – you could mount them on card and keep them as a memento
  • any music (CD/iPod) should be given direct to the venue
After the ceremony, we will present a commemorative certificate signed by the parents, guiding parents and the registrar.

Feedback

We would love to hear from you to know how the day went and how you found our service. Please complete the short survey in your ceremony pack, or email us on alnwickreg@northumberland.gov.uk.

For further information and advice, please call our ceremony co-ordination team on 01665 602870.