A Welcoming Ceremony is a very special way of celebrating the birth of your child and welcoming the new arrival into the family and the wider community. It is also a beautiful way to welcome and celebrate an adoptive child into the family or to embrace stepchildren into a new family.
There are two types of Welcoming Ceremonies. One is called a Christening or Baptism, and the other is called a Naming Ceremony. The Baptism is religious, while the Naming Ceremony is not. I can also design a ceremony that combines both.
Married or unmarried couples, single parents are all welcome! There is no pressure on anyone to explain their own spirituality or lifestyle. You may have your baby “blessed” at the location of your choice… in your home or other suitable venue like a hotel or reception facility. Some families even hold the ceremony at the beach, in a garden, park, or other beautiful outdoor location.
Every ceremony, whether religious or secular, is unique and offers the flexibility to meet the individual needs, traditions and wishes of the family. I would be truly honored to perform your child’s welcoming ceremony and am happy to personalize the ceremony using your own selection of words, poems and readings, or passages and texts from other sources… let me help you create a special memory that you will always cherish!
Traditional Religious Ceremonies
A Baptism is the ceremony or sacrament of admitting a person into a specific religious denomination, while a Christening is defined as the act or ceremony of baptizing and giving a name to an infant. Both involve making promises to raise the child in that particular religion and is the public recognition of the presence of the spark of the Divine within the body and life of every child.
Secular (Non-Religious) Ceremonies
Every community in the world has its own way of marking the birth of a baby. Often, the traditional ceremony of christening or baptism doesn’t suit a family who aren’t churchgoers as they feel a service of initiation into a religious faith is inappropriate. A baby naming ceremony is the perfect way to welcome baby if you are not aligned with any particular religion or faith group.
A Beautiful Christening or Baptism
If you prefer a religious ceremony, I will place a drop of water on your child’s forehead and recite the blessing, while you or the godparents are holding the baby. Your little sweet pea will feel more secure and comfortable with familar people.
I do not “dunk” the baby in a pool of water. It can be upsetting and unnecessarily stressful for little ones. I will then ask each family member if they would like to do the same and bless the child in their own way.
The word baptize is derived from the Greek word baptizo, which actually means “to immerse.” Requirements for Baptism differ according to the denomination. Some require total immersion, while others practice the pouring (affusion) or sprinkling (aspersion) methods for the ceremony.
The Christening ceremony usually starts with a short greeting to welcome the participants and guests, followed by a prayer and/or short reading. The child is then blessed with water by the officiant. After this blessing, the parents recite their vows of commitment to support and care for the child, and the godparent(s) make their vow to do the same. Traditionally, the baptismal candle is then lit while the officiant recites a short benediction and/or prayer to conclude the ceremony.
There are many creative ways to make your ceremony unique and truly memorable. You can include poetry or prose readings and music, decorate the tables and area with flowers, candles or other significant items, or plant a living tree that will grow along with the child. Below are a few more ideas to make the ceremony special:
- Mark the occasion with a book of blank pages in which everyone present can write a special message for the child to read in later years.
- Present symbolic gifts as keepsakes.
- Give your reasons for the name chosen and your hopes for your child’s future.
- Parents can have a section where they make vows to each other or include Memorial section, to remember a deceased family member or friend.
- Include older brothers and sisters, grandparents and other family members in the ceremony. Mention them by name, make a promise, give a gift, etc.
The Christening Outfit
The baby’s outfit is almost as big a part of the traditional christening as the bride’s is on her wedding day. Although each religious denomination is different, the essentials of a Christening ceremony are broadly similar. The child generally needs a Christening Gown or Christening outfit, usually white in color and should have accompanying shoes and socks. Undershirts may have a symbolic cross embroidered upon them.
Possible additions to the ceremony are a bib and blanket, a satin or eyelet covered bible, boutonniere or bracelet blessed by the minister which can be kept in the child’s keepsake box.