Friendship, fireworks, and fun – A humanist naming ceremony for older children

Laura and Jason, with help from their celebrant Sue, created a fun and meaningful humanist naming ceremony for their children, Peggy and Ronnie, with music, promises and, of course, cake.

“We’d just only got married and done up our house when we started planning the ceremony. It felt like it was a period in our lives when we were making everything official,” explains Laura. “Our daughter, Peggy, was five, and our son, Ronnie, was three, and it felt like the right time to do it.

“I had been to two naming ceremonies before – both were lovely. One was in the park, with a celebrant, the other was at someone’s home and they did it all themselves.”

For their ceremony, Laura and Jason wanted to find somebody who could help them bring everything and everyone together on the day, so they started looking for a humanist celebrant.

Celebrating friendships and family at a humanist ceremony

“We’re not religious,” says Laura. “For us, it’s special relationships and friendships that bring meaning in life. We wanted our children to see that too. We didn’t want to have them christened or to feel like we were tying them to God, or to anything. We simply wanted to celebrate our family and our friendships together!

“Our celebrant, Sue, was amazing. We looked online for someone local and found her. As soon as we spoke, we just connected. She was so warm and we could tell she’d be okay with the kind of chaotic party that we wanted – she seemed like one of our people!”

Celebrating, strengthening, and acknowledging friendships was always going to be at the heart of the ceremony.

“We have a really strong and important group of friends, who are very close to Peggy and Ronnie too. They feel like our family,” continues Laura. “We just invited the guideparents – who now refer to themselves as the ‘odd parents’ – four for each child – and their partners and children, if they had them.

“During the ceremony, we did a sand-blending. Each guide parent and each child had a different colour of sand and their own bottle. After each guide parent spoke, they put a little bit of their sand into each bottle. This was the stand-out moment of the day for me – listening to our friends talk about our children, and about their relationship with us. It really strengthened those relationships – it was an extra thread that connected us.”

Holding a ceremony for older children, rather than babies, meant that both children could take part. A central, and emotional, part of the day was the ‘pinkie promise’ which both children made to always be there for each other.

A festival feeling

For this family, who love travelling to music festivals in their camper van, music also had to be an important feature of the ceremony.

“We chose ‘We are Family’ by Sister Sledge,” remembers Laura. “It’s a song that the children love! We play it a lot and they have such a connection to it.”

There was a certain festival vibe about the whole day. It took place in the family’s home and garden on Bonfire Night, with a firepit, marshmallows, delicious veggie chilli and fireworks to follow the ceremony, along with an amazing brightly-coloured, ‘shag pile’, red velvet cake from The Proof.

The party carried on long after Peggy and Ronnie had gone to bed, until at least 3am!

“Our children both love a party, so they were very happy, especially with the cake,” says Laura. “We’d asked them what they’d like – that’s where the ideas for the cake, marshmallows and firepit came from.”

Advice for parents planning a naming ceremony

Laura has some advice for other parents considering a naming ceremony for older children.

“Sue, our celebrant, told us that even if you write everything down and plan it all, it will change because you are dealing with young children. I’m not a planning person anyway, so I liked it feeling a bit chaotic.

“With a christening, there are traditions to follow and certain things you have to do, but with a naming ceremony, you can do it however you and your family want to. We did Google for ideas –  that’s how we found out about the sand blending – but we took them and made them our own.

“Don’t get caught up thinking that you have to do it a certain way. The uniqueness of your ceremony will be what makes it special!”

Their celebrant Sue Walder conduct’s humanist ceremonies in central and north London, as well as in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Essex, Buckinghamshire, the Home Counties and further afield, if required! Find out more here.

Humanist naming ceremonies

You can find out more about our naming ceremonies here. Each ceremony is non religious and is personal to the family, written and developed in conversation with the parents.


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Find your local celebrant

If you’d like to discuss a humanist naming ceremony, get in touch with a celebrant to find out more. You can find a celebrant near you with our easy-to-use map.

Your humanist celebrant will write a unique script to celebrate the naming of your child.


Find interesting ways to create a unique ceremony that engages children and adults alike.