Like everyone, Becci and Grant missed spending time with friends and family during the Covid-19 lockdown. When their son Grayson was born, it was the ideal opportunity to get everyone together for a very special celebration, as an alternative to a christening, to welcome him into their close, multi-generational family.
‘My husband and I aren’t religious at all, so we knew we didn’t want a christening. We didn’t just want to do it for show,’ explains Becci. ‘If Grayson wants one when he’s older, that’s fine, but we felt he wasn’t old enough to decide now.
‘But we didn’t want his birth to go uncelebrated. Normally, we have a big family Christmas, but last year lots of us got Covid so, even though everything had opened up again, we just had a small celebration. That meant it had been two years since we’d been able to properly get together with friends and family. Many of them still hadn’t met Grayson. So we decided on a naming ceremony in January.’
A personalised naming ceremony
Becci and Grant knew what they wanted the naming day to be like, and they wanted to find a celebrant with the right vibe.
‘The main thing we wanted was a ceremony that was personal to Grayson, that was about him. A christening can be very generic, very dry, and we didn’t want that at all. We didn’t want anything too formal.
‘We searched online for celebrants in our area. We looked at their websites and intended to speak to a few. But once we’d spoken to Meg, we thought, ‘you know what, she’s exactly what we’re looking for, so chilled, so down to earth, we’re not going to bother speaking to any others’.
Grant and I both said afterwards, we wish we’d known about humanist celebrants when we got married. If we’d known it was possible, we would 100% have had a humanist wedding, instead of a standard civil ceremony.
‘The most important thing we want for Grayson’s future is for him to be happy and kind, especially in the world we’re currently living in. The values that Meg brought as a humanist celebrant really reflected this feeling.
‘First of all, she asked us loads of questions. We had a very relaxed talk about our lives, our journey as a family and who’s close to us. She drafted the script for us to see if there was anything or anyone else we wanted to add. But she had picked out all the key people from our conversation.
‘We chose our best friends to be guide parents. They were people we knew would always be there for Grayson, even without us giving them a special role. We decided to make the guide parents part of the ceremony to make it more official and hopefully express to them how important they are to our little family.
A box full of memories
Their large network of family and friends meant that Becci and Grant had lots of people they wanted to include in the ceremony. One way that Meg suggested they did this was through a memory box.
‘The memory box was placed at the front of the ceremony,’ says Becci. ‘People were invited to come up at different times during the ceremony to put something in. We all put something in the box – letters from Grant and me, my mum and from Grant’s parents; a newspaper from the day of his birth, and the cost of a pint on the day he was born, tokens from the guide parents; as well as photos of the day and photos of Grayson with his grandparents and great-grandparents.
‘It’s for Grayson when he’s older. Grant’s grandparents – Grayson’s great-grandparents – are in their 90s and Grant is so close to them both. The likelihood is that Grayson will barely be able to remember them when he’s older if at all. The photos and tokens in the box will help Grayson know who they are and that they loved him very much, even if he doesn’t remember meeting them.’
Our way to say thank you
As well as friends and family, there was another important group of people who were honoured at the ceremony – even though they didn’t attend. These were the healthcare professionals who helped bring Grayson into the world.
Becci explains: ‘Grayson’s very special to us, obviously, and we’d waited such a long time to have him. When we told people that we were going through IVF, they would often mention that they knew someone else who had been through it. Yet it’s so untalked about. That’s such a shame, because when you are having IVF, you really need support around you.
‘We talked about our experience of IVF in the naming ceremony to try and normalise it for other people. We wouldn’t have had Grayson without the help of those health professionals. That’s why we chose Davey as Grayson’s middle name – it’s the surname of our specialist. It was our way of saying thank you to her.’
Our thanks to Becci and Grant for sharing their story and also to Jane Louise Photography for the beautiful photographs.
The celebrant featured in this story is Meg Senior. Meg is an accredited Humanist Ceremonies celebrant based in Sheffield. She has a background in Corporate Social Responsibility and enjoys comic books and walking with her dog Nergal and her husband John. Find out more about Meg on her website.
Read more about humanist naming ceremonies
- What is a humanist naming ceremony?
- What is a guide parent and what is their role?
- What happens at a humanist naming ceremony?
If you’re thinking about having a naming ceremony to welcome a child or young person to your family, find a celebrant here.