Many parents want to have a celebration of their new baby, without the religious rites associated with a christening or a bris. Baby-naming ceremonies have become popular, since friends and family can gather for an event designed not only to formally bestow a name on the infant, but also get a commitment from the guests to love and care for this child.
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It is acceptable to invite as many or as few guests as desired to this event. Many parents open the ceremony up to the neighbourhood and all members of both families. It is equally acceptable to narrow the guest list and invite just a few cherished friends and family members. Many baby-naming ceremonies ask those present to commit to be there for the child as she grows up. This would be especially meaningful from those with strong emotional ties to the new baby's family.
Godparents make a vow in many baby-naming ceremonies to stand by the child through the coming years and provide moral and emotional support. Choose friends or family members who are particularly close to you and your new baby, so that the position is not a potential burden on them. If the people you ask are not interested for any reason, thank them for their consideration.
Although this ceremony does not have to have religious ties, many ministers are willing to officiate at this ceremony. Alternatively, consider having a friend or family member preside over the ceremony who is comfortable speaking in front of a group of people.
Try to keep the ceremony under one hour, so the baby does not become too fussy. Typical ceremonies include brief speeches from the officiant as well as the parents. The topics could include the family's hope for the new baby and gratitude for the participation of the guests. Other elements could include the formal naming of the baby, the blessing of the child and readings from appropriate poems or books. Godparents can be introduced during the ceremony, and the officiant can ask them to formally commit to supporting the child. Godparents can give brief speeches of their own about their feelings for the child and his family. The officiant or parents should formally close the ceremony.
As with any milestone event, gifts are always appropriate for the newly-named baby. Baby-naming-ceremony thank-you notes are available at better stationery stores, but formal cards are not necessary. Thank-you cards can be as simple as a handwritten note on card stock, or as elaborate as individually designed cards with the baby's pictures. Either way, notes should be sent within one month of the event.
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