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Naming ceremonies


A naming ceremony is a very special way of celebrating the birth of your child and welcoming the new arrival into the family and wider community.

It's a unique occasion for everyone to feel involved as they pledge their love and support for your child's future development.

What happens at a naming ceremony?

Naming ceremonies can contain the following sections:

  • introduction and welcome
  • a reading
  • naming of the child (or children)
  • parent's promises
  • promises by supporting adults
  • closing words

There are many ways of ensuring that your child's ceremony is a unique and personal event. You may wish to consider including:

  • reasons for the names you have chosen for your child
  • hopes for the child's future
  • parents' vows to each other
  • grandparents' promises
  • absent guests
  • additional readings
  • presentation of a gift to the child

Who will conduct the ceremony?

An authorised celebrant will carry out the ceremony according to the choices you make. Celebrants are trained and experienced in conducting many different ceremonies so please ask their advice on anything you are unsure about. 

How long does the ceremony last?

A ceremony usually takes about 15 minutes but can last up to 30 minutes if more readings and options are included.

Is there a certificate?

During the ceremony a souvenir record is signed by parents, supporting adults and the celebrant.

Can other children be included at the same ceremony?

Older children, including adopted family members, can also be included in a naming ceremony.

Can other family members have their children named at the same ceremony?

Only children who belong to the same family unit can be included in a specific naming ceremony. Members of your extended family can arrange for a separate ceremony to take place at the same venue on the same day, but not at the same time.

Can a naming ceremony be held at the same time as a civil marriage ceremony?

Yes. A naming ceremony can be held after the marriage ceremony. Please contact us for advice.

Where can naming ceremonies be held?

In County Durham, there are a number of approved premises where naming ceremonies can take place. Ceremonies can also be held at Register Offices in Barnard Castle, Bishop Auckland and Aykley Heads House (Durham). 

Who can arrange a naming ceremony?

The child's parents or anyone else who has parental responsibility or legal guardianship of the child can make arrangements for a naming ceremony. Parents can be married or unmarried. Please note, you must produce the birth certificate(s) when booking the ceremony.

Do naming ceremonies have legal status?

Naming ceremonies have no legal status but are of a celebratory nature. Parents usually choose to arrange one as a public gesture of the love and commitment they have for their child. Unlike a birth certificate, which is a mandatory legal document, the record of the ceremony cannot be used as proof of identification. Neither is the ceremony legally binding on those who take part in it.

Do naming ceremonies have a religious content?

Naming ceremonies are entirely non-religious.

Who should I contact to arrange a naming ceremony?

Information about naming ceremonies is available from Register Offices in County Durham.

Fees for naming ceremonies

The fees below include a non-refundable booking fee of £35.

  • Monday to Thursday - £240  
  • Friday - £260  
  • Saturday - £270 
  • Sunday/Bank Holiday - £315 

An additional £35 will be charged if changes are asked for later.

Contact us
Register Office - Aykley Heads House
03000 266 000
Our address is:
  • Aykley Heads
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 5TS

Register Office - Bishop Auckland
03000 266 000
Our address is:
  • Cockton House
  • 35 Cockton Hill Road
  • Bishop Auckland
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DL14 6HS
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