The latest changes to Government guidelines have reduced the number of people that can attend a naming ceremony to just six. The ideas that follow are most suitable for bigger gatherings, but are still helpful for planning a socially distanced event of any size. Using the recently published advice from the Wedding Celebrancy Commission, here are the key things to think about for a naming ceremony that ticks all the safety boxes, but still feels warm and uplifting.
An outdoor venue
The first thing that might help to achieve a safe, yet connected, experience for you and your family and friends, is to hold your ceremony outdoors. The risks are reduced outside and there are hundreds of beautiful outdoor venues across the UK. Many popular indoor locations now offer both, to give their clients more flexibility.
Naming ceremonies can take place anywhere, so it could be an historic hotel courtyard, your mum’s back garden, a woodland glade or the top of a hill with spectacular views. Check out Outdoor Ceremonies for location inspiration near you.
Whether it’s indoors or outdoors, a seating plan will be really important to ensure that guests keep to their bubbles and maintain a safe distance during the ceremony. Well-spaced, forward facing rows or curves are manageable, but more creative layouts could be more effective. Try cabaret-style seating (small groups around individual tables) or a scattered circle with the ceremony taking place in the centre. I’m a big fan of circular layouts, as they feel so intimate and inclusive.
Provide your guests with a seating plan ahead of the event and give them time to find their places without needing to bunch up in the entrance area.
Including those that can’t be with you
Vulnerable guests might choose not to attend, or you might want to include guests over and above the current limit. If that’s the case, explore options for live-streaming the ceremony from tablets or phones, allowing family and friends to share in the moment even if they can’t be with you in person.
Spaced out seating and outdoor settings, often make the acoustics more demanding, so make use of a PA (public address) system if you can, so that guests can easily hear the content of the ceremony. A hand-held mic can be cleaned in between each reading, or a series of separate mics can be used. Unfortunately, group singing and wind instruments aren’t allowed, but recorded music, live stringed instruments or piano would make lovely alternatives.
Getting all your guests involved
Naming ceremonies often include acts that involve all your guests to emphasise the role (big or small) that each person will play on your child’s life. One lovely option that keeps contact to a minimum would be to give each guest a pebble to hold during the ceremony. They can then make a wish for your child and add it to a bowl of water as they leave. Or, if you’re using cabaret-style seating, how about providing candles and a lighter on each table so that guests can each light a candle at the close of the ceremony, symbolising hope and new beginnings. This would look beautiful at dusk.
To capture all the beautiful moments from your naming ceremony, work closely with your photographer and celebrant to agree pre-planned positions where they can work unobtrusively, minimising the need for movement. Make sure they come armed with a zoom lense too!.
Promises and readings
If space allows, godparents and grandparents can join the family party one by one to make their promises and readings. Alternatively, they can make their contributions from where they’re seated. This is a great option, especially if you’re using hand-held mics and seating is arranged in a circle.
Closing the ceremony
Traditionally, this is the moment for cheers and whistles, but instead, how about providing your guests with bells to jingle and maracas to shake. Or what about inviting your guests to crack open mini bottles of fizz, whilst you’re signing the certificate, ready to toast your new arrival at the close of the ceremony.
To find out more about planning a beautiful, socially distant naming ceremony, please get in touch.
Bluebell Naming Ceremonies – Creating beautiful, bespoke celebrations to welcome a new child into a family’s life.
Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Northamptonshire and the Cotswolds.