Naming ceremonies celebrate a new arrival into your family; they can be arranged for babies, adoptive children and step-children of any age, and provide a non-religious alternative to baptism.
Naming ceremonies are a unique and personal way of welcoming a child into the family and wider community for those who prefer a secular (non-religious) ceremony.
Arranging a naming ceremony
A parent, person with parental responsibility, or legal guardian can organise a naming ceremony - contact York Register Office; to book you'll need:
- the child's birth to have been registered
- a copy of the child's birth certificate
A naming ceremony can be tailored to your requirements; it will take approximately 25 minutes and you'll receive a signed certificate.
As part of the ceremony you can choose to:
- announce names
- declare your promise to be a good parent
- include poems, readings and music
- exchange gifts
- nominate up to 4 adults, who promise a special relationship with the child, offering guidance and support throughout life
Naming ceremony venue
Alternatively contact York Register Office with queries about other locations (venues must have current fire and safety certificates, and public liability insurance).
When you have chosen a venue for your ceremony you should contact us to check our availability and provisionally book a celebrant. Your booking is confirmed when you have made final payment and returned your ceremony planner form 8 weeks prior to the ceremony
Your naming ceremony
The ceremony can be bespoke to you. You'll be asked to complete a ceremony planner and a questionnaire so we can tailor the ceremony to you. You can include what you want, the choice is yours.
You can have up to 2 readings or poems, or if you have other ideas you can submit these and we will review them.
Our celebrants are happy to provide guidance if you so wish.
If you wish to change the date, time or location of your ceremony you must request this in writing by email or post. Alternate dates will be subject to our availability.
Cost of naming ceremonies
See Register Office fees for details of costs relating to naming ceremonies.
Legal implications of a naming ceremony
Neither the ceremony nor any documents issued following a naming ceremony have any legal status.
A naming ceremony is not a legal change of name (see: GOV.UK/change-name-deed-poll).
Pre-ceremony consultation service
York Register Officer offers a 'pre-ceremony consultation service' giving you the opportunity to discuss all aspects of your ceremony with an experienced Celebration Officer who will be able to answer any questions you have.
Contact York Register Office to book your 20 minute pre-ceremony consultation, subject to availability, Monday to Friday.
Religious ceremonies, christenings and baptisms
York Register Office cannot help with religious naming ceremonies; contact your local church, or religious community to arrange these.