A naming ceremony is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate a new arrival into your family in a non-religious way; they can be arranged for babies, adoptive children or step-children of any age. 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.

Every naming ceremony is entirely personal and tailored to individual needs. The ceremony can include music, readings, personal vows and promises of your choice, and usually lasts about 20 to 30 minutes.

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

Our celebrants will help you every step of the way and a commemorative certificate will be provided.

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.

Birth certificate(s) must be produced when booking. Please note that the ceremony cannot be used to change a child’s name or surname. See advice on name changes by deed poll on GOV.UK.

Naming ceremony venue

You can book the Bootham Suite, or use any of our approved venues.

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.

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.

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 advice on name changes by deed poll on GOV.UK.

Pre-ceremony consultation service

Contact York Register Office to book your pre-ceremony consultation, subject to availability, Monday to Friday.

See pre-ceremony consultation fees.

Religious ceremonies, christenings and baptisms

York Register Office cannot help with religious naming ceremonies; contact your local church, or religious community to arrange these.

Also see

York Register Office

56 Bootham, York, YO30 7DA

Telephone: 01904 654477