Naming ceremony

A naming ceremony is a unique way to welcome your child into your family or to celebrate their birth

A naming ceremony allows you to make a commitment in public to say that you will love and support your child; and involve the people who will have a special role in your child's life.

Naming ceremonies are suitable for naming babies and for children from birth to 15 years of age.  You can also use the ceremony to mark and celebrate adopting a child or the start of a new family with children from previous marriages.

A local government officer who is experienced in carrying out naming ceremonies will carry out the ceremony.  The ceremony involves:

  • a welcome and introduction;
  • naming the child;
  • you may want to say a bit about what you (as a parent) agree and promise to do;
  • a relative or friend of the family may want to say a bit about what they would agree and promise to do;
  • you may want to read a poem, reading or a special piece of text;
  • you might want to give a gift to your child; and
  • signing the naming-ceremony certificate.

The ceremony will last between 15 and 20 minutes. This depends on what you choose to include in the ceremony. You can expect a basic ceremony (without readings and presenting of gifts) to last about 15 minutes.

You may not use a naming ceremony to change your child's name. If your child's name is not how it appears on their birth certificate you should apply to change their name officially before you can have a naming ceremony.  We can give you more information and advice on this.

You can book the ceremony if you are the parent or guardian of the child or you are legally responsible for looking after the child. If you are the child's parents, you do not need to be married. Naming ceremonies are not just for babies. You may want to include your older children in the ceremony as well as your new child.

Important notes

  • a naming ceremony is not a religious ceremony. You should contact your local church if you want to have a religious service;
  • naming ceremonies have no legal status;
  • you can only book a naming ceremony if you are the parent or legal guardian of the child;
  • you must show us the child's birth certificate before the ceremony can take place;
  • there are separate legal procedures to change your child's name. Please discuss these with the local registrar.


For more information, please see 'downloads'.  Please note that fees are non refundable.

Please use the 'contact us' box if you have any questions. For more information, see 'related pages', 'downloads' or 'other useful websites'

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