Celebrant Derek smiles at the camera holding Paige wearing her pink birthday dress. Derek wears a black suit, blue tie and has glasses on.

Real ceremony stories: Paige’s naming ceremony

For parents Emma and Steven, their humanist naming ceremony for daughter Paige was a great way to add an extra special element to her first birthday party celebrations! The ceremony delivered by Humanist Society Scotland celebrant Derek Powell fit the bill for the relaxed and light hearted ceremony they were looking for.

Why did you decide to have a humanist naming ceremony?

Paige was born almost exactly a year before the naming day, on 4th December 2022 on a freezing cold afternoon after a whole day and night of labour. As with any baby born into the world she changed our life completely. Although things became a little more chaotic, we absolutely cherished every moment with her.

We wanted to show Paige (in years to come) how many people show up for her and care for her and our little family. Our humanist naming ceremony combined with her birthday was the perfect way to do that!

It provided an opportunity for our family to gather together to hear about the little girl Paige is growing up to become and our journey as a family so far. This was also our way to say a massive thank you to everyone who supported us and gave us well wishes when Paige first arrived. We wanted something a little more formal but still personal and heartfelt. A humanist naming ceremony not only aligned with our morals, but fit perfectly with what we wanted for celebrating her first year with us.

How did you decide on Paige’s name?

We found the name Paige beautiful and like that it matches her French origin last name. The name Paige is also defined as ‘helper’ or ‘peacekeeper’. As much as she may not walk in her mum and dad’s footsteps and go into a caring role in her vocation – we hope for her to grow up to be a kind, considerate, loving and well-rounded individual. Paige was also the only female name that we could both agree on!

A naming ceremony for a baby is the perfect opportunity to show off your new wee best pal to all your friends and family. It’s also a great way of bringing everyone together to show this new person just how much everyone loves them and that they are all promising to look out for them forever, no matter what! For me as a celebrant, naming ceremonies are always a joy to write and to deliver. And of course, it’s always brilliant to get the obligatory selfie with the guest of honour!

Derek Powell, celebrant, Humanist Society Scotland

Which humanist celebrant did you choose for your ceremony and why?

We chose celebrant Derek Powell for our humanist naming ceremony. I had heard lovely things about Derek’s ceremonies and saw his approach on his social media. During our initial meeting, online, the conversation really flowed. Derek made us feel at ease and we knew he was capable of putting something together for us that was going to be really special.

Where did you hold the naming ceremony and why?

Our humanist ceremony was held at Tontine Hotel Greenock, which was conveniently located for a lot of family to travel to.

What was your favourite part of the ceremony?

Our celebrant Derek’s comedic nature – it fitted exactly with our ideals as we generally love to laugh (even at ourselves!). It meant that the ceremony, although heartfelt, wasn’t soppy which is something that we definitely didn’t want. We also loved when Derek asked our family and friends to make a promise to be there for Paige and be her support system throughout her life. This resulted in Paige leading the audience to clap – which she thoroughly relished and it made everybody laugh and cheer! Paige also enjoyed the bouncy castle and ball pit (which was provided by Dizzy Ducklings).

We also had a reading as part of the ceremony. The poem “May she always know” by Jessica Urlichs. Derek read it out beautifully before we [Emma and Steven] read our own short little speeches.

Do you have any advice for others who are thinking of having a humanist naming ceremony?

If you want to celebrate the life of your precious little baby so far and your journey into parenthood – then don’t hesitate. Lots of our family members and friends commented on the fact they had never been to a naming ceremony and didn’t know what to expect. They all said how beautiful, brilliant and personal it was and how much they loved it!

Two male adults and three children waving and celebrating

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Naming Ceremonies

A naming ceremony is a popular way to mark a child’s arrival into your family, and a humanist ceremony lets you create a naming ceremony that is unique and personal.

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