Naming Ceremonies: Advice for First Time Godparents

Congratulations! It is a great honour your friends have done you, because being asked to be a godparent (aka as mentor, supporting adult, guideparent or guardian) is a significant responsibility and signals that they really trust you to look out for their child.

Many first-time godparents are hazy about what their role is and what is expected of them during the Naming Ceremony.

Godparents step in when parents are not available, especially if they die or default. In my ceremonies I ask godparents to make promises to the parents as well as to the child, in order to signal their willingness to support the whole family.

The main gift a godparent gives is the gift of self. During the ceremony, you can give a symbolic gift, and of course, you can always give the baby a significant gift to mark the occasion (and every significant occasion from then on!). Of course, it is perfectly acceptable for a godparent to give the naming ceremony as a gift. I provide attractive gift certificates for this purpose. Ask the officiant/celebrant you choose to do the same.

What you (or for that matter) anyone at the ceremony wears relates to the formality of the occasion. As most naming ceremonies are held at home, either indoors or in the garden or in parks, dress tends to be casual/smart casual. Of course, the baby can be dressed formally in a Christening gown or party clothes irrespective of what the guests are wearing.

Traditionally, the parents provide a celebratory cake which is cut at the party after the ceremony. But this would be a very nice gift for the godparents to bring. The cake and be a fully iced and decorated special occasion cake with a christening type topper, or it can be something simpler with flowers and/or the child's name on it which might be from a bakery, supermarket, or home made.

The most important thing is to be authentic to yourself. There is no right and wrong beyond doing what comes from the heart and is authentic to you, to the child and to the family.

Jennifer Cram is a sought-after celebrant who performs a range of ceremonies including Naming Ceremonies as Beautiful as Your Baby in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Fanatical about performance measurement and monitoring, a field in which she is an acknowledged expert, she uses tear-measurement to assist her to gauge client satisfaction with her ceremonies - she counts damp eyes because she is well aware that participants and guests remember how they felt, rather than what precisely was said at a ceremony. For more information about her naming ceremonies visit her website and/or her Baby Naming Blog.

Copyright 2005 Jennifer Cram. You have permission to publish this article electronically or in print, free of charge, as long as the bylines are included. A courtesy copy of your publication would be appreciated.

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