A very special Naming Ceremony

Monday, 22 September 2014

Happy Naming Ceremony Anniversary Little Miss A!

A year ago we held an informal Naming Ceremony for our daughter with our closest family and friends. It was a really special day that we'll never forget.

I was not writing this blog last year so I thought I would post today as it's the anniversary so that she has a record of this important day in her life.

Mr MoaB and I had lots of discussions about what we should do. All we knew is we wanted some sort of celebration for Little Miss A that brought our friends and family together. Our nearest and dearest are spread far and wide around the country so this was the first time we were bringing them altogether in one place. An excuse for a party really!

We discussed a Christening but neither of us is religious or attends Church so this didn't seem right. We then investigated having a formal Naming Ceremony with a Celebrant but this would have cost over £300 yet it has no legal standing and we would be restricted on venue.

So we went down the informal Naming Ceremony route and made the whole thing up as we went along and put a plan together!

The venue:
We love the outdoors and thought it would be great to be outside for the day which led us to Wendover Woods where we booked one of the BBQ pitches.

We had everything crossed for good weather and luckily we had the perfect day. Just as well as the marquee that was ordered was a bit smaller than we thought it would be - it would have been a very very tight fit for everyone to shelter underneath it if it had rained!

The decorations:
All hand made. We didn't go overboard with decorations as we just had one marquee. We had some banners with Little Miss A's name on. I'd also handmade lots of lilies out of tissue paper and paper plates. I was pretty happy with my handiwork. It was nice to have personal touches.

The Ceremony:
I trawled the internet for ideas and poems to use and then put together the script. We asked Mr MoaB's brother-in-law to be the 'compere'. He welcomed everybody and did an introduction. Then Mr MoaB and I made some Parent Promises and each read a poem.

We had asked two of our friends to be Little Miss A's Guardians. They made a set of promises and also read a poem each. We finished the Ceremony with a Pledge of Support from everybody.

The poems we chose were:
Mother's Heart - Author Unknown
Daddy's Little Angel - Jason A. Hodges
Footprints - Anon
The Example of Parenthood – Author Unknown

Each of us who read a poem struggled. The poems were very emotional! I'm not sure how I actually got through the whole of my poem as I was crying! Mr MoaB had to clear his throat a few times to hold back the emotion and he never cries! I don't think there were many dry eyes in the audience either!

Every time I read the poems even now I end up welling up!

The food:
We asked the owner of Cafe in the Woods to cater for us with a really delicious BBQ.

My Mum and I spent all of the day before doing the puddings. We had mini banoffee pies, trifles, jellies, fairy cakes and meringue nests. I loved how the trifles looked as we put them in plastic cocktail glasses from Poundland! It was a busy day getting all the puddings done and then the next challenge was actually getting them to the Woods. Amazingly, they all survived and they went down very well (most people had at least 2 different puddings!).

We decided to have cake for the adults and cake for the kids. We did cheat with the adults cake and bought 2 cutting bar cakes from M&S. By choosing cutting bars rather than a traditional round cake, it was easier to cut into slices and meant we could personalise the bars - one with Little Miss A's first name and the other with her second name. We cut out her name from pink icing and also used ribbon and small organza lilies from Hobbycraft for additional decoration. The cakes looked really lovely.

For the kids, my Mum made a chocolate cake (always a popular choice for kids!) in the shape of a teddy bear. We had fun choosing different sweets for the decoration. So much so that we actually did this cake again for Little Miss A's 1st birthday!

We provided some refreshments including Champagne for the toast but asked everyone to bring their own drinks. A lot of people were driving (due to the location) so it was mostly soft drinks anyway!

Kids entertainment:
None was needed as they were in the Woods so more than happy to explore, climb trees etc!

The photography:
We could have managed without a professional photographer and just asked the guests for their photos, but I'm glad we asked 'Lovely Things Photography' to be there. Frankee had done a photoshoot for us when Little Miss A was tiny and captured her really well so we asked her to do the photography for the Ceremony. We decided as this was a rare occasion of getting all the families together that we should take this opportunity to get photos of Little Miss A with each of the families, the grandparents etc. We then had most of these printed as thankyou presents.

The guests:
Not sure how many of those that were able to attend will read this but would like to take this opportunity again to thank them for coming. For many it was a long way to travel but it was greatly appreciated.

The gifts:
Of course everyone ignored the part of the invitation that said 'no gifts'! We just wanted people to be there. However, Little Miss A was really spoilt and received some really thoughtful and lovely presents.

We asked all guests to write '3 wishes' for Little Miss A:

I/We hope you enjoy...
I/We hope you aren’t afraid of...
I/We hope that you...

We had some fantastic responses. I am planning on getting these bound into a book for her with some of the photos (another thing on my to do list!).

We managed to keep costs really low for the whole day but it didn't feel like we'd scrimped on anything. We saved a lot by doing lots of it ourselves with the decorations and food. By having it in the Woods, we didn't have expensive venue hire costs to worry about. It really was great to have a natural, outdoors backdrop to the whole occasion.

I'm so very glad that we chose to have this Naming Ceremony and do it ourselves in our own way. I loved it. It was all very personal and special. I wouldn't have changed anything about it. It really was such a memorable day.

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