The Dobson Family Story

Naming ceremonies were the perfect way to celebrate the birth of both of our daughters, Isabelle, four and Sophie, who is nearly two.

We held them around the time of their first birthdays – in April 2016 for Sophie and October 2013 for Isabelle. It was also nice to have a happy and special reason for all the family to get together again after our wedding.

We thought holding the ceremonies around their first birthdays would be nice. You can hold one at any time, but aged one, it meant they were aware and could enjoy the day with us, Isabelle, for example, was clapping along at hers – they could both interact with their days a bit more.

We held both girls’ naming ceremonies at Weston Park Golf Club in Weston Longville, Norwich, as that’s also where we got married and we thought it would make it even more special. Some of our family live further afield and for them the naming ceremonies were the first chance they’d got to meet the girls.

Both ceremonies were really relaxed, at Sophie’s we had three readings – I did one chosen from the celebration booklet of choices given to us before the day, but adapted it for us, and Iain also read something he’d written. The family children also did a reading – they each wrote and read their own line, spelling out Sophie’s name. Isabelle did the first letter – S is for sister, and our nieces and nephews, Hannah, Lauren, James, Evie and Louis did the rest. Because the day is about children I wanted to make sure we included them and get them involved in the day.

A big part of the naming ceremony, and one that was important to us, was the promises made. As well as the parental promises, we also made promises to each other – to support each other and so on, which was like a flashback to our wedding day. We also had grandparent promises, again of support and being there if ever the children or we need them.

Another big thing for us was the role of supporting adults as well, I know it’s not legally binding, but our friends have taken this very seriously and I think that’s created a really special bond between them and each of the girls. It’s definitely a ceremony I would recommend to other parents – both days were so happy and perfect. A lot of people didn’t know what it was about but afterwards said how special they thought the day had been – I think a few of them wished they’d had them for their children too.

Something our registrar, Tina Rivett, said on the day will always stick with me. She said that in many cultures whole villages get involved in raising the children and that in our busy world all parents and children will benefit from the additional love and support given to them by friends and relatives – we wanted naming ceremonies for both girls for just that reason.