Baby namings, sometimes called a Dedication, can take place anywhere, but it’s most common for them to be at a family’s home. In pleasant weather, they might be outside at a local park. They might also be at a restaurant, depending on the size of the crowd.
There’s no set time for when a baby naming has to occur. Parents may choose to have the naming at any time after the child is born. Typically it’s within two or three weeks of the child’s birth. I've officiated for children who are a year or more...whenever you choose to do this is the right time for you.
What to Wear?
Baby namings aren’t necessarily formal events, so it’s likely that the most appropriate attire is somewhat casual, but if you’re not sure, you can take a hint from the location.
Bring the Kids?
Yes! It’s very common for baby namings to be full of babies, toddlers, and other young kids. Before you go, it might be nice to talk to your kids about what it means to get a name, how you chose their names, and what the newborn might look like.
There isn’t really a set ritual or liturgy for a baby naming, so many families take the opportunity to create their own ceremony. I'll give you a number of options and suggestions. But here are a few things that you’ll most often see.
I usually start with a few words about the blessing that children are in our life and some of the things we hope life will bring to them. If you choose there may be a ceremony or ritual involving blessing your child, at which time the parents announce the name they have chosen for their child. They will probably spend some time explaining why they made the choices they did. If a child is named after someone, the parents may spend some time talking about that person, and explaining what qualities that person had that they hope will be passed on to their child. (Bring your tissues for this part–it can be a tear-jerker!) If the child isn’t named after someone, they may explain how they came to choose the name they settled on.
At this point, there may be singing, short thank yous, or even a reading of a special poem or story.
In some communities the baby may be literally passed from generation to generation, with the oldest family relatives lining up and passing the child down to its parents, symbolizing the passing of responsibility and heritage from one generation to the next. In other communities, the child may be passed around to every guest, so he or she can have a personal welcome with everyone. All of this will be explained as it happens, so you won’t be left to figure it out on the fly.
Whatever the parents choose to include in the ceremony, it’s very common for them to conclude by blessing their child with what is known as the Priestly Blessing: “May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord deal kindly and graciously with you. May the Lord bestow His favor upon you and grant you peace.”