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What is a Welcoming ceremony?

A welcoming ceremony is a very special way of celebrating the birth of your child or welcoming a new arrival into your family and wider community. These ceremonies are an opportunity to declare your promise to be as good a parent as you can and for friends or relatives to confirm their special relationship with your child.

A welcoming ceremony is, in every sense, a unique occasion for everyone to feel involved as they offer their love and support for your child's future development.

It is not a legal ceremony and does not contain any religious references. It is for parents who do not wish to have the traditional religious baptism or christening at a church but would still like to have a special ceremony and event to celebrate the birth of a child or welcome a new arrival into their family. The meaning of the ceremony is what you as a parent wish to bring to it.

Ceremonies are not only to celebrate the birth of a baby but can also take place when couples have re-married or entered into a new relationship and wish to welcome their children from a previous relationship into the new family. For example, a welcoming ceremony can follow a marriage or a renewal of vows ceremony.

Welcoming ceremonies can also be used by couples who adopt a baby or child. It provides a wonderful opportunity to welcome the child into the new family and for the family to give their commitment to the child’s well-being.

Ceremonies can be held for more than one child within the same family, so older brothers and sisters can take part just as much as younger ones.

What happens at a Welcoming Ceremony?

All welcoming ceremonies have seven essential parts:

  • Welcome and introduction
  • Reading (optional)
  • Welcome/naming of the child (or children)
  • Parents’ personal promises
  • Personal promises of supporting adults
  • Signing of the certificate
  • Closing words

Parents can also choose to add any of the following:

  • Reasons for the names
  • Reference to absent family and friends
  • Presentation of a gift to the child
  • Further readings

There are many ways in which you can make your child’s ceremony a very personal and unique event.

Where can they be held?

Ceremonies can be held in Approved Premises, Kent and Bexley Approved Premises or in unlicensed venues (subject to KCC’s approval).

For more information on booking and planning a Kentish Ceremony, read our online magazine - A Kentish Ceremony.

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