Naming Ceremonies

Naming Ceremonies, Why Wouldn’t You?!

Many people here in the UK don’t know too much about naming ceremonies, and that’s okay. As a celebrant, I understand it’s not a regular thing here, but I’d like to state that it’s still important. People might not often know what I mean when I say this, but that’s okay too. I’ll do my best to explain what they are in this post.

Let’s Begin with Christenings…

Growing up, christenings were what was popular for most people. Old christening robes were passed down through generations, and there were other rituals too. An example was the enormous three-tiered iced fruitcake used at weddings. One tier was often preserved and appeared during the christening. This was, of course, after the baptism in the church, which might be responsible for the term “wetting the baby’s head.” However, that means something else now.

Anyways, this ritual meant people took a lot of pictures with gifts given to the baby. Some people still have those gifts and photos now, and they mean so much. For many, they are a symbol that their family has always loved them.

So, even though we have many more families that are non-religious now, I would think that Naming Ceremonies would also be embraced with Gusto. They are not. In fact, some families seem mortified at the suggestion!

Changes Are in Order…

Recently, I decided to try to discover why naming ceremonies are not so popular here. I didn’t get a direct answer. Maybe it’s because people associate them with American rituals like gender reveal parties or baby showers.

They can’t quite stand the thought of the embarrassing sentimentality or unnecessary extras that seem to come with those. It could also be that these families feel like a ceremony as religious as a “Christening” cannot be replicated and so should be left alone. Well, I’d love to change minds on that.

You see, the UK is changing a lot as a community. Many rituals people performed in the past seem to be fading out. This could be because we’re now a mix of people with many different cultures. Some of these may be strongly religious others, not at all. In fact, if we’d like to admit it, many of us are not so religious nowadays.

One thing that has, however, stuck with us is the importance of heritage. Having a community and belonging in one is also another thing we can acknowledge. So that means new communities are being formed all the time—each with diverse cultures, traditions and beliefs.

New Rites of Passage…

As the new communities I mentioned above are being formed, new rites of passage are being created too. I love being a part of these, and it’s one satisfaction that I get from my career. I firmly believe that we should find new ways to expresses time-honoured traditions that are compassionate and kind.

When it comes to childbirth, christenings are how it is done. They are about how special that day is and what happens next. They could also include blessings, well wishes and promises. At this point of the christening, the parents and close community also pledge to impart the important values that uphold a community. Some of them are love, compassion and tolerance, amongst others.

These are invaluable, and I feel we’d all benefit if they continued. So, we have to find new ways to interpret these particular rituals, especially when welcoming a new baby. Every important and strong culture values birth and acknowledges when it happens. So, we shouldn’t do away with those here in the UK. Plus, don’t we just love a reason to get together and eat cake? I know I do! This is where naming ceremonies come in.

Naming Ceremonies…

Like other ceremonies, they are a way of acknowledging a change—a rite of passage to introduce a transition. It encourages the acknowledgement of the significant life event that birth is. This ceremony is important.

As a Celebrant, I have handled naming ceremonies that have meant much more than just a celebration of life. Some people have been through a terrible pregnancy and are grateful for a chance to be alive to celebrate. Some have been through traumatic labours or have even had long adoption processes.

You can’t tell these people that a celebration is not in order. They want to celebrate the joy of living, and they should! For them, it’s also about leaving some pain and sadness behind and getting to party.

So how do you go about a Naming Ceremony? I understand that since this isn’t so popular, some people have no idea where to start. This could also be another reason why they aren’t so widespread. Maybe people don’t really know what naming ceremonies are for or what they represent. So, to answer this question, I’ll start with what naming ceremonies really are.

How to Go About A Naming Ceremony…

For this, I’ll need you to picture bunting, cakes, and a lovely spread of delicious homemade food. Imagine the fun that you would have setting up a marquee in your backyard or a hired venue as a family. The magic and laughter that you can all share along with handwritten baby letters to be opened in the future.

But that’s not all, picture all the people who love your baby gathered in one place, ready to give their blessings. Think of everyone dressed in their best and welcoming your baby into the world the best way they know-how. That’s a start to a description of what a naming ceremony could be. The pictures from this event would be enough to last a lifetime and reunite families many years later.

This is a little bit of what naming ceremonies are. Your baby is ensured a sense of legitimacy and belonging. It will also instil the lovely human values of celebrating love, a new beginning and hope in your little community.

We’ve Been Through So Much…

The past year has been a difficult time. As a people, we have learnt how valuable how life is. How so much can be taken away in a little time. It’s been a sobering lesson for a lot. It’s almost like we had been insulated from these in the past but not this past year. This time, we discovered how significantly interconnected the world can be and how we need to celebrate each day.

So, we have a responsibility to our new babies and children to celebrate them. We have to show them how important they are to our community and promise to be there for them. Naming ceremonies help us to do just that.

They are a hope for the future and an affirmation of what is good about us all. It affirms in us that we belong together no matter what. That we will always do our best to flourish and thrive, no matter where we come from.

Naming Ceremonies Bring Us Together…

As a celebrant, I have seen the miracle of life and how it brings families together. I have watched people survive terrible things but come together for their children. It is such a hopeful thing to be a part of, and it means so much. There is nothing that could be more valuable than this—giving each other hope for the future.

If you’re interested in having a ceremony just like this, albeit in your own way, then please get in touch. Naming ceremonies are the perfect chance to introduce your child to the important people in their life. People who are going to love them for the rest of their lives.

This is important and even better, you can party and eat cake while at it. A naming ceremony is much more than just the regular get together, and I may be a little biased, but you’ll need the right celebrant there to make it the occasion it should be. I’d love to help you with that, so make sure you get in touch.

07838 921491

What Are My Options If I Can’t Find A Registrar?

Special Moments Celebrant
Any Time Any Place

All of the weddings postponed in the UK from last year are slated for this year. That means that registrars have a backlog of legal marriage registrations right now, making them next to impossible to get.

If you’ve had to reschedule your wedding and are trying to set a new date but can’t find a registrar who is uncommitted, you’re probably worried. This is only to be expected because so many questions will be running through your mind. So, what’s the next step for you? Will you have to reschedule your entire celebration again? As a Celebrant handling weddings in London and Essex, I thought I should answer these and share a few more tips with you
· What Are Your  Options If I Can’t Find A Registrar Available for My Rescheduled Wedding?
If you’re in London and Essex and have had to reschedule your wedding, my heart goes out to you. It can’t have been easy to make the decision, but I’m glad you had the courage to. Now, you can look forward to a safer and better wedding because you’ve had more time to plan for it.
One way you can make things less stressful for you is by working with your vendors. They’ll help you develop a date that works for everyone, and you can go from there. However, there’s a snag you might encounter; Local Authorities are not taking bookings for Registrars presently.
That kind of makes it hard to commit to a new date. Plus, when the lockdown is lifted, you’ll discover that Registrars will be high in demand. Finding a Registrar who is available for your date may be next to impossible. They’ll be so many new weddings and rescheduled weddings like yours for them to handle.

your wedding your way

· The Celebrant Option
A Celebrant could be the answer to the question above. Celebrants will give your ceremony so much flexibility and can be available for as long as you want. They’ll also be able to work with your time because most Celebrants take only one wedding in a day. You must know that a Celebrant is a viable option for your wedding in a time like this.
· The Difference Between A Registrar and A Celebrant
The major difference between a Registrar and a Celebrant is the legal aspect. Registrars work for the Local Authority and are licensed to register marriages. They are authorised to conduct marriage ceremonies binding at a registered venue or the Register offices. They have a legally prepared script that they follow at weddings.
Celebrants, on the other hand, are self-employed. That means that they can come up with a unique script written from the start of your wedding. It also means that your speech and vows will be unique to your wedding. Please note that in England and Wales, a Celebrant ceremony is not legally binding.
So How Do We Complete the Legal Part If We Work with A Celebrant?
For your wedding to be recognised in England and Wales, you’ll need to do the legal administration at a local Register Office. This is ideally done before your ceremony. You only need to attend this simple and quick process with two witnesses, say the words, and sign the register. All the meaningful and special parts can be left for your Celebrant-led ceremony later.
If it turns out that you cannot have this legal part before your ceremony, you can book it for afterwards. However, your celebrant will have to word your script because at no point carefully will they be allowed to say that you are married or pretend to marry you.
· Is a Celebrant-Led Ceremony Different from One with A Registrar?
The answer is yes. Your celebrant will spend a lot of time getting to know you and listen to your ideas for your wedding. They will then take what they have learned and craft a personalised ceremony representing you and your partner. There are no rules where this is concerned, and you are not restricted as to a choice of venues. Your Celebrant will also have many lovely ideas that you can incorporate into your celebration.
· Will a Celebrant-Led Wedding Ceremony Feel Less Real?
No, it won’t! All the elements needed to make it special will be there, including your vows and ring exchange. Your Celebrant will also deliver a ceremony that is thoughtful and full of love, leaving your guests very impressed. They won’t even realise that it’s not a legal ceremony. So what do you say?
Here at Special Moments Celebrant, I would be delighted to help you handle your wedding ceremony in these trying times. I take my time to know every couple I work with and offer advice to make things easier where possible. Contact me and let’s discuss your wedding. I’d love to hear from you.

Sequel Weddings in Covid times

Sequel wedding

With Celebrant all things are possible

Have you been hearing about sequel weddings and wondering what they are? Well I’m here to answer that question today. It’s a large celebration, blessing or ceremony that a couple has after a much smaller intimate wedding ceremony.

Sequel weddings are becoming increasing popular nowadays. They are being promoted by many celebrants and the momentum is gaining fast. In this time of the pandemic, a sequel could be the answer to your wedding being postponed or disrupted.

Sequel weddings have however been popular long before the pandemic. If you’re interested in knowing why and learning more about sequel weddings, read the paragraphs below.

  • Why You Should Have A Sequel Wedding

There are lots of reasons why a sequel wedding might be what you need. The following are some of them:

  • You had your wedding postponed because of the pandemic.
  • This is your second wedding and you want the serious aspects to be basic. You can have a big party to celebrate with your loved ones later.
  • To fulfil visa requirements quickly and celebrate with your loved ones much later.
  • You’re having a destination wedding and want the legal aspects out of the way first.
  • You had your legal ceremony outside the UK but also want to celebrate with your loved ones.

Whichever your reason, sequel weddings can be fun. As I mentioned earlier, it is split into a small wedding and a big one. Your small wedding could be any of the following:

  • A Basic No Frills 2+2 Civil Ceremony or A Minimony

This is a short ceremony that includes all the legal elements that make up a marriage. The only people in attendance can be yourselves, the registrar and your two witnesses. It is very inexpensive and only needs the declaration, contracting words and a ring exchange which is optional.

  • Micro, Mini or Zoom Online Wedding

This is a small kind of wedding with less than 30 people in attendance.  The atmosphere is very intimate and if you meet the specifications of the law, you can make it legally binding.

  • An Elopement

Elopements are no longer the taboo they once were. You could sneak away for a secret wedding and announce to your guests later at the sequel wedding. You could also tell them prior to your sequel wedding.

All of the above are the ways you can have the smaller part of your sequel wedding.

  • Who Has A Sequel Wedding?

Like I mentioned earlier, sequel weddings are not a new concept. There are many cultures that have sequel weddings rooted in their traditions. Many celebrities also choose to go this route. A popular one you probably know of is George Clooney. He had a city hall wedding in Venice, a high-profile wedding two days later and another big reception here in the UK.

Many regular people also have sequel weddings too. They sometimes manifest as weekend long wedding celebrations and are growing in popularity in the UK. Couples can bring their loved ones together for a fulfilled weekend of camping and celebration. At these celebrations, a celebrant can hold your ceremony whether your venue is legal or not.

Sequel weddings are also great for people getting married the second time. At your first wedding, your expectations are high and you often have a lot to prove. A second wedding does not have the same dynamics so a sequel wedding works just fine. You can keep it simple and relaxed with only those most special to you. Some second brides prefer this course of action.

  • Advantages of A Sequel Wedding

There are many benefits that having a sequel wedding brings:

  • As a result of COVID-19, couples have had to have small basic legal ceremonies. With a sequel wedding, they can freely plan a bigger ceremony with their loved ones later.
  • As a modern couple, you can shake things up a bit with a sequel wedding. Your intimate celebration could just the way you want it while you stick to traditions that please family at the bigger one. It’s a great way to put your stamp on your day.
  • A sequel wedding gives you opportunities for personalisation. Since you have the legal aspects out of the way, you can have whatever kind of wedding you please. The ceremony after will have no legal restrictions.
  • The options you have when it comes to a sequel wedding are endless. It’s your day and you can plan it however you want. Just remember to enlist the services of a celebrant who is awesome and understanding (Hopefully me). They should also have a style that fits your wedding vision.
  • To Sum Things Up

Sequel weddings are weddings made up of two stages. The first is usually the legal one followed by the sequel at a much later date. Having a minimony first in these trying times and planning your sequel for when it’s safer is a good idea. You deserve to have a wedding where you’re surrounded by your loved ones as you say your vows. Best of luck!!!

If you’re planning a sequel wedding here in the UK, you should talk to me. Here at Special Moments Celebrants I would love a chance to play my part. I believe that all weddings should be about the couple and together we can make your dream wedding a reality. Give me a call on 07838921491 or send me an email at

Sequel Wedding
Wedding I do

Funerals in The UK During This Pandemic & How Celebrant Cares.

The past few months have been a heart-breaking time. It’s not been easy to preside over funerals during this time for a lot of reasons. The worst part is that there has been a marked increase in the number of funerals because of the pandemic. This has meant the enforcement of many changes and some very difficult times.

Here at Special Moments Celebrant, I also handle funerals and have had to deal with some of these changes. Here are my views on how funerals in the UK have gone so far. I have also included some simple steps that Celebrants often carry out to soothe loved ones during funerals.

· The Restrictions

Saying goodbye to a loved one who has passed is difficult. The restrictions in place, however, have made it even harder. For one thing, not every family could be in physical attendance. It’s not been easy for families who have been affected to cope with this situation.

There is also the fact that you could even be available for the physical ceremony and unable to connect. It isn’t deemed safe for you to physically comfort someone who is crying or hold their hand. It’s hard to maintain the two-meter social distance required and watch your loved one break down while giving their speech. It’s hard, but we’ve had to do it.

· The Rise in Number of Funerals

The rise in the number of deaths and funerals this year has been much due to the pandemic. We’ve seen the huge numbers across the screen with every COVID-19 announcement on the news. The first few months of the pandemic is when the increase in the number of funerals began. I’ve had to handle quite a bit myself.

The death toll is still of concern these days with rising numbers of cases. It is also going to be a thing of concern as we find ourselves approaching the winter months.

· The Role of Celebrants During the Pandemic
Special Moments Celebrant, Funerals Service in UK

Before the pandemic, the role of celebrants has been about putting families at ease. We do this by creating a comfortable space for them to talk about their loved ones. Meeting with the family and talking about the person who has passed away takes tact. You have to be emphatic, sensitive, calm, and professional because they need you to get through their trauma. The pandemic has, however, caused a shift.

The funerals during this pandemic have not been the same. It is somehow more clinical, which makes it harder for the family grieving. I don’t even get that chance to be there for the family like I would love to. Going to see them physically and talking about their loved one has been now out of the question, thought with social distancing all things are possible. It was during that visit time that I learn about this person over tears and laughter. I used these moments to build up to a lovely funeral service.

· Alternatives to Physical Visits

It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve been trying to work with what we have. I just really feel for the family. They have to share this burden with a complete stranger, which I initially am to them. Now not only do they have to do it, but they also have to do so over a video call – if that’s their preferred way of contact. This adds to the difficulty because that intimacy that comes from being physically present is lost. You can’t read silent cues and facial expressions the same. I’ve had to tell some of them that we can take as long as they need. It’s been one of the hardest things I’ve had to do during this pandemic, and I wish it were not so.

· Funeral Services During the Pandemic

Right next to the difficulty that I’ve mentioned above is the lack of closeness at the services. Social distancing has to be followed, and it’s been sad. At a time when we need to reach out and comfort each other the most, people have had to be socially distant. There really can’t be any contact unless you both came from the same household.

Usually, I would be right next to a loved one giving a speech and comfort them if they need it. Watching a daughter or a wife read their eulogy or poem and break down in tears without being able to do a thing has been draining. The one time when you want to be a form of a solid support is when you have to step away. Like I said earlier, it’s been a heart-breaking experience.

There is also the fact that this new normal is quite cruel. The average number of people who get to attend the funeral has been dropped. We’ve gone from about 40 to around 15 depending on the crematorium. This is also hard, but it’s what we’ve had to work with because of restrictions. I am really worried about how the families are coping with this too. For example, if you have a large family, how do you get to choose who gets to come and who doesn’t?

· Doing the Best That I Can in This Pandemic

Special Moments Celebrant, Funerals Service in UK

It really hasn’t been easy, but I’ve done my best. I feel holding an actual service like this is better than the direct cremation option. During that, nobody is present, and it’s just sad. I feel that would be too much after the fact that the family couldn’t see their loved one at the hospital either. So, I prefer these services where social distancing is observed strictly that.

I don’t know when these restrictions will be lifted. Like everyone else, I am hoping for relief, for a vaccine that works. I would love for people to be able to be there for each other and their families. Especially during a time as trying as a funeral can be.

In the meantime, however, we will continue to make do with what we have. A funeral is a milestone that should be marked despite how hard this new version of it might be. I have taken it upon myself to make this personal no matter how brief and intense my relationship with a family is. I’ll be right there doing my best to guide everyone and do this right.

Here at Special Moments Celebrant, I understand how important milestones are. If you’re having a ceremony here in the Essex and Southend area, I’d love to be a part of it. I bring to your event my years of experience as a celebrant and my passion for what I do. So why not give me a call on 07838921491 or send me an email at I’d love to hear from you.