I’ve been Facebook friends with Tatum since I was her wedding celebrant at Albion Farm Gardens back in 2019. I’ll happily accept a friend request from any of my clients (but equally won’t be offended if anyone doesn’t reach out in that way). It’s a great way for me to keep up with what happens to my couples AFTER the wedding, so I don’t die wondering. Tatum and Matt moved out west and had a baby ? I was over the moon when they asked me to do a baby naming celebration in Newcastle for their daughter.
One thing I always like to do in the ceremony is talk about why THAT name, out of all the thousands of possibilities, was chosen ?
Tatum and Matt admitted that they had a bit of difficulty agreeing on a girl’s name. One night in Dubbo, when Tatum was 15 weeks pregnant, there was a huge storm ⛈️?️ Herself and Matt are quite the storm lovers and so it got Tatum thinking……….. She Googled names with storm meanings and that’s where she found BRONTE meaning SOUND OF THUNDER in Greek.
Her middle name is Isobel, a lovely family legacy name. Tatum’s Mum picked it after Tatum’s great-grandmother Isabel but the couple decided to use an alternate spelling.
Once you give a child a name, you are declaring that the child is an individual, a unique and separate person with a life of their own. It’s quite mad to think, THAT NAME will forever be associated with their face, their voice, their walk, their laugh and all the other characteristics that their family and friends recognise that reflect the child’s individuality?
Tatum’s grandmother Gwen had never heard of a baby naming. Let’s be honest. She is not the only one. I often get quizzical looks ? from people when I talk about them. Put simply, it’s a non-religious Christening. The thing is, EVERYONE in Tatum’s family has always been christened so Bronte’s baby naming was a big break from tradition.
Myself, Matt and Tatum brainstormed how we could ensure the ceremony felt modern and matched the couple’s values whilst also being as respectful as we could to the family’s traditions. The last thing we wanted to do was upset anyone.
We came up with some modern takes on traditional rituals.
1. CANDLE RITUAL
We started the ceremony by asking Tatum’s grandmother Gwen to light a candle in Bronte’s honour. The ritual of lighting a candle to pay tribute to a person is something humans have done for centuries. It has many spiritual and religious meanings but on this particular day, the lighting of the candle represents the light and love that Bronte brings into the world. As Tatum told me ‘she is a ray of light’. In doing so, we wished Bronte a life of love and happiness in a peaceful world.
2. SAND + WATER RITUAL
The couple hope their daughter Bronte has a passion for the environment and for science: they want her to explore, be inquisitive and enjoy the wonders of the world. In a symbolic gesture of this, they put sand ?️ on the Bronte’s toes to remind her that the earth is to be explored. And then they put some water ? on Bronte’s head to remind her the water is there to be enjoyed. The overall message was to be kind to the earth. The lil’ champion didn’t even flinch – there were no tears.
3. ‘GOD-LESS’ PARENTS
Some people who have non-religious baby namings still choose to call the GODPARENTS by the traditional name. Others prefer guardian, guide parent or life guide. I’m up for anything so I encourage my couples to choose a word that feels right for them.
Tatum and Matt have a wicked sense of humour so they coined the phrase ‘God-Less Parent’ for their friends Jack and Laura, which made everyone lol.
How do you think we did blending the old with the new?
Bronte’s Newcastle baby naming ceremony had a floral theme ?️ so I suggested we incorporate some of my eco-confetti into the ceremony.
I used my knowledge of floriography which is the ‘secret language of flowers’ ? to choose the specific flowers for Bronte’s special blend.
• Roses – the universal symbol of love and affection
• Hydrangeas- symbolise gratitude
• Ranunculus- symbolizes charm
• Carnations- symbolize uniqueness
• Lavender- symbolizes admiration
So as the ceremony came to an end, I wished the three of them, on behalf of myself and everyone there, a wonderful and happy future.
All the guests repeated after me
“We welcome you Bronte, and offer you our love”
and then they threw FLOWERS on the family.
It was so sweet and very funny watching them get covered.
If Bronte’s baby naming story brought a smile to your face, you should explore the Baby Naming section on my blog. There, you’ll discover a wealth of inspiration drawn from a variety of baby naming ceremonies.
If you are looking for a Newcastle celebrant for your baby naming ceremony, learn more about my naming day services.