Wishes for babies - guest messages at naming ceremonies pt 2

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Last week I talked about giving guests at naming ceremonies prompts to help them write messages to your child for the future. While some people like to use prompts, just as many would rather have free-form messages, obviously both are great choices and it just depends on what you think will work best with your guests. There are some other things to think about whatever you choose, so let's talk about those.

Firstly, do you want a guest book or individual sheets of paper. A guest book is more traditional and looks lovely. It is already bound, meaning you can just pick it up at the end of the day and carry it off. Very convenient for busy parents. A couple I know have used a children's book as a guest book, asking guests to write the messages inside the covers.

One drawback to a guest book is that if one of your guests botches their message, or writes something inappropriate, you are stuck with their scribbles or unwelcome message. To fix this you can try to find a guest book with pages that can be removed easily.

If you choose to use individual pieces of paper, think about how you will collect them. Do you want to use a decorative box or jar that can be displayed on the day? If so, will that be their permanent home, or will you mount them in an album? Putting together an album does create a bit more work after the ceremony is over, but if you also put in some photos of the ceremony and party, you can create a wonderful keepsake.

If you're going to keep the messages in a box or jar, may I recommend using origami paper. It's inexpensive, comes in lots of attractive colours and patterns, and is a good size for the length of messages most people will wish to write.

Another consideration is when you want guests to write their messages. Most people simply let guests know where to write their well wishes and let them do it some time during the party, however some like to include the writing in the ceremony itself. If you are one of the latter group I have a few questions for you to think about:

  • How will you make sure guests have writing materials at the correct time?
    • If they have them from the outset will they fiddle and damage them?
    • If you are going to hand them around during the ceremony who will do this and how long will it take?
  • How will you make sure guests can write comfortably? (You will probably want to give them card to write on, rather than paper.)
  • Will it feel awkward if there's a period of quiet while everyone thinks and writes? Do you want to play some music while they do this? (Music can both smooth over any awkwardness and help keep the ceremony to time without the celebrant having to openly rush people who haven't finished.)
  • How will you collect the written messages?

Finally, I think in future there will increasingly be families making online guest books in the form of photo and video message collections. These are a great idea, as long as the messages are backed up, so you aren't at the mercy of a social media provider which could go bust or remove access to your precious memories.