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April's special day.

Byline: By Sarah Ivison

Ceremony to mark birth of this little girl

THERE are more options for new parents to celebrate the birth of their babes these days.

Dawn and Mark Rolls celebrated the birth of their first child at a special naming ceremony held a year after their wedding.

The couple opted for a naming ceremony, rather than a traditional christening, held at Tall Trees Hotel.

"EVERYONE cried at our wedding," says Dawn, 31.

"I think it really touched our guests because it was such a personal service.

"Neither Mark nor I wanted a church wedding because we're not churchgoers and we think it's hypocritical to get married in church when you're not religious."

"Also because I'd spent two years in the hotel industry organising people's weddings I had seen a lot of civil ceremonies and compared to the church weddings I'd been to I personally thought the civil ones had an individuality and specialness to them that appealed to me."

It was this personal touch that came to mind when the couple had their baby.

Dawn married Mark, 31, a sales manager for an office interiors company, at a civil ceremony at Tall Trees Hotel, Yarm, in August 2003.

The Darlington couple met nine years ago through a mutual friend. In 1997 they bought a house together and got engaged.

"I got a ring and a house on the same day," laughs Dawn, who has a 12-year-old son Jason, from a previous relationship.

"I was six months pregnant when we married, which wasn't how we'd planned it, but it was a wonderful day," says Dawn.

"The wedding was perfect. We chose all the wedding songs we wanted to use and we both wanted modern songs with lyrics that meant something to us."

Dawn walked in to The Best In Me by Blue and at the end of the service the background songs included Savage Garden's Truly, Madly, Deeply and Will Young's Evergreen.

Impressed with the service and wanting to make their daughter April's naming ceremony special, Dawn and Mark chose to have the ceremony at the same venue almost a year to the day later.

Dawn says Lal Kawndele, Tall Trees complex general manager, was wonderful when they were planning the wedding.

"He took all the worry away from me. When you've been involved in organising weddings yourself, it's hard to hand over the responsibility to someone else."

Dawn's son Jason was christened in a church but she said: "When Mark and I married, we knew we wanted to have a naming ceremony for April at Tall Trees where we married.

"The registrar who married us carried out the naming ceremony service too and the renewal of our vows which made it even more special to us," says Dawn.

At the naming ceremony the parents declare the three people who will take on the equivalent of the godparents' role. The Rolls chose three close friends.

This time, the music was provided by a CD of Norah Jones in the background.

"We had it on a Sunday, like our wedding, so it was more expensive. It's pounds 250 normally but we paid about pounds 300 plus about pounds 3 for the certificate, room hire and food on top which added up to about pounds 800 which may seem like a lot to some people but after what we paid for the wedding it didn't seem that much."

* naming ceremonies are secular (non-religious) ceremonies.

As with weddings, a number of venues nationwide are able to hold a naming ceremony and organisations such as The British Humanist Association can arrange a special ceremony to welcome your new child.

You can lead the ceremony yourself or a trained celebrant can help you to prepare the ceremony and lead it on the day.

During the ceremony, parents state their love and commitment to their child and declare hopes for their future. You can choose to read poetry or a favourite piece of prose, with music playing in the background.

Rather than godparents,

'supporting adults' just need to say that they will be there for the child as he or she grows up.

You can also contact your local authority to find out which venues they have approved and how much they cost.

For more information about the British Humanist Association go to www.humanism.org.uk.

For more information and local authority contact numbers visit www.civilceremonies.co.uk.

* Margaret Raggett, Redcar and Cleveland area, ring 01287 632564 or e-mail: margaret_raggett@redcar- cleveland.gov.uk;

* Stockton ceremony co-ordinator, ring 01642 527720 or e-mail: registrars@stockton.gov.uk
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Family Life
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jan 10, 2005
Words:765
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