Baby welcoming ceremony

Coronavirus: Important information

Please read the following information before progressing.

Death and stillbirth registrations: All death and stillbirth registrations are now carried out by a telephone appointment. You do not need to attend the register office in person. For more information see our death registration guidance.

Marriage and Civil Partnerships: We are currently dealing with a high volume of ceremony amendments and we aim to respond within six working days. A request for a new ceremony booking can be made from Monday 20 July 2020. We currently have availability for new marriage or civil partnership bookings to take place from September 2020 onwards. Please note that it may take up to ten working days to respond to your new booking enquiry. Please see our marriage and civil partnerships guidance for further details.

Notice of Marriage or Civil Partnership: If you have a marriage or civil partnership booked to take place in the next three months and you are a Surrey resident, you can book your notice appointment at Guildford, Leatherhead or Weybridge Register Offices from Monday 6 July 2020.

Birth registrations: Appointments are now available to book at Guildford, Leatherhead and Weybridge Register Offices. We are looking forward to seeing you but we have a large backlog of births to register, so please bear with us as we try to offer as many appointments as is safely possible. Guildford is now fully booked until 5 October. Leatherhead and Weybridge offices are now fully booked until 18 September. If you are registering a multiple birth, please complete the birth enquiry form and we will assist you in making an appointment.

New parents can register their baby with a GP practice without a birth certificate.

Claims for Child Benefit and Universal Credit can be made before you register the birth. Visit the Child Benefit and Universal Credit pages for details on how to make a claim.

Certificates: We are currently running a limited service and are only able to process copy certificate applications that are essential, such as for legal proceedings, job recruitment etc. We can issue a maximum of five certificates per person. Please do not apply for certificates for the purposes of family history research at this time. If you require certificates for other purposes, please contact the General Register Office who should be able to supply certificates for you.

Thank you for your continued patience and understanding.

A baby welcoming ceremony is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the birth of a baby or welcome adopted or stepchildren into your wider family circle. This secular ceremony is designed as an alternative to a religious celebration and whilst it has no legal standing, it creates a special event at which to gather together family and friends for a dignified but relaxed occasion.

A baby welcoming ceremony:

  • welcomes a new child or children into your family and enables you to express love, care and commitment to them in front of your family and friends,
  • celebrates the name of a new child or children,
  • enables supporting adults or grandparents to publicly promise to help and support your child or children as they grow up within our community.

You may choose to personalise the ceremony by including a reading of verse or a suitable piece of prose, and we have a selection of suggested readings (PDF). Please note however, that due to legal constraints the piece must have no religious content and be approved at least seven days prior to your ceremony.

The ceremony will last approximately 20-30 minutes and is delivered by a member of the Surrey registration staff. A commemorative certificate will be presented to mark the event.

A baby welcoming ceremony can take place at any one of our licensed venues or register offices in Guildford, Leatherhead or Weybridge. A fee is payable for this service.

Booking your ceremony

Ceremonies enquiry form (currently suspended)

You can pre-book your ceremony or make an enquiry regarding your ceremony, by completing our ceremonies enquiry form above. Our ceremonies office will then check availability or respond your enquiry within two working days.

You will be required to pay the fee that is applicable for the date of your ceremony. All ceremony fees will be payable in full at the time of booking. Fees are subject to change on the 1 April each year. Please see our webpage: Fees for other types of ceremonies.

Ceremony checklists

You must complete the relevant ceremony requirements form online no later than six weeks prior to your ceremony date. The form will provide us with the details of your celebration, such as your choice of vows or promises, music and readings.

Files available to download