Funeral Directors have been gradually calling on the services of Celebrants more and more for around 20 years. Perhaps friends or relatives have suggested having a Celebrant to take the funeral for you, but for many people, this will be the first time dealing with all the arrangements and it is very likely that you will never have heard of one.
Celebrants come generally in two forms; some are strictly ‘Humanist’, where there will no mention of any religion. Some are ‘Independent’ or ‘Civil’ Celebrants who give you the freedom to have hymns and other religious content if you wish to, or none at all. All Celebrants should do their utmost to create a ceremony that will be centred around your wishes and all about the life and personality of the person who has died.
One of the questions you will be asked when arranging with the Funeral Director is ‘Did you wish for a religious service?’ if your answer is ‘Yes’, then you might already know a local minister who you would like to take your loved one’s funeral at a venue of your choice, or one can be found for you.
If your answer is ‘No’, or you are not sure that you want a full religious service but might want elements of your chosen faith to be included, then it is likely that your Funeral Director will help you to choose a Celebrant to take the funeral for you.
Your Funeral Director and their staff will regularly work with Celebrants; they usually have a short list of who they think are amongst the best in the area. Quite often, the intuitive Funeral Director will already have an idea of the perfect match for your family as you are talking things through. They may also ask you if you would prefer a male or a female to lead the ceremony.
Be assured that if your Funeral Director recommends a Celebrant to you, then they will trust their ability to create the ceremony you want. Funeral Directors are professionals who genuinely care about the families they are helping and want them to have the perfect ceremony to pay tribute to their loved one.
You might find that some Funeral Directors have what they call an ‘in house’ Celebrant, who does the majority of their non or semi religious services for them, calling on others by family request or availability issues at busy times. These Celebrants are usually ‘in house’ for a very good reason: because they are implicitly trusted to do an appropriate ceremony every time. (Some will be current or ex Funeral Directors, so know the industry very well).
Others use a number of different Celebrants and Ministers for the families they look after, but however their particular business works, they will always provide you with someone they know can help you to create the best ceremony possible in memory of your loved one.
The role of a Celebrant varies at each ceremony in accordance with the wishes of the family. Some families might have a number of members who are used to public speaking and wish to each deliver a tribute or eulogy, whereas others may feel that they are not able to do this at such an emotional time, so the Celebrant can write and deliver the whole ceremony for you.
Some people may have chosen two or three poems that they would like to be read out, whereas others will have had less experience of funeral readings, so your Celebrant can suggest some. The same goes for music, perhaps you are at a bit of a loss when it comes to music choices for the ceremony, again your Celebrant can suggest some pieces that might be appropriate. Please see the following blog for music ideas;
Celebrants can also provide a ‘pre- need’ service. (Your own bespoke funeral ceremony plan). This allows for you to meet with the Celebrant to record your wishes, perhaps write your own eulogy or a message for your loved ones, and ensure that your funeral is carried out in the way you see fit.
Whatever your choices, your Funeral Director and your Celebrant are there to help and guide you as much as you wish. Between us, we aim to make an incredibly difficult time a little easier.
© Ellie Lomas 2018