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When we are at our lowest ebb a funeral can be hard to plan.

We know it’s got to be arranged but with so little time and so many things crowding in on you, who can you turn to.

For many of us, a call to our or local vicar or minister is all we can think of doing.

Increasingly, however, another group of people are on hand to help bereaved families are their greatest hour of need. And this growing group are known as Funeral Celebrants.

Hardly any have a funeral industry background but good Funeral Celebrants are people who can help you create a funeral that is right for you and honours the person who died. Far from dwelling on your loss a good Celebrant will help you to remember the rich reservoir of memories and experiences you have gained and will carry with you … always.

Why do they do it? Many were inspired by especially bad or good funerals they have been to. They think funerals are important and they think they have the skills required to deliver good ones. They are driven by a strong sense of vocation.

Funeral Celebrants make themselves available to perform civil funerals in a dignified and culturally acceptable manner, for those who, for whatever reason, choose not to hold a religious ceremony. Most celebrants will conduct both non-religious and semi-religious funerals

Civil funeral celebrants also serve people who have religious beliefs but do not wish to be buried or cremated from a church, temple or mosque. More frequently, people choose civil funeral celebrants because they wish a professional person to help bereaved families create a deeply personal service centred on the person, their history and their achievements.

You don’t have to have someone official to create and lead your funeral ceremony – unless you or the person who has died wants a religious funeral in which case you’ll need an authorised religious appointee.

Anyone can lead a funeral service. Reminder: a funeral has no legal status. You can create your own funeral ceremony and lead it yourself if you want. But if that’s going to be too much for you, finding a good celebrant will prove to be a huge help, support and reassurance in your time of need.

In most instances, there is very little time to make a whole host of arrangements so it’s useful to have an idea of some of the questions you’d like to ask a potential Celebrant. These could include:

  1. How many funerals do you each month?
  2. Can you provide any references who are happy for us to contact them.
  3. Will you come and see me at home?
  4. Are you happy to go on working on the funeral and helping us to refine the service and its content right up to the day of the funeral?
  5. Are you happy to work with me to create something really special in memory of a loved one?
  6. Will you give me a printed copy of the script afterwards?
  7. What is the most memorable funeral you have ever taken?
  8. Can you give me an idea of how much you charge for your services?
  9. To help you find a good Celebrant local to you, we’ve included a handful of useful links.

Useful Links: 

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About the Author: Alec Sharples

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