What is a funeral Celebrant
The funeral celebrant is the person leading the funeral ceremony, they are the one officiating at the funeral services. The celebrant can be non religious or religious. They conduct the funeral, they announce the different persons involved and guide the attendees through all the different stages.
Through discussion and questions they set the tone for the funeral service, depending on the circumstances of the loss that might be celebration or more sombre.
We have a few guides on the different types of funerals, I’ll share some links to those at the bottom of this article.
If you don’t have a person in mind, your local funeral director will refer you to clergy or civil celebrants for religious or non religious ceremonies.
Using the funeral directors local knowledge can be a huge time saver.
Can anyone be a funeral celebrant? Who can be a funeral celebrant?
A family member can take on the role, someone with a similar outlook on life, a friend, a member of the clergy and a civil celebrant could too.
Did your loved one have a strong faith? If so, reach out to their preferred priest or minister to discuss.
If you know the place of worship your departed one attended, reach out to them, they will help and guide you. You can find detailed address info for the Church of England and the Catholic church.
If you know their faith, but they might not have attended their local church frequently, you should still reach out to the church if you know they wished for a religious aspect to their funeral arrangements.
Don’t forget, your local funeral director will have a comprehensive knowledge and guide you should you be unsure.
What does a civil celebrant do?
They oversee the service, conduct the proceedings without and religious content. They will cover memories personal to the person who died. Favourite songs, prayers, poems, lyrics and hymns.
A good civil celebrant will help you bring out the key points of their life, they’re not a religious minister. Because celebrants have lots of past experience, they will be able to help you navigate the service helping you decide what to include.
Imagine a conductor, with the family sharing the important notes, the details about the departed, the celebrant helps bring that all together on the day. They offer the right guides, reflect wishes, collect memory detail and share a comprehensive funeral plan.
How could I conduct the funeral myself? Is that even possible?
Quite simply it is! On the day of the funeral, family and friends often take the lead during the funeral service.
If you’re driven to take on the task, consider the other people you want to play a part, the hymns, the bible readings or poems. First steps, reach out to family members and make sure they are in agreement with you taking on the role and planning.
From experience, I can’t understate how useful using the services of a celebrant can be! The biggest fear is ‘the loss of personal touch’ but in reality, the celebrant will assist you keep things personal, their experience can really make sure everything stays organised. During the service, you still have the option to take the lead.
Humanist funeral celebrants, what do they do?
A humanist celebrant has no belief in god.
The humanist funeral celebrant will focus on the deceased, their life and legacy. They will have lots of non religious resources and guide you in creating a suitable memorial for someone who had no belief in a higher power. Like any other celebrant they’ll ask questions to better understand the wishes of the family.
A day in the life of a funeral celebrant! What does a celebrant actually do?
It’s plain to see how much the funeral celebrant plays an important role bringing together the information needed on the funeral order of service.
Hymns, music, lyrics, poems, readings as well as who will be taking a part will be covered.
Likely, the celebrant will meet up to go over the arrangements, quite often requesting the loved ones close friends and family to take a part and share their input. Thankfully (during the pandemic) they have been able to offer this service over zoom, phone or email. Meet up in person too if you live close by, subject to current distancing rules.
Their focus is understanding who your friend or family member was and their relationship with you and your friends.
They’ll take that info, and craft a very personal service. Sometimes they will work with you to write the eulogy if you want that including on the day.
At the funeral, how does the celebrant help?
- Their main job is to lead the service reflect the deceased wishes.
- Reflecting the tone (celebration or sombre)
- Offering advice
- Remembering beliefs
- Remembering their life story
- Celebrating key points of their journey
- Including those who will miss your loved one
Thats a brief birds eye view of how they can help. Remember, There are no right or wrong ways to remember your loved one.
You might not be familiar with your loved ones religious details, they will really help and offer advice.
Hopefully, planning a funeral isn’t something we have to do regularly, a good practitioner can really ease anxiety by explaining and guiding you through the process. You’ll get a chance to share input and convey all the plans your loved one had.
Humanist and civil celebrants will help you create a very personal service. Importantly, they’ll help you arrive at an ‘order of service. They often lead the procession into the venue, but not always, it’s entirely your choice.
They’ll help you find clarity through a very emotional time. Good understanding and listening skills are essential for a funeral celebrant.
They will guide the service, prompting people who are taking an item, that might be the reading of a poem or taking your part in the Eulogy.
You might be a confident speaker in everyday life, but on the day it can be useful for the celebrant to take the lead. Emotions often run high (and thats ok). A celebrant give a sense of reassurance to families, and offer much needed support during the funeral proceedings.
Funeral celebrants charges, what does it cost?
Typically, there will be a fee for non-religious or religious celebrants, there may be a charge specific to the use of the church or other place of worship.
When you receive the final bill from the funeral director, the celebrants fee is often listing in the ‘additional services’ or ‘3rd party funeral cost’ section.
Depending on travel and other overheads, the fees can vary. In the UK, expect a fee of between £160 – £260.
Useful information about funeral civil celebrants
Funeral celebrants aren’t regulated in an official capacity, however there are some leading groups that offer excellent training and guidance. When you do your research try to make sure they are a qualified practitioner.
I’d really recommend referring to one of these organisations if you’re unsure which celebrant to choose. Once you have created a shortlist, you either contact them directly or discuss their appointment through the funeral directors internal systems.
If you are looking for Civil Funeral Celebrants, I’d highly recommend the ‘Institute of Civil Funerals’. If you are looking for a Humanist Funeral Celebrant, i’d recommend checking out ‘Humanist UK’.
A great resource for further information would be ‘The fellowship of Professional Celebrants’.
Celebrant Directory Sites
Find a funeral celebrant by location
If you click this link you’ll be taken to our town locations page, click on your closest town and find a celebrant in your local area.
Finding a funeral director by location
We also feature a number of funeral directors too, just click the closest town to you on the following list, scroll down the page to find a comprehensive list of funeral directors in your local area.
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