'I think that you just put people at ease from the first conversation by being yourself and not pretending to be someone else… building trust from the start that it’s ok to tell the dodgy story and swear and tell someone’s real life story. And I think that’s really important when saying goodbye to someone that you love. You always do us proud and it’s such a shitty time, that just knowing you’re there to take the pressure off makes a massive difference.'
Is a celebrant-led funeral right for us?
If your loved one didn't have religious beliefs, then a celebrant-led funeral might be the right choice for a celebration of their life and values.
Each ceremony is unique, as it doesn’t need to follow a set structure, but many families choose for the service to follow quite a traditional format. I've included an example of an order of service on this page (in the yellow box).
How long is a celebrant-led funeral?
A funeral service like this can vary in length, but if you are holding it in a crematorium, it would normally be between 20 and 40 minutes long depending on the number of readings and songs you’d like to include. (You can let your Funeral Director know if you wanted to have a ceremony that is longer than 20-30 minutes – they can book a double slot at teh crematorium for you, subject to availability.)
Where does a celebrant-led funeral take place?
Celebrant-led funerals can take place in a variety of locations. Traditionally this may be in crematoria, cemeteries and woodland burial sites. Celebration of life ceremonies are becoming more popular, which can be held anywhere, including pub function rooms, village halls, independent cinemas, gardens or any other place where people can gather and celebrate a person’s life.
What do people wear to a celebrant-led funeral?
There are no set rules for what to wear at a funeral: some prefer to keep it traditional; some families ask guests to dress in bright colours, to reflect the life and personality of the person who has died.
'Thank you for the lovely service you did for Dad – I could hear him laughing in the coffin.' Paula, 2020
example of order of service:
Words of welcome;
Thoughts on life and death from a non-religious perspective;
The tribute – an outline of the life and personality of the person who has died;
Personal eulogy from family and/or friends;
Reflection – a few moments for private thoughts about your loved one, often accompanied by music (religious guests may take this opportunity for silent prayer here);
Closing words – including thanks on your behalf;
Funerals led by celebrants can be a very meaningful, personal way to say goodbye to a loved one in a non-religious way that honours their life.
I became a celebrant through a love of meeting people and getting to know you by hearing the stories of you and your loved ones. It’s a privilege for me to work with people on such important occasions. My job is to get to know you enough to make sure the wording, content and tone of the ceremony are just right.
I am based in Liverpool but conduct funerals across Merseyside. If you want to ask about me to lead a ceremony… or if you just want to ask a few questions, please feel free to contact me.
'Thank you for conducting Lauren’s memorial and burial. You were such a source of support to us all we will never forget it.'
Dave & Helen, 2020
We don't want a prayer, what could we include instead?
There are a large number of poignant, secular readings that can bring meaning to the ceremony – including ideas from The Funeral Guide, Dignity Funerals, examples from literature…or even a couple of geeky readings.
Non-religious funerals are inclusive and there is always the opportunity for anyone with religious beliefs to say a silent prayer for themselves during the pause for reflection.
Can we include some more creative ideas?
Of course! I’ll fully support you on including special touches to the ceremony, always mindful to keep to any time limits you have at the crematorium or other venue. You might want to have some live music or singing, ask family or friends to read poems, excerpts from a favourite book or song lyrics, show a video montage of your loved one, or collect donations for a favourite charity or cause.
what are your fees?
The cost of a celebrant-led funeral ceremony on Merseyside is £205, which includes the following:
An extensive family planning meeting where we can chat about your loved one, their life, their values, and what they have passed on to you. (These are currently all held online, over the phone or socially-distanced in an outdoor space.)
Sharing of secular readings and poems that you might consider to be read out during the ceremony.
All my travel costs across Merseyside.
A completely personal ceremony warmly-delivered on the day.
A pdf version of the ceremony script as a keepsake for you to print or share.
If you would like me to work with you to create a longer ceremony (say, over an hour) or within the Northwest but outside Merseyside, my fees would be between £250 and £300. I will, of course, give you a no-commitment quote upfront so there are no hidden fees.
‘I was really pleased with the celebration of my dad’s life. So much better than a “funeral”. Thanks for taking the time to listen to my ideas.’ Judith, 2020