Why chose a Civil Celebrant to take a Funeral Service for your loved one?
To take the control back of how you celebrate the life and make your farewell personal to the life of your loved one.
Each one of us is as unique as our fingerprints so no standard funeral service is not always suitable for everyone or at least, will not have personal meaning to you or your family and friends
As a Civil Celebrant, I will create a ceremony with you that is a true reflection of the life and character of the one you have lost. The family should be at the heart of the ceremony led by a Civil Celebrant. My hope is that you walk away from the ceremony yes with the sadness of a life lost but also with a sense of having made the farewell as relevant as you possibly could. I hope you will be able to look back in weeks, months ahead and be able to say you gave them a wonderful send off surrounded by those who loved and care for them and in a manner that reminded everyone of who they were in life, not just where some believe they go in death.
A bespoke ceremony will allow you to choose the style and content to suit everyone. You get to choose your favourite music, poetry, readings, personal tributes and you can be as hands on or hands off as you feel is right and acceptable to you.
Every family member will have their own special memories and stories to tell and it is my job to ensure that everyone is considered and included. This is your day as much as it is about the love one lost. You will want to recall their farewell not just with sadness but with a lasting memory of a day filled with loving tributes and respect for a life well lived.
After the ceremony I will provide your family with a copy of the ceremony as lasting reminder of the day you said your goodbyes.
Questions often asked
Do we have to have hymns? – No. you can have anything at all that you want. You don’t even have to have songs that you sing along to. You can just play a piece of music that means something special to those that choose it or, meant something to your loved one. The music can be pop music, classical, rock, country….anything at all!
Can someone else from the family speak? – Yes. Although prior to a ceremony, you might think you can, on the day it you can often be overcome with emotion and will find it difficult to speak. What I would suggest is that prepare to speak but let me have a copy of what is going to read out and if, and only if, you find it too difficult you can ask me to step in and finish reading what you wish to say. I would not do this unless asked no matter how emotional you find it. I will support you I any way I can.
Can anyone take the service? – Yes. Again as above, this might seem okay before but on the day just too difficult. In this situation, I can prepare the ceremony for you if you needed help, and be on hand to take over, should you need me too. On the day, there is often so much emotion and no matter how strong we feel, when we are confronted with our family and friends upset and crying, we can often lose control at that point.
Do we have to say a prayer? – No. Again this is entirely up to you. There are no legal requirements in a funeral ceremony in regards to how the ceremony is taken. The choice is again down to you. I am happy to include prayers if that is what you want or we can just take a few moments through the ceremony to allow those that do want to say a prayer to do so for themselves quietly. More often than not, most people just want a poem or some kind of reading to replace formalized prayers.
Do we have to wear black? – No. again this is down to the family’s request. More and more today, the deceased or their family have requested no one to wear black to the funeral. However, to the older generation, this may seem disrespectful and would most likely still wish to wear black. You may just wear a black armband over something brighter. Again this is something that the family will request. I myself would normally wear something somber rather than loud unless again, I am requested to wear something specific
What if the deceased had asked for something in particular to be done at the ceremony, do we HAVE to do it? – There is no yes or no answer to this. Simply this is something you have to come to terms with yourself. If you have been asked to do something which after the loved one has passed you feel uncomfortable with then it is up to you. It is your day as well as for them so you need to decide whether what has been asked of you is right for you and then, should you do it anyway as it was their last request. We are creating a ceremony unique to this person but it is a collaboration of them and you.
Should we have a religious reading? – No. This is your choice again. There are so many wonderful poems that you can find on the internet or various books that are available. However, should you wish a psalm or a reading from the Bible, I have no problems with that. In this situation again, if you wish someone else to read out something, this is absolutely fine; I would just need to know to 1. Include in the presentation for the family and 2. Just in case the reader has difficulty and needs my help.
Do we have to have the ceremony in the crematorium or at the burial ground? – No – you can have a ceremony anywhere but the interment of the body must be at the crematorium or burial site. You can choose to have a quit burial or cremation and then meet somewhere else to take the service. The only downside to this is that for many people, unless they see the casket lowered into a burial space or closed behind the curtains, it does not close the chapter. However, this again is entirely up to you and your family.
Do we have to have flowers? – No – if you as a family or the deceased wished it so, you can request that the mourners do not send flowers. You can ask them to donate money to a charity relevant to your loved one if you so wish. You can ask them to plant something on behalf of the loved one in an agreed place. Again as this is your day, you can say what happens throughout the ceremony. I have seen in some instances that the family have asked for flower from the immediate family only and then if any of the mourners wanted to, they could just donate what they would have spent to a local charity. Occasionally, it will just be flowers from the partner or parents only on display.
Can we place personal items on the casket while the ceremony is taking place? – Yes – you can arrange with myself or the undertakers to have something of meaning to you all placed on the casket or at the front anywhere. The undertakers will remove the item after the chapel is empted to put it outside with the floral tributes.
Can we clap or stand up at any point as a show of respect? – Yes – again if this is something that has meaning to you then it can be built into the ceremony.
Can we show a slideshow of pictures of the loved one? – This depends on the facilities of the crematorium or venue you have selected for your ceremony. Yes you can but it is all dependant on the venue. If it something you want to build in, you will need to check with the chapel to ensure they have the facilities. This can be a very emotional but also a reminder of the life lived rather than just looking at a casket in front of you.
What about releasing Doves or Balloons after the ceremony? – Yes this can be arranged; I can make arrangements for this if needed or you can make arrangements your self. Again just a few things to be aware of if considering this extra to your ceremony.
Are there any people frightened of birds?
Are you going to use homing birds or birds caught from the wild and just let go?
With the balloons, are you releasing them near any nature reserve or electric pylons?
Just a few things to think about but again, very nice ceremonies which serve as a focal point for people to remember.
What I am trying to show here is that whatever you want to happen at a ceremony is your choice. We have choices in how we leave this world just the same as how we live our life so if you have any specific requests, just ask me and if I don’t know, I will find out. As far as I am concerned this ceremony is for the living as well as the deceased and should be something you will remember with fondness not just sadness.