When you think about funerals, what is the first image that comes to mind? 

A cold and poorly lit chapel or crematorium, everyone dressed in black or in their smartest attire, singing religious hymns and talking in hushed tones. A faith leader conducts the funeral service. The atmosphere is sombre, bleak and restrained. Everyone files out in an orderly fashion, heads held respectfully low. 

We’ve seen this image of funerals in countless movies, books and TV shows. For as long as I can remember, this is what traditional funerals look like. Most people think that funerals can only be held in a church, chapel or crematorium, with a religious or spiritual leader at the helm. 

It was only when I trained as a funeral celebrant that I discovered that there are so many ways to honour a person’s life; and that humour, colour, music and little personal touches can be integrated into a funeral service. More importantly, I began to see funerals not only as a way to say goodbye but as a way to embrace and celebrate a person’s life. 

Funerals and end of life celebrations are rapidly changing and there are so many more options available. More and more families want to arrange a personalised funeral that celebrates their loves ones’ life in a more meaningful and authentic way. For this reason, funeral celebrants are becoming an increasingly popular choice and they are changing the face of funerals in the UK. Everything from the clothes people wear, the music that is played and the type of venue you can use is evolving.

Funeral celebrants work closely with families to create, plan and deliver a personal ceremony that encapsulates the person who has passed away. Every person deserves a fitting send off that reflects who they were and the life they lived, no matter how long or short their life was. Funeral celebrants usually visit the family in person, finding out more about the person who has died and what they meant to the family left behind. They take the time to get to know each family and offer ideas about how to create special touches to the funeral ceremony, such as music, poetry, a visual tribute, readings or even a sing-a-long. Religious and spiritual elements can be included as part of a celebrant-led funeral ceremony.

Funeral celebrants work with families to plan and arrange the order of service and they host and officiate the service on the day. A good funeral celebrant is diligent, kind, empathetic and always on hand with a box of tissues and a listening ear. They provide comfort and support to loved ones during a time of grief.

Funeral celebrants are not bound by rules and regulations. They can also hold funeral ceremonies anywhere - the choice is yours! For example:

- Village halls

- Barns

- Back garden

- Social club

- Local pub

- Woodland

- Community garden

- At home

From barns, community centres and social clubs to woodlands, back gardens or theatres, there is so much freedom of choice. Funeral celebrants are trained professionals who work with funeral directors and other suppliers to ensure that all aspects of the funeral run smoothly. They offer choice, versatility and that all-important personal touch that helps families to give the perfect send off for the ones’ they love. 

So if you need a funeral celebrant or simply want to find out more about my funeral celebrant services, please get in touch.

Written by Celine Gucher, Independent Celebrant for Weddings, Funerals and Naming Ceremonies.