How to Have a Very Personal Service. Preparations for a Funeral Ceremony

As an experienced funeral celebrant, I regularly work with families at this very sad time in their lives to create a funeral ceremony that will give their loved one the very best ‘send off! ‘

As an independent civil celebrant I am able to support all families: families who want to include religious elements in their ceremony, families who do not want any religious content at all and the families who are not yet clear what they want.

So, what is the process you go through when preparing for a funeral ceremony?

Meeting

As soon as you contact me through the website, or a Funeral Director has contacted me with your details, I ring and offer to visit you at home and book in a meeting at a time that is convenient for you and the other members of your family.

I always give as much time as is needed, at least an hour, maybe more, as every family reacts differently. Together, we start to create a personal and unique funeral ceremony for your loved one. Also, if some family members can’t get to the meeting then I’ll contact them by phone or email so that they too can share their memories.

The Order of Ceremony

On arrival, I will get to know you, make you feel comfortable and , over a cuppa, we will have a chat and start to talk about your loved one. We will discover their life story, talk about their character and what made them laugh, their hobbies, memorable family events, favourite holidays: gradually I will build up a picture of your loved one and the milestones of their life.

Sometimes, a family member may be so grief-stricken that they find it difficult to talk and discuss any details. This lessens as the meeting advances and they feel more able to talk with me as they get to know me. Sometimes , I find it easier to ask what you don’t want in a ceremony rather than what you do want, in order to make you feel more at ease: whilst being sensitive to your feelings and giving you time to share your thoughts and memories.

When I visit, I bring along a collection of poems, readings and prayers as well as a list of hymns to share with you. You can choose one or two poems or readings, or you may have already chosen your own in advance. We also discuss music and songs and when this is finalised I share this information with your Funeral Director.

The Eulogy

You may ask me to write and speak the Eulogy in the ceremony or you may decide to write and speak it yourself or, alternatively, ask me to do that on your behalf. Often, families choose to write and read their own Tributes as well . You can choose to do that. It always amazes me to see the love and the thoughtfulness of young relatives who stand in the Chapel and read their amazing poems in memory of their grandparents or even great grandparents!

I then confirm the Order of Ceremony and write the Eulogy and share these both with you in the days that follow. In return, when reading the Eulogy you may sometimes change a name or date or add extra details, such as a funny story that often reflects your loved one’s character and approach to life.

This is what makes the Eulogy such an important part of the Ceremony and family and friends often say afterwards –

It was like you knew him!’

The Script for the Ceremony

The rest of the script is then written for the ceremony around your chosen elements. You may prefer a hymn because this reflects your loved one’s choice or want to include ‘The Lord’s Prayer’. You may prefer to listen to your loved one’s favourite songs.

I will then share the full script with you. At this point families often feel relieved that this part of the preparations has been completed. As one family recently said:

That is absolutely beautiful. We are very happy with it and wish you to go ahead with this as the final script.’

it is my privilege as a celebrant to create a ceremony that reflects the true personality of your loved one in a respectful and meaningful way; supporting you in the process of writing the script in preparation for when you finally attend and participate in their funeral ceremony.

Photography Acknowledgement to ‘Unsplash’

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