With the increasing popularity of finding new ways we can care for our earth, environmentally friendly burials and funerals help preserve our planet when our loved ones pass on. These days we do everything in our power to recycle our plastics, eat locally sourced foods, cut down our carbon footprints whether that be with eco-friendly cars or getting out in the fresh air commuting by foot or bike. So why should that all come to an end when we make our final print on the planet? Essentially, a Green Funeral is all about having as little impact on the earth as possible. So how does that affect a burial? Here are a few ways you can make changes to the…

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An interview with the wonderful Celebrant, Vanessa Buckley as she talks us through her journey and explores how funerals have changed over time… Over to you, Vanessa! Up until a few years ago mortality was my phobia – why? Because as a young child I was frightened by a funeral I attended; a man in a big tall hat and a stern face, lots of tears, curtains closing and then wailing noises.  In later life I attended many funerals where the deceased wasn’t really referred to and if they were I could never relate to the description, as to me they certainly weren’t the person spoken about. Why? I often questioned why we still followed this ancient protocol and wondered…

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Here is a step-by-step guide to what happens at a Celebrant-led funeral. This is a typical funeral at a crematorium. There will be differences between venues and between burials and cremations but the underlying structures and patterns will be similar. This describes the most common version of the nuts and bolts of the event itself and is based on a cremation. Burials differ in that the committal and closing words happen at the graveside; the funeral party usually moves there after the tribute. In the lead-up to the funeral The Celebrant will have been engaged by the Funeral Director and met with the client (usually family but also possibly friends or a solicitor). The service will have been drafted and approved by…

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Mourn For Me, But Also Celebrate Up until the Nineties, relatives of a deceased person had to try to persuade a local church minister to lead the funeral service… because, well, the church’s way was The Way. But if family members weren’t serious churchgoers (such villainy!) the funeral ceremony was often bland and universal with, in fact, everything of value never quite being touched upon. Then something snapped. People who felt short-changed by previous churchy eulogies were quizzing funeral directors about alternatives. And those who had grown up amid the enlightened 1960s – now tasked with sorting out funerals for mums and dads – wanted something in keeping with their own happy momentum. It was from these demands that the…

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WHAT IS A ‘CELEBRATION OF LIFE CEREMONY’? What does the phrase ‘Celebration of Life Ceremony’ mean exactly? Simply put, it’s a type of funeral ceremony which pays tribute to a loved one, acknowledges their death, but most importantly does what it says on the tin – it celebrates their life, their accomplishments, their achievements, their wins. What types of funeral are there? There are mainly three types of funeral services, which are usually officiated by a religious minister, a humanist, or a celebrant. A traditional funeral service is normally held in a church or religious building and is officiated by a religious minister.   Some religious ceremonies apply the rules of their religion to the letter, whereas some may be a…

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In this , we talk to the absolutely fantastic, Bristol-based, florist Fiona Lafon of Emerald and Jade. Fiona has been producing beautiful floral displays for all ceremonies from weddings to celebrations of life. She discusses the options when choosing your flowers for funerals. Over to you Fiona! As a florist, I mostly encounter two types of people: those who love flowers, and those who don’t get flowers. Those who love flowers, don’t need to be convinced to include flowers in their home, their wedding, their funeral. They love flowers for their appearance, their scent, their colours. On the other hand, those who don’t get flowers see them as a waste of money as they’ll die in any event so what’s…

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Dying Matters With Dying Matters awareness week in May 2019 posing the question, “Are we ready?” one Celebrant takes a look at why it is so important to think ahead and plan for the inevitable, your funeral. So many funeral celebrants have heard the following comments when having the first conversation with someone who is recently bereaved, ‘We never talked about funerals…’ ‘Burial or cremation? I don’t really know what she’d like’ ‘Religion? He never said whether he believed in anything’ ‘She liked lots of different music, but I have no idea what she would’ve liked at her celebration of life ceremony’  Does this sound like you? Perhaps it is time to open up the conversation about death, dying, funerals and…

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The simple answer here is that a funeral should reflect the family’s wishes, and people are increasingly looking for a service that fully represents the loved one they have lost. So, given that people have multi-faceted personalities, why not look to explore as many of these as we can when we decide ‘how’ we should say ‘goodbye’. Many families are opting for Celebrant-led funeral services as they want much more control over the content, but what’s appropriate and what’s not? If a key marker of that individual’s personality was their sense of humour, then it stands to reason that to fully honour them, the service might at least be light-hearted in tone. In fact, the steer that I am often…

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One experienced ceremony officiant looks at the rise of the Celebrant and how they offer an increasingly popular alternative to the traditional ceremonies of our past. Why have Celebrants become so popular? Over five years ago very few people had really heard of Celebrants and those that had were not really sure of what they did. Yet in the last 3-5 years, it seems that more and more people are choosing to use a Celebrant for one of life’s milestone ceremonies, such as Weddings, Baby Naming’s and Vow Renewals or Funerals and Memorial Ceremonies   What does a Celebrant do? A Celebrant creates and officiates a unique and bespoke ceremony to mark life’s milestones. These Ceremonies can also be themed…

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Funerals tend to be services that are deeply rooted in tradition and heritage. Whilst following traditions can provide great comfort during times of grief, many families also like to recognise and pay tribute to the unique and special factors that made up an individual. Incorporating some creative funeral ideas into the service can be a lovely way to personalise the service and make it a more special and meaningful way to honour and remember your loved one.   Here are some creative ideas of how to make a loved one’s funeral special. Add some colour It is becoming more and more common for families to forgo the traditional black mourning colours and instead invite the guests to attend wearing the…

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So what exactly does a Funeral Celebrant do? One Independent Celebrant gives a brief overview of what a Funeral Celebrant does and why they are such a valuable asset for families when facing what is undoubtedly the most difficult challenge anyone has to undertake; arrange a funeral. How do Families and Funeral Celebrants Connect? A lot of Celebrants will be introduced to families by the Funeral Director.  What is not so well known however, is families do not have to take the person recommended to them by the Funeral Director, they can choose whoever they feel will be most sympathetic to their wishes.  At the end of the day; when a couple are planning their wedding, they will decide who…

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In the same way that wedding couples are increasingly looking to find more personal ways of tying the knot, families in the UK are also beginning to seek out alternative options for funerals. Handy resources such as ‘The Good Funeral Guide’ are helping people to better understand the choices they have available to them. Equipped with fresh knowledge, and a feeling of empowerment, people are beginning to realise that they can have the funeral they want, and in-fact, that they themselves can take on the role of ‘funeral director’. There is no law that requires us in the UK to use an undertaker, nor is there any legal obligation to hold a funeral. We have become accustomed, over many generations,…

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I Worry About My Emotions When Officiating Funerals – Won’t Showing Tears Be Seen As Unprofessional? In this article, Ellen shares her thoughts and perspectives about a very sensitive topic, in a thoughtfully written piece about how Celebrants manage emotions during a funeral service all while supporting those who are bereaved. Please note all images and names have been replaced as Ellen talks about her true experiences. Over to you, Ellen. ___________________ It was every parent’s greatest fear. The grief that filled the air on this particular day at the Crematorium felt a great and powerful weight on everyone’s hearts. Baby Arthur spent nine very active months in his mother’s womb fiercely reminding her of his presence. She often claimed…

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The importance of selecting the right Funeral Celebrant for your loved one’s celebration of life cannot be underestimated. This is the one occasion when their life story is to be told, their memories honoured and their body put to rest. So, how do you go about finding the right Celebrant? When you approach your Funeral Directors with notification of their death, they will take on board your choice of service, and can assign you a Celebrant from their list of preferred Celebrants. However, the choice is entirely yours and it is your right to select your own Celebrant for your loved ones funeral service should you wish. You can do this by using the Celebrant Directory. This choice may come…

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Music can be so important in life and is always something to consider when organising a funeral. Music can uplift the soul even at the hardest of times. It also allows us to pause for reflection; some people prefer to choose a song to honour their loved one rather than write a personal tribute, the melody can add more meaning than simply words alone. Some people leave their family with strict instructions on what to play during their funeral ceremony. This is always wonderful as these songs often hold special memories for family and friends and are sometimes tongue in cheek or what would have been seen in years gone by as ‘inappropriate’ for a funeral, causing eruptions of laughter…

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Did you know you can have your loved one at home for their funeral service? There are natural and arguably more personal alternatives to a funeral home. Sarah Weller started Natural Home Funerals to educate, advocate and officiate home funerals. She’s here to discuss the concept of home funerals and give you insight into why it is a good option to consider for your loved one. Over to you Sarah! My grandmother used to lay out those who had died in her village, so perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that this is my work now. As well as being an alternative home funeral director, I am a Soul Midwife end of life companion, celebrant, sound therapist and shamanic practitioner. Culturally…

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