Weddings are Emotional! A wedding is guaranteed to be one of the most emotionally-charged days that you will experience in your whole life.  And this can be even truer when there’s someone very special who is missing from your big day. Our grandparents and parents are our first role models as we grow up: they shape who we are and who we become.  Their support through the defining moments of our lives is fundamental.  So when we lose a close relative – and especially if this happens near to the wedding date itself – it’s important to honour and acknowledge their love, guidance and support. If you’re struggling to feel as excited as you should about your wedding, because there’s…

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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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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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1. Choose a Funeral Director or do it yourself There are so many Funeral Directors out there these days that finding the right one can seem daunting. Try and get some recommendations from friends and family, word of mouth is often the strongest marketing tool. With ready online reviews available, a quick search will also show some local firms who have gone above and beyond for other families. If in doubt, ask a few different companies for a quote, it is likely you will click with one of them from the off. If you would prefer to care for your loved one yourself, this is perfectly legal and manageable if you have the right help and advice. Some really helpful…

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A eulogy is a speech, or piece of writing, in praise of a particular person, or thing. These can be living eulogies – i.e. given in praise of someone at a retirement party, for example. Or, in the case of a funeral, a eulogy may be read as a tribute to the person that has died. This may be written by a family member or a close friend, and is often read out by the person that has penned it. If a family have chosen to work with a Funeral Celebrant they may ask the Celebrant to help with the writing and/or delivery of the eulogy. This is often the case when there is no obvious other person to do…

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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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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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Why are more and more people attending their own funeral? The trend towards ‘Living Funerals’ speaks to our growing willingness to speak openly about death. One celebrant gives her advice and support for those of us looking to move away from tradition, actually attend our own funeral in order to celebrate our own life and achievements where death is no longer a prerequisite! Moving away from tradition Over the last few years both celebrants and funeral directors have seen more people moving away from traditional religious ceremonies towards the unconventional with funerals and memorial ceremonies conducted in woods, on beaches, in gardens and other more unconventional places. Simplicity Funerals Often individuals are choosing a lower cost option such as a…

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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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Everyone tackles grief in different ways so there is no right or wrong answer to this as what feels right for one person will often not feel right for the next. But a common question we often get asked is what to do with a loved one’s social media accounts when they’ve passed on? Do you delete the account and move on like a wardrobe of clothes? Pack them up and say goodbye? Or do you keep the page alive serving as a memory as their life? A couple of our amazing Celebrants came forward with some useful advice… Ellen Bower a member of The Celebrant Directory brings to light that we have a real taboo in our culture about…

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We don’t talk about death so it has become unfamiliar Funeral ceremonies can serve different purposes for those involved. One function of a ceremony is to contain (accept and help to manage) distress and insecurity, and to signal a change. But, who is the funeral for? The departed or those in mourning? Difficulties can be created when this becomes and either/or choice. In fact, funerals are for both the dead and for the living. Compromise can be key. If funerals are for the living as well as for the dead, what happens for the friends and family of the deceased at a funeral? In describing funerals, it is easy to airbrush out or to gloss over some of the difficulties that…

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“I am not sure if I should take my children to the funeral. What do you think?” It’s a question parents often ask me as a funeral celebrant. In this article, I will explain why attending a funeral can be a healthy, healing and positive experience for children. I will also provide some advice and ideas on how to prepare young children for a funeral and how to include them. Should children attend funerals? For many families, taking a child to a funeral is the natural thing to do.  However, according to the British Social Attitudes Survey 2017 26% of British people do not believe children should attend funerals. They believe children should not be exposed to a coffin, that…

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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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Planning a funeral for a loved one can be even more stressful if you don’t know where to start. You are grieving, you are planning your last goodbye and you want it to be perfect.  One experienced funeral celebrant has collated a step by step checklist to help guide you through this difficult time and support you to plan a funeral. How do I start planning a funeral? The daunting prospect of planning a funeral for a loved one at one of the most difficult times in your life breaks down into a simple checklist taking you through everything from selecting someone to officiate the memorial to choosing readings and considering transportation for the mourners. Before you start planning, read…

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Deciding whether or not to take a child to a funeral service is an extremely personal decision. It’s only natural to be concerned that your child will become bored, restless or even disrupt others during the service. We understand there are often reservations about how to get them involved so our top funeral celebrants give you the ideas you need in order to understand the best ways to involve children into the funeral.   Involving children in a celebration of life There are plenty of ways in which a child can be involved during both the funeral preparations and the service itself. Even if you decide against bringing your child on the day, including them in any of these activities can…

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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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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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Times and attitudes to our celebrations are going through mass change around the world.   Throughout this change the Celebrant was founded in Australia thanks to Lionel Murphy, in July 1973 when he appointed the first civil marriage Celebrant. The Celebrancy business has grown in strength since helping people decide on their wishes with their vows be they religious or non-religious, their script, music they want to add, readings, and symbolism. They can also decide their style, Celebrant, venue, day and time. So many options we never had in the past! People now have many more choices from the days when folk were married in a church or the local registry office. The wedding industry has gained vastly from this, especially…

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