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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 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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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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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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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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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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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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‘No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.’ – C S Lewis Interview with David Linaker, a former Anglican priest who, having moved outside of the formal faith environment, offers families a powerful partnership in helping them to say their goodbyes in their way, with or without religious content. David is here to talk to us about how to get through the day of the funeral emotionally. He passes on his experience and knowledge as a long-serving Celebrant. So take it away David:  In nearly 53 years of attending or leading funeral services, I’ve experienced and witnessed the spectrum of human emotion. The death of someone close to us is bound to elicit all sorts of emotional…

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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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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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Christmas is a time for reflection and jubilation. It’s a time for family get-togethers and traditions, big dinners and carols by the fire. It is also a time that can be hard for some that have lost loved ones in the lead up to the holiday season. Judy shares with us her personal story of loss and some fantastic tips on how to cope with Christmas when someone you love won’t get to share it with you this year. Over to you Judy.  As I come to the end of another busy year for me, I’ve been reflecting on how this will be the first Christmas for so many families, where there will be an empty seat at the table…

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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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