Planning the service
Where to Hold the Service?
These days, a service of farewell can be held anywhere: at a crematorium, a cemetery, a woodland burial ground, a community venue or even your own home. The actual burial or cremation does not need to take place on the day of the service of farewell. The only requirement is that your chosen venue is prepared to host the coffin.
With this in mind, your farewell may adopt almost any form. It may be quiet and reflective with music to match, or it may be a more joyous send-off with louder music or with musicians—anything from a harpist or violinist to a New Orleans jazz band if that’s your preference.
The service which we create can take any form, ranging from a secular or humanist ceremony to some deep expression of religious faith. Often, a primarily non-religious funeral can contain something showing openness to religion, such as a personally meaningful reading, prayer or a hymn.
Planning a funeral can be a daunting experience, especially if you’ve never had to arrange one before, and you will be faced with a number of decisions to be made at a time which is already difficult and painful. Although it may not seem so at first, this can actually be quite a positive experience. The funeral is your opportunity to focus on the person who has died, to share memories with family and friends, and to honour or celebrate their life in a special and meaningful way.
As soon as you have chosen me to be your celebrant, I will contact you to arrange an initial meeting. Whether you prefer a home visit, a phone conversation, or a video call, we will talk about your lost family member or friend – not just about their family history and biographical details, but also their personality, achievements and interests. This will enable us to build a picture of the deceased so that we can craft a suitably loving or appropriate eulogy. The meeting will also cover all the other aspects of a funeral service that need to be decided upon.
Prior to this, you may already have thought about readings, poetry and music that you would like to include in the service. Don’t worry if you haven’t, because I offer many helpful resources and a great deal of experience in helping you to choose from what can seem to be a limitless pool. Whether you want a lively or sombre tone, I provide a wide array of options to choose from.
Following the Initial Meeting
At this stage, I will go away and write a unique, personalised service, which will be a fitting tribute to remember and honour the life of your relative or friend.
I am sensitive to the fact that some people, for whatever reason, have not led particularly happy or rewarding lives. Whilst it may not perhaps be appropriate to celebrate in these instances, every person deserves to be honoured and remembered in some way, and part of my job is to ensure that this is accurately reflected in the service.
You can, of course, contact me with extra information after our initial meeting, and you will have the opportunity to review the service before the date of the ceremony.
Throughout this process of preparation, my role is not only to liaise with you but also with the Funeral Director to make certain that all of your intentions are acknowledged and adhered to, and also to ensure that the funeral service we are creating turns out to be a beautiful and fitting tribute to the one that you held dear.
The Day of the Service
On the day of the funeral, I will meet you at the venue. It is my role to ensure that the service flows in the best possible way and runs to time, which is why I will lead the service from the moment that we enter into the chapel until after the ceremony has completed.
Whether you would like me to deliver the entire service or facilitate readings, speeches, and eulogies from family members and friends, I am committed to supporting and encouraging all concerned in playing as active a role as they feel comfortable with.
Following the service, you may also wish to release balloons or employ the services of a professional who specialises in the releasing of doves or butterflies.
If for any reason family or friends are unable to attend the service on the day but would still like to be included, I would be delighted to provide a presentation copy of the funeral service script to be shown or sent to friends and relatives afterwards.