The Role of the Funeral Celebrant

Celebrating a loved one’s life is an important event and you only have one opportunity to do it well. The selection of the right Funeral Director and the Funeral Celebrant are keys to enabling a beautifully organised, smoothly conducted Service.

Over 60% of Funeral Services in Australian have a Celebrant involved. It is a profession that has many participants and the vast majority do an outstanding job of working closely with families. A professional Funeral Celebrant works in accordance with the wishes of the engaging family to achieve your vision.

We have all been to Services where a Celebrant has forgotten family member names or even the deceased’s. This is exactly what you need to avoid!

A great deal of planning and time goes into making a funeral memorable – they don’t just happen. So make sure your choices are the right one’s for your family. Every family has different needs so make sure you articulate to your Funeral Director the type of Celebrant you would like to officiate at the Service as there are many skilled, experienced Funeral Celebrants to choose from.

A professional Funeral Celebrant’s services and fees should cover:

  •  Meeting with family/friends for a few hours to explore the deceased’s life and the family’s wishes in respect to the role they will take at the Service. This meeting should take place at a time and place convenient to you.
    By meeting with you it will mean that they choreograph a ceremony that is respectful, unique and personal.
    If you don’t feel the Celebrant is right for you once you have met with them then discuss this with your Funeral Director. You can always select an alternative. Make sure you feel comfortable with them and that they are showing the appropriate level of support and have a sensitive approach to their communication.
  • Be flexible to either take a staring or secondary role as the MC at the Service.
  • Be available to families both during business and after hours to discuss any element of the Service.
  • Play a key role in making sure that the Order of Service booklet has been carefully planned and that no detail is missed or overlooked. They also need to ensure this information is available to the designer and/or printer in plenty of time.
  • Providing assistance with the selection of poems, music, verses, readings or other special touches.
  • Liaise closely with the Funeral Director to convey any changes a family may make so that the Funeral Director is prepared for the day of the funeral.
  • They should have creative written and verbal skills. Have an adherence to professional dress standards.
  • Be prepared to deliver any eulogies that family members don’t feel they can deliver themselves.
  • Guide you in your choices of music or help you select the perfect poem.
  • Leading the Funeral Service in accordance with your wishes in a stylish and dignified manner.
  • They should be well versed on cultural or Service Organisation needs.
  • Provide the family with a copy of their presentation.
  • Ability to provide comfort to the family so that the family have full confidence that all will go well at the Service.
  • Understanding of the legal and industry protocols together with a full knowledge of all health and safety workplace procedures and policies.

Its also important to know that the Funeral Celebrant shouldn’t:

  • Deal in any legal aspects of the funeral. This is handled by the Funeral Director.
  • Have a role in determining the date/time/location of the funeral.
  • Selecting the appropriate location for the burial/cremation.
  • Have an influence on any decisions that you are not happy with. Do not let their preferences override your desires to provide a fitting farewell for your family member.