Planning a funeral for a loved one is never easy. This blog will help to guide you through the first few weeks. 

This is a challenging time and at points, you may feel overwhelmed. Don’t worry. With a celebrant at one side of you and your chosen Funeral Director at your other, together we are here to support you. Between us, we’ve got you, and will help you every step of the way.

Many years ago I used to work on the trade show of the National Association of Funeral Directors and it was there I learnt about the huge array of options that are now available to families when they are planning a funeral, and I do understand how this exceptional time can be confusing and difficult to navigate.

Not only are you grieving, but you are also required to make decisions about how to say farewell to your loved one and sometimes those decisions feel like too much, too soon and all at the same time.

The role of your chosen Funeral Director is to look after your loved one. You will likely meet with the Funeral Arranger before you meet with me, and at that meeting you will agree the basic arrangements for the funeral such as date, time, location, casket. Once those basics are in place, my role is to look after you; the family. And of course the ceremony and the mourners on the day of the funeral. But the Funeral Director and I form a strong support partnership, and we will always look to alleviate some of the overwhelm you may be feeling and ensure you give your loved one the very best and befitting farewell. 

The Ceremony

When it comes to planning the funeral ceremony, it is my job to create something that is totally befitting for your loved one. You don’t have to have any answers to anything at this point; but if you have some ideas about what you would like, great! Some people just don’t know where to start, and if this is you, please don’t worry.

Once we have had an introductory phone call we will agree a date for a more meaningful discussion about your loved one and how you would like the ceremony to be. 

Creating the Ceremony

The first section of questions I ask are biographical – factual, historical, helping to build a timeline and order of events throughout their life. From this we might find that there will be an obvious theme to their life – like travel, or family, or music for example – it becomes the thread that I can weave through the ceremony script. It is important for me to get a sense of the character, their sense of humour, their passions and interests.

The second part is information that will feed into creating the ceremony; setting the right tone and creating a service that does them justice and supports you and the family in the grieving process whilst saying goodbye in the way that you feel is right. What do you think they would have wanted? What’s important to you? 

Not all of the information gathered when we meet will be used but it’s useful for me to understand the life that has been lost, and I often find that this process of talking about them is cathartic for the family. I want to create the best possible script for the ceremony – with the right feel, the right tone, and of course, the right content!

Using the information gathered, I will develop a bespoke and befitting eulogy for your loved one, help you with regards to choosing readings and music, helping family members with their personal tributes and maybe some other creative ideas for making the ceremony even more memorable.

There is no right or wrong to this. It is not a legally binding ceremony, so it gives us the freedom to create something really lovely. What is important is that in our meeting, I get a good sense of who your loved one really was and what sort of ceremony you would like to create.

You will approve all of my work as the ceremony script develops so you always have the final say. All the time I am liaising with my other member of the team – The Funeral Director. Between us we will make sure everything is as seamless and easy for you as possible in the time leading to the funeral, and of course on the day itself.

Religion or No Religion?

As an independent celebrant I can do both non-religious and religious ceremonies. All independent celebrants, sit somewhere along a spectrum and have their limits as to how much religion they are prepared to have in their ceremonies.

If you imagine that at one end of the spectrum you have a faith leader and at the other end a Humanist celebrant who will not have any religious content or context in their ceremonies, I guess I am somewhere in the middle!

I will quite happily include some faith elements into a ceremony; if you would like the Lord’s Prayer in the service script somewhere, or maybe a hymn, that is fine.

However these days, unless there is a strong faith in the family, most funerals focus more on the celebration of the life rather than on the traditional religious aspects. So I have always found it easy and comfortable to meet the needs of the family.

A Made For You Ceremony

What would best reflect the life of your loved one? Do you want to truly celebrate the life lost? Do you mind some funny stories and quirky music in your ceremony? Or maybe you would prefer to keep it traditional? 

Anything is possible and it is up to us together to create something wonderful, full of memories and meaningful content. 

I will guide you on all aspects of the service and write something that truly reflects how you want the ceremony to ‘feel’. 

I am always available for you to contact right up to the funeral itself. So rest assured, you will have all the support you need at this challenging time.

And Finally………

Here are just a few of the comments I have received from clients following funerals I have created and delivered for their loved ones.

Just wanted to say a huge thank you for all your help yesterday. I think, despite all the trauma on the way, he had a good send off and we can never thank you enough for the part you played in making that happen.

I want to thank you for delivering a wonderful service today.
I was truly overwhelmed by the amount of people who came to say goodbye to him.
It was an emotional day and now I can rest that he is at peace. 
Many thanks

Linda made our Mum’s funeral a special day, a celebration of her life full of memories and reflection. Linda guided us through how the funeral would be and the layout of the crematorium, a new one to our family. The whole day went like clockwork, due I believe to Linda’s planning and attention to detail. Thank You.

Thank you for the lovely service you arranged and presented. I have received many comments about how good the service was.

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