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Questions to ask your Funeral Celebrant
When the time comes that you need to engage a Funeral Celebrant, you may not be in the mindset to think of all the questions you'd like to ask... in this blog Celebrant Melanie Lawson has tried to make that as easy as possible for you...
Funeral celebrants are skilled in working with people experiencing grief and loss, and in assisting families to make decisions and plan ceremonies during times of stress and bereavement. Celebrants who work in this area understand that bereaved family and friends may have difficulty concentrating, retaining information and making decisions. They can help by guiding people through the process of planning a funeral or memorial service.
Funeral celebrants may be attached to a funeral business or working independently. Families can choose a funeral celebrant they feel most comfortable with and people should feel confident in expressing their preferences when selecting a celebrant.
So what are some questions that you could ask your funeral celebrant to make sure you can get the service you need?
Contact details. It’s good to check if your celebrant is available by phone, in person or by email. Often, it is not possible for all family and friends who want to contribute to a ceremony to be available at the same time.
Is your celebrant able to contact people separately? Can they facilitate written contributions if people are unable to be directly involved in the planning conversations?
What services does your funeral celebrant offer? All funeral celebrants will be able to support you and your family to plan and deliver a meaningful ceremony for the person who has died. Some celebrants offer links to other services such as counselling, a ‘death doula’ or life story workshops. Celebrants may offer a chapel or graveside service, or additional ceremonies and rituals such as scattering of ashes or anniversary memorials.
What resources does the celebrant have to offer? Can they provide you with sample readings or songs? Do they have access to technology such as sound or audio-visual equipment? Can they provide formats or structures to help you plan your ceremony? Do they design individualised ceremonies or offer a choice of templates?
Values and beliefs. Does your celebrant align with the values and beliefs that are important to you? Can they support your preferences for religious or spiritual aspects of the ceremony? Are they able to offer alternative forms of ceremony? Or is sustainability an important issue to you?
Availability. Is your celebrant available for the time and place that you want for the ceremony? Can they travel? Does the celebrant have any flexibility if plans need to change?
The Celebrants Network has funeral celebrants available across Australia – check the directory to see who is in your area. https://www.celebrants.org.au/find/celebrant-directory
Great article - thanks. I am a new member to the association. I am a full time funeral celebrant who works for many funeral homes in the SE suburbs and Bayside area of Melbourne. I have done over 1500 funerals so far and am always more than happy to offer advice and guidance to less experienced celebrants in the areas of funerals. Looking forward to making new connections in 2022.
Thank you Rachael. I appreciate your offering. I an studying Celebrancy and embrace learning and refining this sacred service. I have a question that has arisen for me today in regards to a family member wanting to read a poem that is quite unpleasant about the deceased. He feels the need to share his unresolved angry, and hasn’t moved past blame. How does one honour the ceremony sharing that is to celebrate, and allow for healing and grief to be expressed - And manage disgruntled family members who may want to voice disrespect, and feels strongly that this respects themselves. That is not given the opportunity to say their piece, they may disrupt the peace!
Thanks for advising how to manage these situations.
Thanks for your question Latimah - one I'm sure every funeral celebrant grapples with! As you might notice, this blog was originally posted in January at which time Rachael made her generous offer. Other options for support include posting a question on The Celebrants Network Member's Forum or searching the archives for articles about funeral celebrancy.
Thanks for you kind offer Rachael! If you are interested in sharing your experience by writing another funeral-related blog that would also be greatly appreciated...just get in touch with the committee by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org