Celebrant Views

What should you expect from a good Funeral Celebrant?

I consider myself a good funeral celebrant, so am basing what you should expect from a good funeral celebrant on what you can expect from me as your celebrant.  Below is the what, who, how guide of choosing a celebrant for your service.

Lets start with the basics, what is a celebrant?


In its most simple term, a  celebrant is a person who celebrates!

The role of a funeral celebrant is to create, write and deliver services of celebration and commemoration.
There are several titles you may come across, with words preceding the word Celebrant; civil, independent, humanist.

A Civil Celebrant is generally not part of any religion or belief system and can perform services with no religious content at all, or with some religious content such as prayers and readings based on the wishes of the family

An Independent Celebrant is really a civil celebrant, but as an independent they may well specialise in a specific type of service that encompasses their belief system.  The joy of using an independent celebrant is that you can chose one that matches your wishes.  Most will be open to including any combination of religious, spiritual, traditional or non traditional elements that fit in with you

A Humanist Celebrant will prescribe to the humanist philosophy and provide a completely non-religious service. and will not make reference to any religious ideas.  Humanist hold strong beliefs in the non-spiritual and works to a set of principals in the same way that each religion has its own practices.


Generally, A good Funeral Celebrant will offer (most) if not all of the following:

  • Start with an open mind and a blank piece of paper
  • Take the time to listen and hear what you have to say
  • Meet with you in person (or by video chat) as suits your needs
  • Be interested to hear your stories of the deceased, look at pictures and find out about what mattered to them, who they were and how their life impacted yours.
  • Take time to gather information from you, let you speak, ask questions and answer any questions you have
  • Dispel any myths and empower you to express your wishes and say the things you need to say in the way you want them said
  • Help you find the right words, readings, music, poetry, rituals that resonate with the deceased and those attending the farewell
  • Draft a ceremony for you, help you write eulogies, read eulogies from your friends and family, and present you with the service to approve.
  • Amend, rewrite and perfect your service until it works for you
  • Check in and liaise with other contributors to the ceremony if that helps take the pressure off you
  • Liaise with the Funeral Director if you are using one, or the natural burial ground, or venue in which the commemoration is taking place
  • Rehearse the script and check the timings to ensure it is delivered clearly, smoothly and within the time allowed
  • Help ensure the smooth running of the service, check in with you, provide hugs (if wanted) and tissues
  • Be at the crematorium, burial ground or location in plenty of time (before you arrive to greet any early arrivals, unless they are travelling with the deceased) to support you.
  • Deliver the service for you
  • Wait alongside the FD (if you are using one) to ensure all your needs have been met until you leave the crematorium or burial ground for the wake
I will aways also
  • set up a WhatsApp group for you and anyone you want involved in creating the ceremony to share information.  I keep my phone on silent, this gives you the freedom to message me whenever a thought pops into your mind, even in the middle of the night, and I will respond as soon as is convenient
  • liaise with any other people you would like me to coordinate with in order to reduce the burden on you
  • provide you with a full copy of the service, help line advice and contact information
  • attend the wake (if requested) to raise a glass and check you are ok before I leave you to your family and friends
  • Check in with you a few weeks/months after the service to ensure your needs and expectations were met
  • make a donation to the national trust to plant a tree in their memory


That must cost a fortune right?  There’s so much work and responsibility involved?!

No!  It’s incredible value for money.  The Celebrant, who hand holds you all the way through, delivers you words and supports you emotionally, charges less than the average cost of funeral flowers or those sandwiches they deliver at your typical wake!
A funeral Celebrant charges somewhere around £200-£400, which for a totally personalised service that will probably take at least 10-12 hours of their time , never mind their expertise, is an absolute bargain.  Their role is integral and their support invaluable


To be fully transparent…

My Fees (at the time of writing) are as follows:-
£250 for a crematorium or burial ground service  – these are usually 20 -40 minute services within a particular time slot.
£295 for a Natural Burial Ground burial, laying of ashes or scattering of ashes.  There is more flexibility on time at one of these and I am likely to be asked to help create a bespoke ritual, deliver a longer service,  or even help create an order of service or an alternative
£350 for a memorial or celebration of life at another location eg: in a hotel, family garden, field, with no time limit at all and with totally flexibility to be truly individual in its content

There will never be any surprise extras, anything potentially extra will be made clear in advance, eg: mileage for additional in person visits, extending a service to offer coordination at a wake, continuing the service at a second location,  double slots at a crematorium


  • Check that your celebrant is trained.  There is no legal requirement for this and no industry regulation
  • Have a look at their reviews, but be mindful, grieving families do not always feel able to give a review and funeral celebrants are less likely to ask and certainly unlikely to chase for one
  • Check that they have insurance.  If something goes wrong (which is rare) you need to know they have cover.  As a member of the AOIC I have insurance and also they have a complaints procedure should i not come up to scratch (which I am pretty confident will never happen)
  • Ask what contingency they have for sickness.  We celebrants are generally sole traders so you need to know they have a network or at least a backup plan.  Personally , I am the regional coordinator for Wales within the AOIC and as a network of 35 independent celebrants, we have each others backs.
  • Ask how much time they give you to ensure your service is truly personal to you.
  • Beware, if they are  charging much less than £200 they may well use an ‘insert name here’ type script
  • Ask for a brief no obligation chat with them before committing to using them.  Just because they have been recommended by (say) the FD, does not guarantee you will connect with them.  Its important that you feel comfortable with your celebrant as they will want to ask lots of questions to ensure you are given the best service possible.
  • Do not be afraid to say no.  Theis is a highly emotive situation.  You need someone you can connect with.  Its not about us its about you.  Personally, if I’m not the right person for you, I will happily help you find someone else who is.


You may be offered recommendations of a celebrant by an FD or burial ground but you are also free to chose your own.  My advice would be to check that they are a member of a trusted trade association such as The Association of Independent Celebrants  (AOIC).  This will provide you with the security of knowing your celebrant is trained and insured, and is able to find a solution should there be any unforeseen problems.

There is no obligation to use the recommended celebrant and you are welcome to source your own.  There are several directories you can use  in addition to the AOIC one mentioned.  Or simply do a good old fashioned Google search.

I hope this has been helpful.  If you would like to book a no obligation chat with me please click here

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