Family-conducted funerals are a wonderful opportunity to celebrate a life in whatever manner you wish, with your choice of words and music and format.
The downside to this sort of arrangement is the unfamiliarity of the whole occasion to most attending, and even the person leading the ceremony. The last such funeral service we sang at almost lost its way at one point, due to a lack of structure. Aadly, this added a sense of uncertainty to the proceedings and lack of closure at the final exit.
Much better, in our view, to employ a celebrant to help create a memorable service and to guide friends and family thorough the day itself. Every celebrant we have heard so far has been both informal yet respectful, and some have been highly inspirational too through their choice of readings. Their presence, combined with a defined order of service however simple, makes the whole service so much easier for all, and dare we say it, as relaxing as such occasions can be.
For more details and a list of celebrant organisations, see the Funeral Celebrants website.