Families may not realise that they can arrange their own non-religious funeral services at a crematorium, without a celebrant. We have attended two such funerals, and must confess we have mixed feeling about their merits.
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.
In our view, it definitely works best when one person (not necessarily a family member) acts as the master of ceremonies, so to speak, so everyone know what's happening and when. This also allows the family to each contribute their own part, and for friends to be involved more too.
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. Sadly, 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.
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