What does a funeral celebrant do?
A Funeral Celebrant is basically the MC for a funeral ceremony that is being held outside of a church environment. You do not need a legal qualification to be a Funeral Celebrant so, essentially, anyone can conduct a funeral ceremony in a “for hire” chapel, in a Funeral Director’s funeral home or anywhere that you wish to commemorate your loved one’s life.
A Funeral Director will recommend the Celebrants that they are used to working with but you can
engage the services of your preferred professional Funeral Celebrant or Civil Celebrant and the Funeral Director will simply deduct this from your final account and you can pay your Celebrant separately. Some Marriage Celebrants also conduct funeral ceremonies but many don’t so finding the “right fit” for you is worth the effort. A trusted family friend could also take on the Funeral Celebrant role. As there are no legal elements involved in a funeral ritual, you can do and say whatever you would like in your ceremony. Any legalities are to do with the management of the deceased’s body and these are handled by the Funeral Director.
A good Funeral Celebrant will guide the deceased’s loved ones through the process of creating a ceremony that is a true reflection of the deceased’s life. Gone are the days of empty words and ritual and you should never feel that the Celebrant is merely slotting your loved one’s name into a preconceived ceremony that is being regurgitated for the hundredth time.
A Funeral Celebrant will act as a biographer of the deceased’s life. They will spend time with their family and friends getting to know the deceased in order to piece together a ceremony that honor’s that person’s life. The ceremony may involve poetry and readings which could be read by either the Celebrant or various family members and/or friends. There are traditional components that make up a funeral ceremony, for example, the eulogy and the committal and the Celebrant will guide you through these but you do not have to do or say anything that doesn’t ring true for you or the deceased. There are no hard and fast rules.
Most importantly, however, a Funeral Celebrant will be a good listener who is adaptable and able to respond to what’s needed. On the day of the funeral ceremony, they should be able to “strike the right tone” during their facilitation and hold the assembled company with sensitivity, dignity and clarity. In this way, all who witness the ceremony, should leave the ceremonial space feeling satisfied that the deceased was suitably celebrated.
How much does a celebrant cost for a funeral?
Usually a Funeral Director will allow a fee of approximately $300 to their bill to pay for the services of a Celebrant to conduct the funeral service. They will have a list of Celebrants that they routinely recommend, both male and female, that they will show their client. Most Funeral Directors are reluctant to use Celebrants outside of those they know as they like to keep a tight rein on proceedings knowing that their Celebrant will conduct a ceremony in a timely and controlled fashion. In reality though, you have the flexibility to use whoever you want to conduct the Funeral Ceremony of your loved one.