Funeral Celebrant Role and Selection Tips

Published August 13, 2020
grieving family at a funeral

A funeral celebrant plays a major role in a funeral service. You can use some helpful tips to select the right funeral celebrant and ensure your loved one's sendoff is personal and celebratory.

What Is a Funeral Celebrant?

A funeral celebrant oversees and delivers the funeral ceremony or service. A funeral celebrant replaces the traditional religious officiant or funeral home director.

Desire for a Personalized Funeral

The deceased's family may choose a funeral celebrant when they wish for a non-religious funeral service, a modified religious funeral service, or a more personalized funeral service. Some families desire a celebration of life ceremony in lieu of a traditional formal funeral service.

Role of a Funeral Celebrant

The funeral celebrant is a trained professional and will plan, script, create, and perform the funeral service. The funeral celebrant meets with the family to understand how they wish the funeral ceremony to be conducted and to learn about the deceased. A funeral celebrant gives consideration to all the nuances in order to produce the kind of funeral the family desires.

Works With Funeral Director

The funeral celebrant works with the funeral director to ensure the funeral service runs smoothly. They will go over the service with the funeral director and request anything needed of the funeral home in order to perform the service.

funeral celebrant with client

Provides Funeral Service That Family Desires

The funeral celebrant will sit down with the family to discuss their ideas for the service. The tone of the eulogy will be reviewed with family members providing stories about the deceased, memories, and other insights about the deceased's life. The funeral celebrant will offer advice and recommendations about the funeral service format to help the family make decisions.

Type of Funeral Family Can Expect

The deceased's family can expect the funeral service directed by a funeral celebrant to be exactly as they wish. They may decide to include photos, videos, music performances, poetry readings, and any kind of elements, such as ceremonial symbols, candles, incense, crystals, and/or traditional religious funeral rites.

Incorporating Family Traditions Into Funeral Service

The funeral celebrant is dedicated to performing the type of funeral the deceased family desires. Families may instruct the funeral celebrant of any specific family traditions they wish to be included in the service.

Finalizing Funeral Service

Before the funeral, the funeral celebrant will meet with the family to review the planned service. This will include sharing the eulogy the funeral celebrant plans to deliver and making any changes needed. This is the final step in the funeral planning, and the family can make changes or add other aspects to the service.

What Makes a Good Funeral Celebrant?

A good funeral celebrant is an excellent listener who knows how to engage with other people. They have a deep respect for the family and the deceased. Their duty is to take the family's wishes and fulfill them with a beautiful customized funeral service. The funeral celebrant must be an excellent communicator with good writing skills. The funeral celebrant needs outstanding planning and organizational skills.

Funeral Celebrant Training

The funeral celebrant profession isn't governed by any regulations or licensing requirements. Some funeral directors become certified funeral celebrants in an effort to better meet their clients' needs. Some certification programs are offered by various organizations, such as the National Funeral Directors Associations (NFDA). This training is offered to NFDA members, non-member funeral directors, and non-funeral directors. Other organizations offer training, such as the Celebrant Foundation & Institute.

woman taking online class

Cost of Hiring a Funeral Celebrant

The cost of hiring a funeral celebrant can differ from one funeral celebrant to another. If the celebrant is associated with the funeral home, the cost may be the same amount paid to clergy officiates. If the funeral celebrant is an independent provider, then you may pay a flat fee or an hourly rate, depending on the person's fee structure. You want to understand fully the total cost before employing a funeral celebrant.

Finding a Local Funeral Celebrant

If the funeral home doesn't offer the services of a funeral celebrant, you may request a few recommendations so you can interview potential candidates. You may also visit the Celebrant Foundation & Institute for a listing of funeral celebrants in your state.

Understanding a Funeral Celebrant's Role

When you understand the funeral celebrant's role, you can begin creating a celebration of life or other non-traditional funeral. A funeral celebrant can personalize a funeral to ensure it honors your loved one's life and achievements.

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Funeral Celebrant Role and Selection Tips