My role at a funeral service is one of Master of Ceremonies, ensuring that the order of service is followed, and people are introduced properly, guiding the ceremony, speakers and mourners through the process.
The funeral home that you have engaged will organise all the other elements of the occasion. I will work closely with the funeral home to coordinate the program efficiently and with respect. While it is usual for me to be engaged through the funeral home, you can contact me direct, and let the funeral home know.
We will need to plan the order of service together. It is important that I get to hear about your loved one. What were they like? What are your fondest memories? What are your hopes for the service? We will also need to discuss who will be speaking, and their relationship with the deceased so that I can introduce them when its their turn to speak.
A funeral is a time to grieve the loss of a loved one, and to smile in memory of the love that you shared.
Guidance for developing a funeral service
A standard Order of Service will include some of the following, however a funeral is a deeply personal occasion celebrating your loved one's life and recognising the grief being felt by family and friends. So you may want to do things quite differently.
Arrival of guests - will there be music playing? Is there music that was a particular favourite of the deceased? Will there be a photo montage playing while people settle in?
House keeping announcements
Introduction - The story of the deceased, acknowledgement of family members and the connections to community and friends.
Eulogy - usually presented by a family member on behalf of the family. A description of the loved one's life, character, and achievements, anecdotes and stories, and a chance to express your love and sorrow.
Other speakers - these might be friends or colleagues who knew the deceased outside of the family context. You might like also to allow time for others to come forward to speak in an impromptu way.
Group songs - for all to join in on.
Readings of verse
Photo montage - this can play as a separate item in the Order of Service, or while people are settling in at the beginning, or during the conclusion.
Final farewells - you might like to include an opportunity for friends and family members to place flowers or notes on the coffin, and then take a few quiet moments to think their personal farewell.
At this stage the deceased's coffin usually "exits" behind a screen. Once again, is there music that your loved one particularly liked, to play while people gather their thoughts?
A loved one who leaves us is never lost - held for eternity in our memories and our hearts.
In-advance funeral celebrant services
Have you ever wondered what will be said at your funeral? How would you like to be remembered? Would you like to have some say in how your funeral proceeds? Are there messages, assurances, wisdom and guidance you would like conveyed to loved ones at your funeral? Are there people you would like to have speak about you?
Funeral celebrants often find themselves in a situation of officiating at a funeral without knowing the person who has passed away. Meetings with family members help fill in some of the gaps, but it would be so much more meaningful if the celebrant had the opportunity to meet the deceased before they passed, and had an idea of what their wishes would have been.
Family members will be grieving, confused and stressed when trying to organise the funeral. They may even disagree about what should be said and who should speak at your funeral. It would be so much easier for them if they had some clear guidance from you.
It is possible to engage me to work with you to plan your funeral service, and to be your funeral celebrant on the day.
I will meet with you to discuss your wishes for your funeral ceremony, to discuss your life story, and how you would like to be remembered. I will prepare an introduction to your funeral for your review and editing, and an Order of Service that responds to your hopes and wishes. I will retain a copy of the agreed script and Order of Service and provide you with a copy for safe keeping. It would be a good idea for you to explain your wishes to your family in regard to the funeral plan, so they are aware that you wish the service to be conducted as planned.
There is a $200 non-refundable planning fee, covering the time we spend together and the time I spend writing the script and Order of Service for your final approval.
When it comes time for your funeral, I will as your celebrant, deliver the approved script and Order of Service as we have agreed. I will provide my celebrant services at your funeral at the standard rate at the time, less the $200 already paid. The remainder will be due no later than 14 days following the funeral.
Of course, funerals are unpredictable, and hopefully some time away. I will make every effort to officiate at your funeral. However, it may be the case that I am not available on the required day due to other commitments. If that is the case, I will release the approved script to the alternative celebrant and the Order of Service to the funeral home chosen by your family with no extra charge to your family, the alternative celebrant or the Funeral Home. The $200 planning fee is non-refundable as it is payment for work already done. The alternative celebrant will be responsible for the level of fee they charge.
There is no obligation to engage me as funeral celebrant on the day of your funeral, although of course I would like to be able to deliver the service we have planned together. If for any reason your family does not wish to proceed with me as Celebrant, I will release the approved script to the alternative Celebrant, and provide the Order of Service to the funeral home chosen by your family with no extra charge to your family, the alternative Celebrant or the Funeral Home. The $200 planning fee is non-refundable as it is payment for work already done. The alternative celebrant will be responsible for the level of fee they charge.
Please note, my services relate only to the development of the script and Order of Service with you, and then being the celebrant at your funeral. Your family will need to engage a funeral home to deliver other elements of the funeral.