A good question given there is no legal requirement for one and in fact you can choose anyone at all. For me, as a Celebrant, the answer lies in companioning you, professionally, through what can be a pressured time and process. As a practising Celebrant I bring experience and understanding, a knowing of the many ways a very personal and satisfying funeral ceremony or service can be constructed and delivered. For example, I recently worked with three sisters creating a ceremony for their mother. They had thought to do it themselves but had followed up on the Funeral Director’s suggestion to at least meet with me. At the end of our one hour meeting the sense of relaxation was profound. They reported feeling relief at how easy the process had become for them and that they were clear what was left for them to do, with my help.
Our conversation included lots of listening to their ideas and how they wanted to pay tribute to their mother in a meaningful way, without falling apart emotionally themselves. I was able to suggest an outline and flow for the ceremony, based on my experience, and to reassure them that tears and thinking they were going to fall apart were very normal; that part of my role was to be there in support, if required.
This is a typical example of where most of the work is done before the service, partnering everyone involved, sometimes ‘refereeing families’, enabling conversation by asking good questions, assisting with resources and ideas and writing or assisting with the writing of the service until it is signed off. I work in partnership with the Funeral Director and listen carefully to what has already been discussed, suggested or advised to you.
This allows you to feel safe in the knowledge that all is prepared and that you will be guided and supported on the day. During the actual service my role is to lead in the way and manner that we have agreed. I am very clear that I am there to be of service to you. Sometimes this means taking the whole service and at other times being the guide or the ‘glue’. A celebrant is the professional companion that works for you.