How to Choose Celebrant For Officiating Funeral

Guest post contributed by Lara Buck

A funeral celebrant refers to ceremony specialists who organize and conduct funeral services. Since they are members of a group of non-clergy professionals, they hold non-religious, spiritual, and semi-religious services. They are different from a priest in the sense that they prepare and deliver funeral ceremonies that are not linked to any religion or a belief in an after-life. The ceremony is instead a celebration of the life lived by the deceased, with emphasis laid on their personality traits and good deeds done during the lifetime. This requires for the celebrant to work along with the family members of the deceased to ensure the character of the deceased is duly reflected in the ceremony. Thus, it is an enormous task to choose an optimal funeral celebrant who is equipped to perform the required duties.

Features of a Funeral Celebrant

The things to look for in a celebrant while organizing a funeral include the following roles and duties:

  1. Personalization

The major role of a funeral celebrant is to be able to personalize the ceremony and reflect the individuality of the deceased through readings, poems, music, or ritual. Since the memories of the deceased are to be shared, the celebrant should spend ample time with the family members and collaborate with them to ensure a personalized service. He would then take the stories and remarkable instances of the life of the departed and curate them to create an optimal service that goes beyond an autobiographical sketch of the individual.

  1. Guidance

It can be a daunting task for the family of the deceased to organize a funeral while fighting the loss. The celebrant should thus also have the expertise and skills required to guide you through the process of the ceremony. They consider your thoughts and expectations from the service and suggest you the available options. They would use their experience to determine what works well while providing suggestions and alternatives.

  1. Interpersonal Skills

A celebrant is also required to possess a particular set of skills and attributes to be able to officiate the ceremony efficiently. These skills include excellent speaking skills and confidence to speak to groups of people, writing skills for concise and grammatically right speech, understanding of Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel, and so on. Additionally, he should also have a sensitive approach while connecting with the family members of the deceased and interviewing them. A calm, smart, and mature appearance is needed for this responsible job.

Thus, to ensure a smooth and efficient funeral service, you should look for these qualities and features in your celebrant. You can either take recommendations from your funeral celebrant director or simply find one yourself by searching online the most reputed options available around your area. After short-listing, the possible candidates, fix a meeting with them to know them in person and explain the kind of funeral you expect.  You would then be able to determine the level of flexibility of each of the candidates and choose the most suitable one accordingly. It is also important to inquire if the celebrant belongs to a particular organization and whether it would have an impact on how the service would be conducted. After choosing a celebrant, spend ample time with them to introduce them to the personality of the deceased that is to be reflected in the funeral ceremony and the feel of service you expect. Although the process may seem difficult in such a tough time, such a professional would help take the burden off your shoulders and make the process smooth and easy for you.


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