• Ashley George. MICF

Loving the responsibility creating a service brings..

Updated: Jan 21


Ashley George, loving my amazing position as a Family Funeral Celebrant. Experience as an Officiant, with expertise in chaplaincy to event management and retail has provided me with personal skills and knowledge combined with study for the supportive role of assisting families to create a unique funeral service that goes beyond traditional.

Practicality’s of selecting a Funeral Celebrant

A loved one has just died, your world has been turned upside down, there is a funeral to organise. Question, where do I start, help ? I’ve never done this before. Did they leave a funeral plan? What are their wishes?

The feeling is overwhelming, it’s becoming stressful. Breath and think logically.

Who do I want to conduct the service ? Checking into Google, you search for inspiration, several business pages reveal themselves, one stands out, The Celebrant Directory.

Following the search instructions to find someone in your area able to assist you. Delving through the profiles, scanning the pictures and reading the text associated with each one on the page of the celebrant directory and gauging which person resonates with you, your next move is to make contact.

To hear a comforting, reassuring voice can put you immediately at ease as the basics are explained, allowing you a moment to formulate a few questions of your own

If there is a mutual feeling of kinship over the telephone and a desire to appoint your selected celebrant, arrangements are made for a face to face meeting where a stronger, supportive bond can be generated to fulfil this task that you would probably wish to get on with. You are in control.

A Funeral Celebrants role

Once the decision is confirmed to engage to write a funeral service including the all-important tribute, we must set aside time to discuss the life of the deceased.

Why go back over the past you may ask ? The answer is, memories are stored in our conscious and sub-conscious mind and at a time of grieving all manner of thoughts appear and feelings get jumbled. Conversations become mixed and sometimes incoherent.

My role as qualified celebrant is to listen, ask leading questions that open doors which allow the past to be reignited. The life of your loved one is important and deserves to be revealed if we are to conduct a true and accurate Celebration of Life ceremony.

We, together are forming the final act of remembrance that you as a family carry out, to say farewell one last time. The script should portray elements of any significant achievements and to acknowledge those who meant so much and the influence they had on your family’s life is important.

Personally, getting to know the deceased through time spent with you will allow me to build up a picture. My attention to detail is necessary as are finding the words that reflect their individual character and personality.

Writing a story that is defined by the dash between the date of birth and the date of death can only be done once.

A Celebrant always works in partnership with a Funeral Director as a team and of course them booking a time-slot at a crematorium is all part of their role.

My role is solely to write the funeral service and support the family through this period.

Healing experience

Often talking about people, their experiences and memories creates a feeling of joy, warmth, and when more people are associated with the need to look back on life a healing experience ensues.

When writing a tribute, the words should extol the virtues of the deceased but to formulate a balance, not everything would have been rosy, so we must include moments that would have caused disharmony but written sensitively can produce laughter because of the connotations associated with the story. As they say, none of us are perfect.

You the client can read the tribute script before the ceremony. Why ?To verify the facts and to ensure all details are correct. Errors can be corrected and should you recall anecdotes that you wish to be included in the text.

The eulogy should detail history, possibly entertain, be light in its presentation, but most importantly reflect the life of the individual.

With any death there is always a “story waiting to be told”

Service at Crematorium or woodland burial site

On the day of the service, the family may arrive independently or as is tradition arrive in the car following the hearse. The Funeral Director and myself meet you at the Crematorium or woodland burial site.

Upon greetings exchanged, the casket is removed from the hearse and once all set proceed into the building or site. Your chosen music will be playing in the background. Gently, evenly and in unison the coffin is placed on the catafalque, heads bowed momentarily to display respect the ceremony begins with the celebrant approaching the lectern, smiling at the congregation in recognition, mindful of responsibilities for the next thirty minutes or so, as the first words of introduction are spoken as the ceremony commences.

This is the final journey, the narrative, the committal, the grieving, healing, laughter as the concluding page of a story has now been related and delivered.