Creating a Ceremony

A funeral is about remembering and celebrating the life of the person who has died; the life they lived, the things they did and the people who loved them.

I talk to you – the family or those arranging the funeral in order to find out about the deceased person and the way that the you would like the funeral to be. Then I write the ceremony, working with you to incorporate all the things you want included.

The tribute for the deceased person is the main part of the funeral ceremony. In order to ensure that it says exactly what you want, I share it with you to enable your comments and amendments, as necessary. I write the ceremony and continue to liaise with you and the funeral director.

Apple Blossom

Apple Blossom Amongst the Branches – Mark Taylor

Ceremonies may include music, poetry, readings and contributions from those attending; all according to your wishes.

You may have been offered my services by the Funeral Director, or you may have contacted me directly. I will have a brief chat with you to explain how things will work and I will arrange a longer meeting with you. You may wish to arrange for other people, friends or family to be there with you.

Planning a funeral can be a difficult and stressful time. I do my best to make the process as smooth and easy as possible, whilst allowing you to have control of the things you want and what will happen in the ceremony.

 

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Talking to You

My meeting with you is very special and it is a time that I value. You may not feel at your best if you have just lost someone close but I am happy to give as much time as is needed to chat to you and learn about you and the person who has died. I want to find out about you and you will want to know more about me. Most of all, I want you to feel that I am going to take the funeral in the way that you want it to be.

At a Family Meeting

The second role of a celebrant, which is not usually highlighted, is to give families and those who are grieving for a loved one or friend, time and support. The celebration of a life – the funeral – is an important but difficult event for anyone to go through. It is a time of very mixed emotions and it is probably a time when you will need guidance and reassurance. If nothing else, I want to give to the family, the reassurance they need, that the funeral will be taken in the way they want, so that they can feel they have done the right thing by the deceased person. I am happy to spend as much or as little time as you wish, talking through the person’s life, or just talking. I’m not a trained counsellor, although some of what I do has elements of that work. I think I’m easy to talk to – at least, that’s what I hope!

At the meeting we will talk about what will go into the ceremony – see the section ‘What goes into a funeral?’ However, it will be useful if, before the meeting, you know what music you might like. I can then arrange for this to be ready at the crematorium.

 

*Please see the Coronavirus Page. If you are not comfortable with a home visit, it is possible to conduct this in different ways. Possibly outdoors or via video link or telephone.

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What goes into a funeral?

The simple answer is; whatever you like. The usual format is that when the ceremony starts, I say a few introductory words, then there is the ‘Tribute’; this is usually the life story of the person who has died. Sometimes I read the Tribute and sometimes other people will speak and say the things that they have written about the deceased.

There will usually be a ‘Committal’, which is when we say goodbye to the person. At a cremation, it is often when the curtains close and at a burial, it is when the coffin is lowered into the ground. This is usually a very emotional point in the ceremony.

There will then be some closing words and after that, the ceremony ends.

In amongst those parts, there will be music that you will have chosen – usually at least three different pieces but there can be more. The usual minimum is one piece to go into the chapel, one piece for the committal and one piece to leave the chapel. The choice is entirely up to you, although I usually suggest that the first piece is slow and reflective, the Committal music is personal to the deceased and the final piece is a bit more upbeat.

You can choose any music that you like, or that the deceased liked. As it is a non-religious ceremony, it isn’t usual to have hymns unless one of them has a particular relevance to the person whose life we are celebrating.

You may wish to have short readings or poetry. This is entirely up to you. I have a collection of poetry that I can let you have a look at. Even if they don’t want to choose any, some people just like reading them.

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Liaising with you – Liaising with the Funeral Director

As the Tribute is the most important part of the ceremony, I want to be sure that all the details are correct and so I like to share it with you, once I have written it. I will also liaise with you about the order in which all the parts will go together – this is important if people will be reading.

I will also liaise with the Funeral Director. They order the music for the chapel music system and if they are printing the Order of Service, they need to know what headings will be needed. If you are arranging the printing, then I work with you on that.

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Ask me for advice or assistance

I am always happy to answer any questions you may have about ceremonies or arrangements – even if you do not want me to take a ceremony, I will be pleased to help and advise. I don’t mind what you want to ask me about – I have been asked some strange and interesting questions over the years and I always do my best to answer them. Please contact me by telephone or email.

Mobile: 07779 187384

Home: 01543 264602

email: mark.taylor@humanistceremonies.org.uk

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