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Funeral Celebrant

What is a Funeral Celebrant?

Celebrants create and officiate life passage ceremonies and transitions. They are trained and certified in the art of ritual, ceremony, world traditions, faith traditions, mythology, ceremonial writing and ceremonial speaking. No belief system is ever imposed or presumed.

A Funeral Celebrant creates the ceremony for a funeral, memorial, celebration of life, graveside, scattering of ashes or interment. Meaningful end-of-life ceremonies are created by capturing the unique life lived using stories, anecdotes, and other carefully selected elements in a ceremony reflective of the person who died.

Funeral celebrants can work on their own or in conjunction with other funeral professionals such as a funeral director, cemetery, crematorium, members of the clergy and/or event planner. They perform services wherever the family wishes - at funeral homes, parks, cemeteries, beach, the family's home and burial at sea.

Funeral celebrants do not handle the disposition of the body; they are ceremony specialists.

How to find a qualified Funeral Celebrant

Some funeral directors are also trained celebrants, but you do not need to be a funeral director to be a celebrant.

There is no governing body defining the standards for celebrants. The only international organization committed to setting a standard for celebrants is a 501c (3) non-profit educational organization, the Celebrant Foundation and Institute.

The Celebrant Foundation and Institute is dedicated to certifying celebrants to create and officiate individual, meaningful and relevant ceremonies. Their funeral curriculum includes such topics as world traditions, faith traditions, mythology, symbolism, ceremonial writing, ceremonial speaking and family interviews. They are also trained in special areas such as traumatic deaths, suicides, miscarriage, stillborn, infants, the death of a child and even animal companion memorials.

The term Life-Cycle Celebrant® refers to Celebrants trained at the Celebrant Foundation and Institute. They receive in-depth training over seven months to receive their certification. Nearly 600 Life-Cycle Celebrants are located in towns big and small throughout North America, Canada, Mexico, Ireland, Spain and France. Click here to find one near you.

Other organizations offer workshops and weekend courses teaching basic celebrant training. When choosing a celebrant you should ask where they were certified and what was required to receive it. We encourage you to confirm pricing, ask for references and interview any funeral professional you are considering hiring.

What should I expect from a Funeral Celebrant?

Whether your family is secular, religious, spiritual, interfaith, atheist, agnostic or you simply wish to express yourself in a manner of your own choosing, a celebrant can create a meaningful end-of-life tribute. They reflect their clients' histories, personalities, values and beliefs without judgment.

Below is a list of what you should expect from a Life-Cycle Celebrant:

  • A gentle interview with family and friends (approximately 1-2 hours)
  • Researches, writes, plans and officiates at the ceremony
  • Expert knowledge in death and dying rituals, world traditions, prayers, readings, scripture, symbolism and mythology. Has completed a 7-month rigorous training and course of study
  • Arrives at least 30 minutes before the ceremony
  • Officiates at the ceremony
  • Offers a printed keepsake copy of the ceremony at no extra charge
  • Works as part of a seamless team with other funeral professionals
  • Creates a custom ceremony just for you (no templates used)
  • Serves with compassion, respect, dignity, focus, and humility
  • Every word of the ceremony is shown to you beforehand, assuring accuracy and tone

What should you expect to pay a Life-Cycle Celebrant®?

Each celebrant is responsible for setting their fee. The range for a funeral, memorial or a celebration-of-life ceremony is between $400 and $650. Variables affecting the price could be geographic area, ceremonial considerations and travel time. Life-Cycle Celebrants will meet with you at no obligation so they can learn about your needs and explain their services.


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