During difficult times such as the loss of a loved one, you should not underestimate the importance of having the right clergy or celebrant assisting you to craft a ceremony befitting of the late life and memory of your loved one. In fact, most people do not realize it until they are already in the planning stages. However, how do you go about finding a celebrant and what do they do?
Funeral celebrants are often confused with funeral directors. A funeral director is a person that writes and submits the obituary, coordinates and assists with funeral arrangements, and helps with casket selection. They also may prepare the body for burial or embalming. A funeral celebrant works with the funeral director and family to coordinate the ceremony details and logistics.These individuals contribute to ensuring that the wishes of the deceased are met in regards to their values, desires, personality, and spiritual beliefs.
There are baseline things to consider when selecting a celebrant. Things such as availability, reputation, experience, attitude, and association membership are your starting point when making your short list. If they are part of an association, that says that they should be up to date on the knowledge and practices. It also helps to ensure should they not be able to officiate at the last minute, that you may be able to get a replacement through the association. Once you have your short list, consider these other top five tips to assist you when choosing a clergy or celebrant.
1. Look into the clergy at the church your loved one attended.
One of the best ways to help ensure your loved one's life will be remembered correctly is to first look at the church they attended. The church they attended will most likely follow their beliefs, and the pastor may already know your loved one's wishes. If the deceased did not attend a church but followed a particular faith, you can start by going to those churches and speaking with their clergy.
2. Consider what they will do.
When talking to a possible celebrant candidate ask them what they will be doing for the service. Some celebrants only perform traditional services while others may focus on more alternative or themed services. Talk to them about what type of service would best commemorate the memory of your loved one and see what experience they have with that kind of service. Take note on if they have suggestions or ideas to share as well which ensures they are listening carefully.
3. Reflect on if this is something you or another family member would like to do.
A funeral does not have a legal status. Because of this, sometimes a family member would like to oversee the planning and details of the service. Some things to take into consideration when making your decision are; do you feel like you or a family member would be better at honoring their memory? Also, consider if you might become overwhelmed with the tasks on top of the grieving. There will be a lot to do should you decide to do it yourself. Make sure you are up to the task.
4. Find out if the candidate is a civil or independent celebrant.
Civil or independent celebrants can officiate with or without religion depending on what best honors your loved ones memory. They are typically more flexible with what you can include in the memorial such as green services or themes and will perform them anywhere of your choosing.
5. Are the fees for the services they are providing reasonable?
Budget is important when planning a funeral service. Once you have narrowed your list down, find out how much the candidate will charge for the services. Keep in mind that celebrants do a lot of work in the background during the planning process and the costs could include that time, as well as travel time and expenses. If you find the perfect celebrant or clergy that costs a little more, but you feel will do as you wish exactly, then the higher price may also be worth it.
With all of these tips in mind, also remember when selecting a clergy or celebrant for a funeral, to pay attention as to how they make you feel. Do you feel confident that they will do a good job? Do you believe they have listened to your needs and wishes? You only get one chance with something like this, and you want to ensure as best you can that the person you choose will do the job right. Above all, make sure that the candidate of your choosing makes you feel comfortable and that your wishes will be met to the best of their ability.