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Choosing your own celebrant

Can I choose my own celebrant? Do I have to have a celebrant that is recommended by the Funeral Director? What funeral home do you work for?

These are questions that are frequently asked, and this topic has come up more times than I can count since I embarked on this career in early 2008.

However in the last week, it has come up three times to me personally.

A couple who have been to services that I have officiated at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Leppington, saw me at Pinegrove Memorial Park, Minchinbury - they had no idea that I went to other places to conduct a funeral. I personally travel all over Sydney, places such as Rookwood Memorial Gardens, Castlebrook Memorial Park, Northern Suburbs Memorial Gardens and Macquarie Park, and have been to Newcastle, Wollongong and the Blue Mountains when requested.

I had a call from another person to whom I was recommended as a celebrant and who is looking at organising a funeral for a family member. He had called funeral directors who told him that they had their "own" celebrants. He wasn't aware that he didn't have to go with one of theirs. He could go on the recommendations of others,

And the other time it has come up this past week, is when a friend of mine organised a service for her Mum with the Funeral home being out of the area of where her and I live. Even though she has known me for a number of years, she didn't know that I could work for any Funeral Director in any suburb. She was tickled pink when the Funeral Director actually recommended me - she thought that she just had to go with whoever they had on their list of celebrants who they recommended ( of which I am one thankfully, unbeknowns to her at the time though)

So all that being said, I have decided to write a blog which hopefully will help people better understand what happens when organising a funeral and what choices you , as a family have.

It is very distressing and difficult when a loved one passes away, and the thought of having to arrange a funeral can be very daunting. As this is something that we don't have to do too many times in our lives, many people don't even know where to start.

So let me try and alleviate some of the stress by briefly outlining what to do.

Firstly, you need to engage the services of a Funeral Director. Generally speaking, people choose Funeral Directors in their own area, but you don't have to. A lot of Funeral Directors offer home arrangements, enabling you to stay in your own home, in your own surroundings for the arrangements to be made.

Funeral Directors are the people who will take your loved one into their care and make all of the arrangements with the Crematorium, chapel or church, or anywhere else that you may choose to hold the funeral service. They take all of that pressure off your hands and they also take care of the necessary paperwork which has to be filled out and signed.

They also have their own "preferred" suppliers - people who supply their caskets and coffins, flowers, car hire etc and celebrants. These are all people that the Funeral Director are familiar with and have worked with, and knows that they are reliable and offer a good service to the family. They need someone who they can trust as this will ultimately reflect on their business.

Having said that, you can choose your own celebrant or clergy ( Priest/Minister/Pastor). Any of these people can work with any Funeral Director - celebrants have their own businesses and work for many different Directors as well as working at many different chapels and locations.

If you choose your own celebrant, you just need to let the Funeral Director know when you make contact with them, or when you meet, and they will contact your celebrant to check on their availability prior to booking the ceremony in. The Celebrant then liaises with the Funeral Director as well as the family to ensure that the families needs are being met.

There are many people involved in a funeral service, all working for different places, and collectively, everyone works together to deliver a funeral ceremony that reflects your loved one.

Feel free to ask me any questions should you wish - or 0432 553 193

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