Babies, Weddings and Funerals
a week in the life of a celebrant
What is a Celebrant? – What do you do all day? – All you do is talk; it can’t be hard.
A Celebrant is a person who is trained to create a custom-made personal ceremony for any life event.
Here’s a glimpse into my week:
Three requests from funeral directors with details of services.
I contact families, arrange a time to meet and have a chat. Everything that I do is family led; the most important part of my job is making that initial connection and establishing trust.
Although my job involves a lot of talking (something I’m really good at), it also needs sensitivity to quickly pick up on emotions and feelings and to reassure a grieving or bewildered family. It also means that I do not work office hours – meetings are frequently in the evening or at weekends to allow all family members to share their stories and memories, and to be involved in the planning.
In the car, for a very quiet and traditional service at the crematorium, making sure that I’m always there at least an hour early, to check that there are no issues.
This service is fairly local, but I travel across the North West – I love the fact that I’m no longer tied to one location and office.
The variety is refreshing and I love going to new places and working with new teams.
Back home, cup of tea and on to the computer, to research and write another service. Most 30-minute services take about 6-8 hours to write from scratch – no “insert name here” templates. I’ll call family members and friends who couldn’t be on the initial meeting, research appropriate poems and readings that are appropriate rather than standard and generic.
Up very early to finish a draft service and send to the family for approval. Every service I write is sent to the family in full, so they can read every word, and make changes if they need to.
I spend the morning talking to another family – they want a lively service, motor bike escort and dancing as their loved one was a real rocker…but can we dance in a crematorium? Of course we can.
I take the day to finish the wedding ceremony that I am going to be leading on Saturday (we’ve been planning this for 2 months now).
It’s going to be a lovely outdoor service (hope it doesn’t rain) with a book theme, a hand fasting, blessing stones and a lot of literary quotes which I loved researching.
I have to finish weaving the handfasting cord which I personalise with small charms that reflect the couple’s lives, and create the ceremony certificate.
Networking in the morning speaking about planning your own funeral in advance (content and stories, not cash), then a difficult call; a family who have lost their baby.
They talk for a long time about their grief, the future they had planned, and we use the baby’s name frequently. At times, my job is to just listen, and make notes so that I can create the best possible goodbye.
We decide we are going to include a naming ceremony along with the farewell burial and instead of balloons, butterflies or doves, we are going to have a bubble machine and individual bubble pots.
I spend the afternoon wrapped in a duvet on the sofa – sometimes this job is incredibly difficult.
I write the baby service while it’s still fresh in my mind, and spend the afternoon packing for the wedding the day after.
The details are really important – planning and covering every possible eventuality is key.
Have I got the ribbons for the handfasting, a weight to hold them down if it’s windy, the pa system, the blessing stones, my smart-comfy shoes as I’m standing for a long time….the list is very long.
I arrive two hours early, make sure that everything is set up and ready, then sit and go over the service.
The sun is out, it’s a beautiful setting and we have a great day.
I love my job!
Home for a prosecco and a pizza.
Still think it’s easy, or all we do is talk?
Please call or mail me if you would like to know more about what I do or talk over a ceremony that you would like.