A funeral celebrant is the person who leads what is traditionally known as the funeral service of someone who has died. It could also be known as a celebration of that person’s life or a memorial service.
When I entered the funeral industry 20+ years ago most funerals were the same. We met in a church or in a crematorium chapel and the service would be led by the local parish minister, it would contain a couple of hymns and a few prayers and would follow a similar format.
Over the years people have wanted to make each funeral more and more unique. Personal touches such as music and readings that meant a lot to either the person they were remembering or the people who were attending started to become more and more common.
It also became more common for people not to choose a religious leader to take the service. Many services were starting to be led by humanist officiants and by members of the family themselves or friends of the deceased and all these options still exist today.
What has become more and more popular though is to have someone who is able to lead the service not based on their own beliefs but completely led by the deceased and the people organising the funeral.
There certainly is no such thing now as a ‘normal funeral’ as people’s ideas are changing as different ways to celebrate people’s lives are regularly being seen. It is my privilege as a celebrant to be able to help you decide what is appropriate for your circumstance and to help you to produce a service which celebrates the life in an appropriate way.
How about where to have the service? It doesn't have to be just a crematorium chapel or church. I have been to funerals at people's houses, village halls, onboard a ship (burial at sea) but it could be anywhere. Are you a member of a sporting club? Why not have the service there, it doesn't have to have the coffin there, it could be a memorial service after the committal has already taken place or why not have it at your local pub? If it is erected I want mine to be in my friend's marquee. We were the first to have a wedding reception there so why not be the first to have his funeral there????
I obviously have my own thoughts and beliefs, just as everyone else does but the service is not about me or my beliefs and it is not for me to enforce those on you in any way.