What is a Funeral Celebrant?

Posted on September 20th, 2023

When people come to us for assistance after someone they love passes away, we’re proud to offer a range of support and funeral services in Colchester and Essex that allow the family and friends of the person who died to celebrate their life in a way that heals. Part of that is to help make sure that the memorial they create, however it looks and whether big or small, is personal to them and that the right options are made clear and available.

Gathering together to say goodbye to someone we’ve lost is a big day and one you’ll want to mark and remember and that is why, as well as choosing the style of ceremony that’s right for you and the family, finding a fitting celebrant to lead the memorial of your choosing and set the tone of the day, is an important aspect.

What are some different types of funeral celebrant?

Many families continue to opt for a traditional or religious funeral, especially when their faith, or that of the person they have lost, is a big part of their lives. If held within a place of worship, such as a church or temple, often the celebrant leading the funeral will be a member of the clergy or a religious leader, depending on the specific denomination.

Civil or secular celebrants may also lead a memorial service with aspects of religious ceremony to them – such as readings from religious texts, prayers, songs or hymns or other traditional practices – but civil ceremonies will not be held within places of worship, or in a building or location affiliated with any specific faith.

For those looking for a personal and non-traditional memorial, they may opt for a humanist ceremony which will be led by a humanist celebrant, who typically will place a stronger focus and celebration on the individual’s life – and the healing experience of the family – as well as a chance to mourn their passing.  

Friends or family members may, often with guidance, act as a celebrant in civil, secular and humanist funeral ceremonies.

Our compassionate and professional team of funeral directors are here to support, and this includes acting as a civil celebrant on your most difficult of occasions if you should wish. Get in touch to talk through how we may help with your loved one’s funeral.

What does a funeral celebrant do?

As part of the arrangements of the funeral ceremony, your celebrant will typically meet with you and the family of the deceased ahead of time, not only to extend their compassion and support, but also on a practical level to discuss what kind of approach might be appropriate for the memorial service. This will vary depending on your needs, but might include talking about, or suggesting, any readings, songs or prayers to be included, to create a fitting personal experience for all involved.

Your celebrant will typically take some time to get to know you, as the family or friends of the deceased, and to talk about the person who has passed away, gathering information and fond anecdotes that may inform a meaningful eulogy to be delivered during the funeral ceremony.

They will then usually lead the service itself on the day, taking attendants through each stage of the funeral, including prompting readings, songs and prayers as appropriate.

What makes a good funeral celebrant?

No matter what sort of funeral you’re hoping to create, typically, you’ll find your funeral celebrant to be professional, empathetic and well organised, with a compassionate approach, taking a genuine interest in you/your family and the person that has died.

As well as, of course, helping to arrange the practical elements of the funeral, they are there to listen, guide and support, working alongside you to create a memorable experience that pays a level of respect to the deceased and loved ones. This will often include utilising their communication skills to creating a personal eulogy.

Most celebrants are well used to leading funeral services and therefore are accustomed to and experienced in public speaking and usually will conduct the ceremony efficiently but with a level of genuine and gentle compassion to the deceased and those close to them and in attendance.

The Freedom Funerals team are proud to have worked with a lot of families over many years, not only providing guidance during an emotional time, but as civil celebrants, leading a range of different kinds of memorial services with respect and professionalism.

We are here to help and support; whether you need some advice, someone to listen, or a full service for someone you’ve lost, we can assist. Find out about the services we offer, as well as find full and transparent pricing, on our Costs page – and when you’re ready to get in touch, please do reach out, day or night, on 01206 862 963 or via