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What is a Certified Funeral Celebrant?

  • I have been certified to conduct funerals by the In-Sight Institute, sponsored by the New York State Funeral Directors Association. Celebrants are specially trained and certified alternative ceremonial leaders. We are experts in creating end-of-life rituals, which are crafted and performed with reverence and eloquence.
  • Celebrants design funeral ceremonies that are created around the life and personality of the deceased rather than a traditional liturgical format. We are an excellent choice for those who want to honor the life of a deceased loved one through a participatory end-of-life ritual that is deeply moving, comforting and meaningful for the bereaved.
  • Celebrants are skilled facilitators, attentive and sensitive interviewers, expressive writers, professional public speakers, loss and grief counselors and ritual officiants.

Who would benefit from a service created and led by a Celebrant?

  • A celebrant like myself is most often called upon by those families who are not affiliated with a religious institution; or would prefer not to have a religious funeral; or whose members are from different religious, cultural and spiritual traditions.
  • Those who consider themselves spiritual, but not religious.
  • Those with personally defined spiritual practices who want rituals that are individualized, unconventional and include participation of family and friends.
  • Those who want ceremonies in nontraditional venues.
  • Those who might wish to pre-plan their own memorial service.

What can I expect from working with you?

  • I will schedule a meeting with you during which I will encourage family and friends to share memories, stories and pictures, which will help me to accurately capture the essence of the person who has died.
  • Together we will explore ways of making the service as meaningful and as personalized as possible. All ideas and input are encouraged. This is your customized ceremony.
  • Once all of the elements of the service are discussed and decided upon, I will write the tribute and design the service, which will include any desired ritual, music and/or readings, as well as the participation of whomever the family chooses.
  • During the event, I will facilitate and guide the proceedings, make any necessary announcements, and lead those in attendance through any rituals within the ceremony.

Why is it important to have an end-of-life service?

  • Every life is precious and deserves a fitting tribute.
  • An end-of-life ceremony provides permission to grieve and a supportive atmosphere in which to do so. It presents an opportunity for those who mourn to share in your loss and express your love, respect and sorrow.
  • Participation by family and friends in the funeral or memorial service helps you to move through the early days of bereavement with a sense of purpose.
  • A funeral offers much needed closure and release. It permits the bereaved to face openly and realistically the difficult truth of death and helps you to take the first step toward emotional adjustment to your loss.

What are the different types of end-of-life services and what is the difference between them?

  • I have been conducting all sorts of end-of-life services for more than 20 years. There is a wide range of possible ceremonies which include, but are not limited to funerals, interments, cremations, ash scatterings, memorials, life tributes, commemorations, dedications and pet farewells.
  • A funeral takes place soon after death. It is most common for the body or cremains to be present. Options for funerals include ceremonies at a funeral home, at the graveside, in the crematorium, at the cemetery crypt or columbarium, at a green burial site or at any other desired location, including at home.
  • A memorial service or life tribute can take place at any time following the disposal of the remains. Memorials are often preferred, as they allow for the gathering of far-flung family members and friends. A memorial also allows time to plan for a more elaborate ceremony.
  • Funerals and memorials are not mutually exclusive. It is common to have a funeral following the death, and then some time later hold a memorial service or life tribute.

What are the benefits of pre-planning an end-of-life ceremony?

  • Facing the end of life can be daunting, so it is helpful to talk to an experienced professional who can help you and your family research your options and make well-informed decisions.
  • You will be able to dictate exactly what sort of arrangements you want and will enable you to make your wishes known in advance. This is very empowering.
  • You will feel secure knowing that your surviving family members will have less to worry about in the event of your death and that your wishes will be honored.

Do you offer any services to the dying and their families?

  • Yes. I am available to perform a Last Rites Release Ritual at your home or at a hospital or hospice. These individualized ceremonies are designed to faciltate a peaceful transition for your loved one, and a comforting farewell for you.

What is the cost?

  • My Celebrant fee ranges from $500-$800 depending upon the complexity of the ceremony, the distance to travel and the extra add-ons desired by the family.
  • My consulting and counseling fee is $150/per hour.

Give sorrow words;
the grief that does not speak
Whispers the o'er-fraught heart
and bids it break.

- William Shakespeare