Each funeral ceremony I prepare is unique, created especially for that person. I will work with you to provide the ceremony you want. This means I can write and deliver as much or as little of the ceremony as you wish me to. I may write the full script and be the only person who speaks at the service. You may wish to write the eulogy for me to read, or to choose readings or poems for me or others to read. Or I may act as a ‘Master of Ceremonies’, perhaps providing an opening and a closing and then simply introducing other speakers.
This page will give you an idea of how I usually work with you and others to prepare a funeral ceremony at the time of need, and covers:
- First Contact
- Face to Face Meeting
- Follow up conversations
- Writing the Funeral Script
- On the Day of the Funeral
- After the Funeral
- My Fees
For more information on planning a funeral in advance, see Planning a Funeral.
Working with you to create a funeral ceremony for your loved one usually starts with a telephone call. During this call I will check the simple facts of the ceremony with you – the date, venue and time for example, and arrange a convenient time to visit you to discuss the ceremony in more detail.
Face to Face Meeting
If possible, I prefer to meet with you in person to learn a bit more about your loved one. I would normally expect to be with you for an hour or two, but the meeting can, of course, be longer if necessary. During this meeting we will talk in detail about the person who has died and how you would like the ceremony to be. We will discuss whether you or others wish to speak or read, or whether you wish me to read anything on your behalf. We will also talk through anything you have already chosen to include in the ceremony such as poems, readings or music. Things I would usually like to discuss at this meeting are:
- The person who has died – what they enjoyed, what they will be remembered for, what you will miss about them, what their personality was like, what interests they had, their life story, and what their religious or spiritual beliefs were (if any). It is also useful for me to know something about the circumstances of their death, for example – had they been suffering from an illness or was their death sudden?
- The beliefs or the family and those close to the deceased, and any family circumstances I may need to be aware of
- Inclusions for the service such as music, poems, readings; details of anyone who wishes to speak or contribute, or whether someone is writing something you wish me to read on their behalf
- The ceremony itself – the venue, who will be there, whether there is more than one event (e.g. a private committal at a crematorium followed by a memorial service), how you would like the ceremony to work
- Anyone else I should speak to – if there are other family or friends who were not at this meeting that I should contact to find out more about the person who has died
- Anything else you have arranged or thought of for the ceremony. For example: is there a special dress code? Have you chosen a special coffin or vehicle? Do you want people to come to lay flowers on the coffin during the ceremony?
If it is not possible to meet face to face, we can discuss all these things over the telephone or Skype and follow up by email.
I would usually meet with you either in your own home or the home of the person who has died. If this is not practical or possible, we can meet at another convenient venue such as the Funeral Director’s premises.
Follow up conversations
After the first meeting, I will contact anyone else you have asked me to involve in preparing the ceremony, usually by telephone or email, to talk through their memories of the person who has died and/or the contribution they wish to make to the ceremony.
We will also continue to talk about inclusions in the service and any other thoughts or ideas you have after our meeting, or to confirm things like music if you felt you needed more time to make decisions on these elements of the ceremony. This will usually be done via email or over the telephone.
If you are having a printed order of service for the funeral ceremony, I will also help you to shape the order of the service and will send the necessary details to your Funeral Director or printer.
I will also liaise with the Funeral Director, venue and other third parties as necessary to ensure that the ceremony goes exactly as you wish it to on the day.
Writing the Funeral Script
After I have spoken to everyone who wishes to be involved with preparing the ceremony, I will start to write the script for the funeral. If I have been asked to prepare the eulogy, I will usually write this first as it is the cornerstone of the ceremony. I will then send this to you so that you can check that I have fully captured the essence of the person who has died and also make any factual corrections if necessary. Once we are happy that the eulogy is right, I will then draft the remainder of the ceremony. I prepare each ceremony as a new service, tailored for you.
You may see the full script for the ceremony in advance if you wish to do so. I have found that some clients prefer to experience the ceremony first hand on the day and are happy just to confirm the eulogy and the order of service in advance, but that others prefer to read the whole script beforehand.
On the day of the Funeral
I aim to arrive at the funeral venue at least half an hour before the service is due to start to check that the venue is set up as we have agreed, that correct music is available and to make any last minute preparations.
If it is a venue I have not previously used, I would usually have made a visit in advance of the day, but if this is not possible I will arrive earlier.
I will then be there to greet you and the Funeral Director as they arrive and can answer any last minute questions you have before the ceremony starts.
I will then lead the Funeral Ceremony as we have agreed.
After the Funeral
I will ensure you receive a copy of the full Funeral Script for you to keep.
My fee is usually paid to me via your Funeral Director. If you are not using a Funeral Director I will discuss and agree my fees with you in advance of our first meeting. Please contact me if you wish to discuss fees in more detail.