The Role of a Life Celebrant (also known as civil or independent celebrant)


Over the years in which I have supported people in bereavement, they have told me how important it was that their loved one’s funeral reflected their life, lifestyle, philosophy and beliefs. As a Life Celebrant, it is my role to assist you with celebrating the life of your loved one. This is how it is done.


Firstly, I meet with the family, to get to know your loved one and you. I am keen to hear what sort of person they were, their take on life, any particular wishes they had about their funeral, and any feelings you have about it. According to your wishes, I then compose a unique eulogy and ceremony, and we continue a dialogue, in person, by phone or email, in which we refine the details.


As an Independent Celebrant (not a Humanist) I can incorporate spiritual or religious elements, into the funerary service should you wish.


Families often have plenty of ideas about music and verses to be incorporated into the ceremony. If not, I am very happy to assist you in making these choices. If there are any singers or musicians among friends and family, a live delivery can make the ceremony particularly intimate and meaningful. At the moment, only a few crematoria and chapels have the facilities for a slide show, although it is worth discussing alternatives with your Funeral Director and Celebrant. Many families choose to have an enlarged photo of their loved one on display.


On the day of the funeral, I will meet with you at the crematorium or cemetery chapel. At every funeral I have been to, the funeral directors did a fantastic job in co-ordinating things. They will look after us all and make sure that everyone is ready and knows where to go. Once inside, I facilitate the ceremony: speaking the opening and closing words, and introducing pieces of music, and any performers and speakers. Who says what is something the Celebrant carefully plans with the family beforehand.


There is no set structure, but what I have set out below is very typical. 


  • Arrival, usually with music or singing.
  • Introduction and opening words.
  • Eulogy
  • Music, singing, tributes or poems delivered by mourners or Celebrant
  • Quiet reflection, or prayer if appropriate
  • The committal, often with music
  • Closing words


Your Funeral Director will be happy to advise on, and produce, a printed Order of Service which, if you wish, can include details of the wake where further, spontaneous, tributes can be made.


I am happy to recommend funeral directors of my acquaintance, and if for some reason I am unable to accept a request to facilitate a funeral, will gladly recommend good colleagues.


Like all FPC registered celebrants, my fees are in line with the local clergy and I never charge for children's funerals. 



“We are born at a given moment, in a given place and, like vintage years of wine, we have the qualities of the year and of the season to which we are born.”

― C.G. Jung


Jan Ryan, Life Celebrant


07 857 284 244