Choosing someone to conduct your loved one’s funeral service is a very personal decision. Many families seek an individual who’s not only connected with the deceased but is knowledgeable and qualified enough to run things smoothly.

Family and friends

Anyone can conduct a non-religious funeral. It doesn’t necessarily require specialised qualifications and years of practice – it could be a family member, a friend or a professional. There is no restriction on who can act as funeral celebrant, otherwise known as a non-clergy officiate.

Non-religious funerals are also highly customisable given there are no traditions to keep to. This means services can be changed and simplified so the celebrant feels comfortable in their knowledge.

You should however ask someone who is organised, confident speaking in front of crowds and can keep level-headed, as funeral celebrants must ultimately guide family and friends through emotional proceedings.

Civil celebrants

There’s no one way to conduct non-religious funerals, but being in the hands of a professional who knows what works makes civil celebrants an attractive option.

Civil celebrants are freelance or employed professionals with experience running many different types of non-religious funerals and are a good choice for families seeking best practice for their loved one’s own service.

There aren’t any official qualifications civil celebrants must possess, so check they’re recognised or trained by industry associations such as The Institute of Civil Funerals, Association of Independent Celebrants and UK Society of Celebrants. This is something Co-op Funeral Directors can help you with. We can also recommend civil celebrants we’ve worked with in the past, so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’re considering this option.

Religious funerals

Most religious funerals involve traditions and customs that have lasted hundreds or thousands of years. This often means only a qualified religious leader has the right amount of knowledge to conduct one.

Many religions, however, offer ways to settle on a religious leader of your choosing. In many Christian denominations, for example, any priest approved by your local parish priest can conduct a funeral, giving you the option to meet with several candidates before making your decision.

Speak to your local religious institution and read our blogs on Catholic, Hindu, Jewish and Pentecostal funerals about the options available.

Further information

If you have any questions about who can conduct funeral services, please do not hesitate to speak to one of our team at Co-op Funeral Directors.

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