Jess May Civil Funeral Celebrant,laughing. she has her hair up and it is orange with a fringe and she has a red rose in her hair and a folder in her hand

What is a funeral Celebrant?

A funeral Celebrant is a trained professional who creates, writes & conducts funeral ceremonies.

Funeral celebrants are trained professionals who conduct funeral or memorial services in a manner that is personalised and meaningful.

Civil Funeral Celebrant Jess May smiling at the camera holding a patterned folder. She is outside and has a dress with short sleeves and orange hair.

An Independent funeral celebrant or a Humanist Funeral Celebrant is a trained professional who conducts funeral or memorial services in a creative way reflecting both the person who has died and the people most important to them.

There are many types of Celebrant. Independent Celebrants will create a ceremony for people of all faiths or none. Humanist Celebrants create funeral ceremonies which are secular and do not contain religious content.

I refer to myself as a Civil Funeral Celebrant as I can offer both secular and religious funeral ceremonies but I am not affiliated to any institution. You can find out more about Independent Celebrants here:

How is a Funeral Celebrant different to traditional clergy or other religious funeral officiants?

Unlike traditional clergy or religious leaders, a celebrant is not affiliated with any religious denomination and can create non-religious or semi-religious ceremonies based on the beliefs and values of the person who has died and those who are saying goodbye. A Humanist will be affiliated to Humanists UK.

Jess May sitting on the beach writing. She is wearing a turquoise top and has her hair up . her hair is blue, pink and yellow and orange

As Funeral Celebrants we work closely with people to create a ceremony that reflects the life, personality, and achievements of the person who has died.

Find out more about my No Fuss funerals

an orange notebook with 3 crystals and a pen on the beach

What do Funeral Celebrants actually do?

Funeral Celebrants meet with those closest to the person who has died, to learn about who they were in life. As a Civil Funeral Celebrant I set about gathering information about their hobbies, quirks and misdemeanours as well as their passions, significant life events and legacy. With this information, celebrants like me craft a unique and personalised service that honours the individual’s memory. It is an art form and not a science.
Jess May, Civil Funeral Celebrant writing a funeral script. The image is in black and white.

What do Funeral Celebrants do during the funeral ceremony?

During the funeral or memorial service, the celebrant may lead readings, poems, and speeches, as well as facilitate rituals or symbolic acts that hold special meaning for their people.

packaged Keepsake copy of a script with a turquoise ribbon in a bow and thistles behind it on a table outdoors

Celebrants, both Independent and Humanist provide emotional support and ensure that the ceremony runs smoothly. We play a vital role in providing families with a personalised and respectful way to say goodbye to their people, regardless of their religious or spiritual beliefs.

with thanks to Charlotte Burn Photography