In Conversation With

What to Expect When You Meet Funeral Celebrants Just Ceremonies?

Amanda-Louise Funeral Services
February 16, 2023

In Conversation with Just Ceremonies and Amanda-Louise Funeral Directors

Funeral Director Amanda-Louise met Funeral Celebrants Jackie Aldrich and Deb Stodgell from Just Ceremonies when they came to visit our funeral home in Minehead, near Taunton, Somerset. Jackie and Deb spoke about how they support families who want a celebrant-led funeral service:-

Jackie and Deb told us: "When a loved one dies the emotion and grief may sweep you up but specific responsibilities need to be carried out, including arranging the funeral. You may have had an opportunity to speak to the person who has died before their death, and you may have some understanding of their wishes regarding their funeral service. You may wish to include some religious content or quite the opposite and have none.

On the other hand, you may have no idea where to start, what to ask or who to approach for help. A funeral celebrant is now a popular choice for officiating at ceremonies and they can help you through this stage. The ceremony should be unique and leave you celebrating the life, remembering their achievements, those special memories and the essence of the person that each of us has."

Jackie and Deb, once the family have decided they want you as their chosen celebrant to conduct the funeral service, what happens?

"You should expect us to arrange a time to visit you face to face. We want you to feel comfortable talking to either of us as your chosen celebrant as we want to learn about the life of the person who has died, so we can provide that personalised funeral service. You may want to invite other family members to this meeting.

You should allow for this meeting to be 1 – 2 hours and either of us will guide you through the process of deciding the content for the funeral ceremony to best celebrate your loved one’s life. This may include music, readings or poems, tributes from family or friends, maybe photos but most importantly your loved one’s story.

We would start by checking we have all the correct information for the funeral; place, date and time, full names, dates of birth. They ask the family about any ideas they already have (if any) for the ceremony. We would also explain what would happen on the day and how the funeral might run.

We will then encourage the family to tell us about the loved one’s life. We'll lead the family gently through this process and it will enable us to include all that special information in the ceremony. It may be that a family member or friend has offered to write this story (sometimes called a eulogy) but us as the celebrant still needs to find out about your loved one for the rest of the ceremony."

That's really helpful talking about your process, what else do you cover?

"You will be encouraged to think about any music and readings you might like to include. You may have ideas for this but if not, as we now know more about your loved one and can offer ideas that may be appropriate. You may wish to include a symbolic action to mark your final farewell. Again we would be able to help here. At the end of the meeting we would leave the bereaved client our contact details in case they think of anything else to be included, or have any questions."

What happens after you have met the bereaved family?

"After the meeting, we will write a draft of the loved one’s story and send it to the client to read and make any corrections or changes. Once this is approved the rest of the script will be written ready to be delivered at the ceremony. We will liaise closely with other professionals such as Amanda-Louise the Funeral Director and crematorium or burial ground to ensure everything is organised as you wish. "

How Does Just Ceremonies Work with Amanda-Louise Funeral Director on the day of the Funeral in Somerset?

"On the day of the funeral we will be waiting for the bereaved family to arrive. We will bow when your hearse arrives at the chapel. We will wait until Amanda-Louise is happy that everything is in order for the funeral to commence, and if the family are in the limousine, then Amanda-Louise will ask them to remain in the vehicle until all is ready, then Amanda-Louise and her limousine's driver open the doors of the vehicle.

The family and mourners will either already be seated in the chapel, or they may have preferred to walk behind the coffin. Amanda-Louise will invite us as Celebrant to lead the procession into the chapel or church, followed by the coffin carried by her professional pall bearers accompanied with Amanda-Louise who will together safely lie the coffin on the catafalque. Then we will bow together as a mark of respect to the person who has died. Amanda-Louise then nods to us as Celebrant as a gesture of handing over the reigns to us.

That's when we will take the ceremony, inviting people to take part if thats what been decided, and ensuring that music is played at the appropriate times. At the end of the service, we bow to the coffin and hand back the reigns to Amanda-Louise the funeral director who will invite the family and mourners to leave the chapel. We in our celebrant duties, will wait until the family and guests have departed."

Find Out More About Just Ceremonies Who Cover Somerset Funerals

Thanks so much to Jackie and Deb for talking to us, its comforting to know what you do and your approach. For us the biggest message of all is how we all work together in harmony to provide a seamless funeral day for the bereaved. Sometimes is just being by the family's side giving that reassurance. Its certainly a comfort to know how comfortable you are with people providing that steady guiding hand, and the warmth you both bring.

If you want to find out more about either Debs or Jackie from Just Ceremonies Funeral Celebrants, they can be found at:



Tel: Jackie Aldrich  07831 486075

Tel: Deb Stodgell 07971646717

Funeral Celebrants Jackie and Deb from Just Ceremonies
Amanda-Louise Funeral Services
Amanda-Louise Funeral Directors 3 Blenheim Road, Minehead, Somerset, TA24 5PY (by appointment only)
‍Blog Disclaimer - the article is opinion based by the author only, the content is for information purposes only, and as such is not guaranteed. Whilst is intended to be accurate there may be some unintentional errors, mistakes or omissions and therefore may be subject of updating. In accordance with advice articles should the reader wish to rely on this information, they do so at their own risk. Any prices quoted are accurate at time of writing content.

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