The simple answer is no. Unlike a wedding there is no legal requirement to have anyone officiate at a funeral. Some people will prefer to have a direct cremation or burial where there is no ceremony at all (and no family present). Some want a very reduced ceremony with only a small number present and no eulogy or tribute – maybe just some music. Other families will decide they want to have a ceremony but to do it themselves.

But it can be very daunting to conduct a funeral for a loved one and it’s worth noting that a celebrant can assist in different ways. Sometimes a family will ask me to write and deliver a eulogy, read any poems that they choose and put together suitable words of farewell. In other words they leave all of the delivery of the ceremony to me.

Other times a family member may wish to write and deliver a eulogy or tribute themselves. Someone else may read a poem. My role is to pull the whole ceremony together (but also to stand ready in case anyone is unable to continue – a funeral is always a very emotional time).

Sometimes I am asked to read tributes sent in by friends, colleagues and family.

There might be times when a family member or a close friend wants to conduct the ceremony themselves and just wants some practical advice from a celebrant on how to do that. I’m happy to do that and, of course that would be reflected in my fee.

In other words, the celebrant’s job is to help a family or friends have the ceremony they really want. It’s to suggest and enable. It’s to step forward when required and take a back seat when not.

I am always happy to chat to you before you commit to using me or anyone else as a celebrant.