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 friend wants to conduct the ceremony and just wants some advice. I’m happy to do that and, of course that would be reflected in my (reduced) 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.