What Is a Life Celebrant?

What is a Life Celebrant?

A celebrant designs and conducts an event celebrating an individual’s life. Meeting and getting to know family and friends, the celebrant gathers information and ideas. The result is a unique, well-told life story.

Many elements can be combined in the tribute. Favorite stories, family pictures, and beloved music are often included, as well as videos, readings, and prayers. There might be a ritual related to the person’s passion, such as a baker known by her family and friends for her Irish Soda Bread. Bites of her treasured bread recipe were passed in baskets during the service and personalized recipe cards with her famous bread noted next to her picture, handed out as keepsakes for all who attended her service.

When the event will be a small, intimate gathering, a family member is often confident enough to coordinate the service. But with a larger funeral or memorial service, the responsibilities grow in terms of time-keeping, ensuring that people have the opportunity to speak, and shaping a ceremony that flows. This is where a celebrant is invaluable.

Many people in today’s culture consider themselves to be spiritual, but not necessarily religious. Often a celebrant is used when a family decides to forgo a traditional religious service, but still wants someone to orchestrate and present a personalized observance. And when there is a religious service, a celebrant can still be there to offer a unique tribute during a traditional funeral conducted by clergy.

Trained and certified, celebrants can create meaningful ceremonies for other life passages. These include weddings, baby-namings, adoption welcomings, birthdays, and other personal milestones.

Commemorating a person’s whole life, though, is what draws most celebrants to their work. Many have experienced major losses themselves. A ceremony, they believe, can light the way to healing. They know grief doesn’t go away, but that a thoughtful, well-done life celebration may help ease the pain.