Planning your own Funeral

Planning your own funeral ceremony


More and more people are now choosing to plan ahead and arrange their own funeral or living ceremony, for a variety of reasons. Whatever your reason, if you’re interested in planning your own funeral then as a celebrant I can help you do this.

You may wish to plan your funeral on your own or alongside your family – whatever is best for you. We will create a unique ceremony that will be a memorable occasion for all your family and friends.

You can choose poems, readings and music that are significant and meaningful, acknowledge important relationships, include a special message for your family and friends, or base the ceremony on a particular theme. It’s always your choice.

Norma planning her own funeral ceremony with Celebrant Anne-Marie

I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one.
I’d like to leave an afterglow of smiles when life is done.
I’d like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways,
Of happy times, and laughing times, and bright and sunny days.
I’d like tears of those who grieve, to dry before the sun
Of happy memories that I leave, when life is done.

Afterglow – Anon

“Anne-Marie worked with my nana over the last couple of years to plan and arrange her funeral for when the time came. Unfortunately, the time came during the year of covid so with restrictions in place Anne-Marie adapted the plans to ensure as many as nana’s wishes were delivered. She met us at York crematorium and was sensitive, caring and a true professional. She delivered a beautiful service that whilst sad was enjoyable and very reflective of who my nana was. I couldn’t think of anyone better for the job of a celebrant and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Anne-Marie to anyone wanting to celebrate the end of a life, the start of a life or a marriage. Thank you, Anne-Marie.”

Claudia R

Arranging the practical elements of your funeral

I can discuss and advise you on these elements, but I don’t organise them directly.

The practical elements of your funeral can be arranged in advance if you wish through a funeral director and other professionals involved in providing funeral services, however this isn’t necessary when creating your ceremony.

Choosing a coffin – What will it be made of, would you like a cardboard coffin which you or your family can decorate? Or a Willow one that can be decorated with flowers. Will you choose to purchase a coffin in advance or simply share your wishes with your family?

Choosing a funeral director – you can choose a funeral director in advance or leave this to your family. If you decide to use one you can talk to them about all aspects of your funeral including what happens when you die, and how your coffin will be transported to the crematorium, cemetery or burial ground.

Where your ceremony will take place – at a crematorium, cemetery, family grave, natural burial ground or another venue of your choosing.


Planning a living ceremony



A celebration of your life with your family and friends before your death.

Another option for planning your own funeral is to create a living ceremony – giving you the opportunity to see your family and friends all together for the last time.

Having a living ceremony doesn’t mean that there can’t be a funeral after death, but living ceremonies are perfect for those who want to be present at the last celebration of their life.

During the ceremony you can speak about your own life, about what mattered to you, what motivated and inspired you and recount stories from your past. You can do this yourself or I can speak on your behalf. It is an opportunity to acknowledge important relationships, to pass on your hopes and dreams for your family and friends and to talk about your last wishes.

A living ceremony should be a special as your life. I can help you and your family to create a ceremony that is unique and meaningful for you and your loved ones. It can take place anywhere you wish and at a time to suit you.

I want you to be happy. I want to remind you that the sun may disappear for a while, but it never forgets to shine. I want you to have times when you feel like singing and dancing and laughing out loud. I want you to be able to make your good times better and your hard times easier to handle. And I wish I could find a way to tell you – in untold ways – how important you are to me.

Adapted from ‘I Want You to be Happy’ by Collin McCarty


How it Works

  • If you’re considering working with me to plan your own funeral or living ceremony, the first step is to contact me to talk through your wishes and requirements.
  • If you decide to go ahead and book me then the next step is for us to meet in person to plan the ceremony. You can share memories of your life with me, discuss what you would like to include in your ceremony, and look at the wide variety of options to enhance your ceremony, including readings, poetry, music and symbolic acts.
  • I will then create your distinctive and meaningful ceremony based on your wishes. I will send you the ceremony to check once it is complete.
  • Following our meeting I will be available by telephone and email to discuss the ceremony.
  • I will lead the ceremony on the day and I will send your family a commemorative copy to keep and treasure.

Get in touch to find out more:

Telephone: 07484 235561
Email: amledson@btinternet.com


Fees & Processes


Advance Funeral Planning: £180 (payable in 2 stages)

You will pay £90 once the ceremony is written and £90 will be payable when I lead your ceremony (the latter can be paid by your family through the funeral director).

The practical elements of your funeral can be arranged in advance if you wish through a funeral director and other professionals involved in providing funeral services, however this isn’t necessary.

Living Ceremony: £180

Additional mileage charges apply for ceremonies more than 30 miles from Wetherby, West Yorkshire. If overnight accommodation is required close to the ceremony venue this will charged at cost, following discussion with you.





Thank you so much for your excellent presentation, everyone I have spoken to all complimented you. At the start of the service there was a lot of charged emotion, as you started your presentation, people were visibly listening, and their emotional state started to improve. By the end of the service, people were smiling. People mentioned to me they had learnt a lot about Bryan. Once again, a big hearty thank you, you helped the H family and friends through a difficult day.

Mike H