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.
I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one.Afterglow – Anon
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.
“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
Fees & Processes
Advance Funeral Planning: £200 (payable in 2 stages)
You will pay £100 once the ceremony is written and £100 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: £200
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.
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
Hello Anne-Marie, I’m just with my mum and we wanted to just say again how much we appreciated everything you did for Dad’s funeral – and the caring, thoughtful and organised way you did it.
Paul and Betty
Thank you so much for your wonderful presence and memories of Robert. You were perfect.
Words alone cannot convey how very grateful we are for the beautiful service you created for my mum. You were so kind and thoughtful and receiving a copy of the service was very special. So many of our friends and family commented on how genuine and ‘real’ the service was – so a huge Thank-You from us all.
Lisa, Patrick, Alice, Thomas, Peter, Rachel and Lewis
Thank you for everything you have done, it means a lot to me and my family. Even down to taking the time to get to know us and understanding things about us. Your compassion is so appreciated at a time so scary and upsetting for me, made more bearable by such a lovely caring kind person.
Dionne and family
From the first phone call with Anne-Marie to enquire about conducting our father’s funeral she put us at our ease and gave us confidence that the ceremony would be in capable and secure hands… Anne- Marie’s advice, attention to detail and professionalism helped us put together a very personal ceremony which was appreciated by family and friends alike and which did our father proud.
Alison and Jane
Absolutely amazing. I lost my Dad and asked if Anne-Marie would conduct the ceremony at the graveside. She went above and beyond and made my Dads send off the best she could. I couldn’t fault anything. And for that I’m so grateful. Everyone that attended the ceremony said how beautifully conducted it was. Would 100% recommend Anne-Marie.
Thank you for making such a difficult day more bearable not only with your professionalism but heartfelt and sincere words. You summed up my mum, Norma, perfectly. She was a tour de force of that there is no doubt! But was also our mum and you saw that side of her too.
I just wanted to say thank you for all you did today and in the build up. You really did my mum proud and made it very special for all of us. I know she would have loved it. I also really appreciate all the preparation you did too. You obviously put a lot of time and effort and also care into everything and words cannot describe how grateful I am that you were there to see mum off.
Thank you so much for the lovely service you gave yesterday. Our son, together with several relatives and friends of mum were able to watch live yesterday. They have all said how special it was and how much they enjoyed it. It means a lot to us to feel that mum had such a good send off.
Val and John
Thankyou so very much for the beautiful folder and script of the celebration of life, it is something we will treasure. The eulogy was a perfect picture of Pat and her life and put together in a way that included all our thoughts and memories and for that we also thank you.
K & J Walker
Thank you so much for the copy of mum’s Celebration of Life Ceremony, it is beautifully presented and I will treasure it. We were so pleased with the service and we will always be grateful to you for all your hard work and attention to detail making sure all the family’s memories were included, it made it very special.
I would just like to take this opportunity to thank you on behalf of myself, my family and all who attended Margaret’s funeral. Everyone has commented on what a beautiful service and reading that you provided. A lot of them said it really brought back many happy memories of when Margaret was a younger and healthier young lady.
Les and family
Thank you for all your efforts in today’s funeral. I think Heidi’s hug said it all and I am really pleased that she was happy with everything. Jane and I agreed you projected yourself clearly, confidently and held a safe space in the chapel for the family. Thank you again for the level of detail in the scripted service which was very reassuring.
Full Circle Funerals
We would like to thank you for such a lovely ceremony. Everyone was so impressed what a lovely send off for John. Thank you again.
I was very impressed with the style and content of the Crematorium service and the delivery of it by Anne-Marie was superb, a truly professional homage to B’s life. I had never been to a crematorium service without hymns before and I found it very refreshing indeed, so much so that I think I might steal the format for my own service! What a send-off B got!
Thank you, Anne-Marie, for making B’s funeral the wonderful celebration of his life that it was. A great comfort to me, the boys and B’s family. Thank you so much.
Our family are eternally grateful to Anne-Marie for creating such a personal funeral ceremony for my Mother who died recently at the age of 105. The celebration of a long and happy life.
Just a quick note from me to stay a huge thank you for everything you did for the ceremony and celebration. You really made a positive difference and things would not have worked so well without you.