Sometimes, it’s the words that are spoken at funeral services that make them the most memorable to the people who attend. When you’re planning your loved one’s final farewell, it’s important to take some time to choose the speakers carefully.

How many speakers should you have?

There is no set structure that you need to follow, it is your choice whether to have one speaker or ten.

When choosing speakers, you could consider choosing speakers that will talk about different parts of your loved one’s life. For example, someone could talk about their early years, someone else could speak about their time at university, and someone else could speak about their later years. Or, they could talk about the different important aspects of their life, for example, their families, their work, any volunteering or interest groups they were involved in, any sports clubs etc.

What does a celebrant do?

A celebrant or emcee officiates funerals, burials, cremations, memorials and the scattering of ashes. Their responsibility is to lead and oversee the ceremony/service, starting and finishing the service, performing official duties within the service and coordinating activities in between. They are there to guide and manage the service to make sure everything is running smoothly on the day and to help coordinate the different speakers.

Choosing a funeral celebrant

A celebrant or emcee can be anyone you choose. It could be a friend of the person who has passed away or someone who is part of the wider family.  It can be difficult for someone very close to the deceased to be able to perform these duties.

If you have religious connections to a faith community, the leader of that community would usually take the service as part of their role. If your religious beliefs are not so strongly identified, you may prefer a less formalised service. For example, if your family is Christian but doesn’t belong to any particular Church, you can choose a non-denominational service based on Christian beliefs, taken by a lay preacher or celebrant and tailored to your personal needs.

You can hire a funeral celebrant who is a member of the community who has a special interest in leading public ceremonies, and who would also typically be a celebrant at weddings and/or naming ceremonies. They will spend time with you and your family in the days leading up to the service, to get to know you all and understand your wishes for the service.



Writing a eulogy

A eulogy is speaking about someone’s life, memories shared and moments experienced to give tribute to the person who has died and the lives they have impacted throughout their lifetime. A eulogy can offer comfort and support to loved ones.

Lean more about writing a eulogy

You don't have to hire a funeral celebrant, you can ask a family friend or relative, or a religious figure.