Secular funeral celebrants cling to the fiction that they work for their clients. They don’t. Their clients get to choose the coffin they want (they might go for something really expensive) but they don’t get to choose their celebrant, they get lumped with their celebrant. Celebrants work for funeral directors, who hold them in dependency.
That’s how the funeral directors see it. According to a report in the Funeral Service Journal (June 2010), Stephen Benson, civil celebrant, recently attended a meeting of the British Institute of Funeral Directors (BIFD). “A straw poll revealed that he had actually conducted a ceremony for over half the members present in the room.” This sentence tickles me. It makes it sound as if half of the undertakers present were dead. Perhaps they were.
Occasionally a celebrant will be contacted directly by a client, usually one who has seen the celebrant in action or received a recommendation from a friend. When this happened to me recently I was surprised when the funeral director came up to me after the funeral and said, “Thank you so much for doing this for us.” I won’t tell you what words I leashed in tightly behind my indulgent smile.
Unlike coffins, celebrants are available on the open market and can be inspected, rejected and selected at funeralcelebrants.org.uk. Recommended.