Would you ever marry them?

Charles 11 Comments



We are pleased to publish the email below, which raises a potentially interesting point of discussion. The name of the sender has, with our agreement, been redacted.

Dear Charles

I read with interest yesterday’s blog about the Funeral Director who has diversified into organising other ‘life events’. I can’t for the life of me decide whether or not what you say is fantasy and poppycock, or whether this man actually exists. On the grounds that truth is infinitely more depressing than fiction, I have decided to believe that he exists.

But that is not why I am writing to you. Much the more interesting matter you raised was one you merely touched on — or to be precise, glanced off. You say this man was ‘inspired’ by the example of an ‘all-rounder’ celebrant (what my close celebrant friends and I refer to more bluntly as a promiscuous celebrant). I am pointing the finger here at celebrants who ‘sleep around’ with other rites of passage. I bump into a great many of them, these days, at the crematorium. Their talk is all of wedding ‘fayres’ and fripperies.

Now, I am a funeral celebrant. I have been a funeral celebrant for seventeen years. In all that time I have been as minded to conduct a wedding ceremony as walk to the South Pole in carpet slippers.

I have a question I would like to address, with your indulgence, Charles, to any celebrants out there brave enough to put their heads above the parapet and speak out.

Celebrants, if it was funerals that drew you to celebrancy; if, for you, funeral celebrancy is a vocation, can officiating at ‘lesser rites’ be seen as a natural extension of that vocation? Would you, do you, ever do it?


  1. Charles

    Not I.

    My heart’s not anywhere near engaged with weddings – and I’ve always said so when asked. I love a good wedding, and want the ceremony to rock. But it’s not within range.
    Mr Come all Ye in Kent is a different species – and sounds like he’s providing his posse with a service they welcome and like. ‘House removals’ amazed me and made me laugh out loud. I’m still in awe of his chutzpah. Still laughing …..

  2. Charles

    I think he’s in there with that man up the ladder Charles dreamt up, but who knows?

    I did a wedding once for some friends of my son’s, just for the craic really, and I enjoyed it because I was part of it and may well have gone along anyway. The thing about a funeral, though, is it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event, not like this pair!

  3. Charles

    The person who wrote this read my mind. I see myself as a funeral celebrant, it’s where my emotions and skill set lies. I have three weddings booked for this year, and to be honest all three are filling me with a sense of foreboding. I think I may have to take the wedding and naming ceremony pages off my website because whilst I can do them, and with vigour and commitment, they’re just “not me”.

  4. Charles

    Weddings and namings are not for me, I’m afraid. I dallied with it, and would probably do it if expressly asked by someone I know, but I am not drawn to it at all.

    I know celebrants who work the broader spectrum and they seem to like it but I feel that funerals are the most meaningful of the three ceremonies. Maybe it is simply the difference between vocation and occupation.

    1. Charles

      Ouch! Why can doing the best you do – be it funeral, baby naming, or wedding not be a vocation?
      if you believe you are doing the very best you can in whatever situation and doing it because you believe you are doing the right thing surely that is a vocation?

      Vocation -a strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation.

  5. Charles

    I’ve once done a baby naming. The daughter of the man whose funeral was the first I’d ever done contacted me to say she’d had a baby & they’d like me to do the naming. And I loved it (think they did too); so good to celebrate something hopeful, especially after the traumatic circs of the grandfather’s death.

    I don’t do weddings, largely out of my own scepticism about marriage. But i don’t see why being keen on doing funerals means you can’t also want to assist with other occasions.

  6. Charles

    I have been a celebrant for almost 6 years. For the last 2 years I have been taking baby naming and wedding ceremonies as well as funerals.

    Some of those ceremonies have been for families who I originally met through funerals, who came back to me, as a family connection, to be involved in a happy occasion.

    A ceremony is a ceremony and it is important in them all that the family involved get the ceremony they want – individual and personal. It is nice to be involved in a happy occasion and IMHO does not detract in any way from the funeral ceremonies I am involved in.

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