Funerals: how to select the right music (and avoid the Top 10 Funeral Hits)

  What music would you like to have played at your funeral? One of your favourite songs? A traditional hymn? Should it be sombre, or rather uplifting and cheerful? Not many people plan their funeral and in our society it’s not something we usually discuss over a cuppa or a pint of beer. Which is[…]

Good Funeral Awards 2016. Death, Oscars and Two Important Questions.

Thursday, 8th September I will be attending the biggest party in the funeral world. At a glamorous lunch in London, a diverse bunch of people will be celebrating outstanding and innovative initiatives in the world of death and dying. One of the most exciting parts of the event is the announcement of the winners of the Good Funeral Awards[…]

Ode to the crematorium angels

  “Going into the tomb, they saw a young man in a white robe seated on the right side; and they were startled. But he said to them, “Don’t be alarmed! You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth (…) He isn’t here. Look, here’s the place where they laid him. Go, tell his friends, that[…]

Why death is all about life: my Death Cafe takeaway

    Update: Friday 17th June I will be hosting a Death Café at Priory Park Café (London, N8) for Crouch End Festival. Click here for more information and sign-up. When I enthusiastically told a friend that I had been to a Death Café, she looked a bit puzzled. ‘A Death Café? That sounds really[…]

Get inspired for your wedding ceremony: six examples of modern wedding rituals

When you design your own wedding ceremony, you can involve any ritual and symbol that is meaningful to you. Read, for example, in one of my other blogs, how a multi-faith couple included a personalised ritual, inspired by the Jewish wedding ceremony, to their special day. However, you don’t need to invent the wheel yourself.[…]

The tree of life: a baby naming ceremony inspired by nature

Baby naming ceremonies are always wonderful to do. They are usually informal occasions full of happiness and love. Very often, other children attend the ceremony, sharing their bubbling energy and sometimes causing a bit of chaos when they decide to do their own thing. These children keep reminding me of the fact that good preparation[…]

Departures: how to let go with beauty and dignity

Recently, I watched the film ‘Departures’, a 2008 Japanese drama by director Jōhirō Takita. The film is about a young man (Daigo Kobayashi) who, after a failed career as a cellist, stumbles across work as a nōkanshi, a traditional Japanese ritual mortician. Daigo’s work is to prepare bodies for cremation in a ceremony called encoffinment.[…]

Seven Blessings: a modern interpretation of a beautiful Jewish ritual

One of the most precious things of being a celebrant is learning a lot about the richness of rituals and ceremonies from all over the world. As an independent celebrant, I deliver ceremonies for people from all kinds of backgrounds: secular, religious and interfaith. My starting point is always with the people I meet and[…]

I do! How a celebrant can help you realise the day of your dreams

Preparing your wedding can be an extremely stressful experience. For almost one in four men (23%), it’s the most stressful thing they have ever done, compared to one in six women (16%). There is a whole list of things to decide on. What venue? Who to invite? How to make sure that everybody is going[…]