Unique tribute ceremony for an iconic community building

Cheers for Hornsey Town Hall, an iconic community building in the heart of Crouch End that is closing its doors for redevelopment. Screenshot from video by Sugarsweet Productions The vast majority of the ceremonies I lead are for people: babies who are given a warm welcome into the world; couples who commit their love to[…]

Forget-me-nots and other subtle ways to honour a loved one at your wedding ceremony

Meghan Markle’s wedding bouquet included forget-me-nots, Diana, Princess of Wales’, favourite flowers. Prince Harry had handpicked them. I was quite moved by this detail. A subtle, gentle, heartfelt and truly personal way for Harry and Meghan to honour Harry’s mother.   Honouring a continuous bond When you are getting married you would like to be[…]

How planning your funeral (and talking about it) benefits you and your loved ones

Sculpture on grave at Zorgvlied Cemetery, Amsterdam   Discussing your own funeral is not something you typically do at the dinner table, at a friend’s birthday party or during a coffee break at work. For many people, death is something they rather not think or talk about. It might evoke fear, sad feelings or images[…]

How to grieve an invisible loss: 5 rituals for miscarriage

              More than one in five pregnancies ends in a miscarriage. That’s about a quarter of a million in the UK each year. Everyone who has had or is going to a pregnancy loss or miscarriage will experience this in their own way. Not everyone will feel the same.[…]

The future of funerals: what the UK funeral industry can learn from the Dutch

A few weeks ago, I went on a funeral field trip to The Netherlands. I was curious to learn more about the funeral practices in my home country. The Dutch are well known for the relaxed, personal and innovative way of dealing with their dead. What can de UK funeral world learn from their neighbours?[…]

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[…]

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[…]