What Is a Celebrant?

I come with compassion, creativity, courage, and curiosity to a family during a time of great loss. I want to know their stories about their loved one, and I want to tell that story with gentle and gracious honesty. My greatest hope is that the process of a celebrant-led service will facilitate a family's grieving in a meaningful, healthy way.

A celebrant seeks to meet the needs of families during their time of loss by providing support during the initial stage of grief and by creating a customized funeral and memorial service that reflects the personality of the person who died.

  • A celebrant will meet with the family to hear stories and memories about the person who died (1-3 hours). 
  • A celebrant will spend 8-10 hours preparing a funeral service based on the stories shared during the family meeting and will partner with the funeral director to create a personalized funeral or memorial service (life tribute) that fits the family, the person who died, and encourages healthy grieving.
  • Celebrants can conduct services wherever best meets the family's needs: funeral home chapels, parks, gardens, beaches, boats, homes, etc.

A Brief History of Celebrants

In 1973, Australia established a marriage celebrant program to as an alternative to Registry Office and religious weddings in response to the country's secular movement. New Zealand followed suit, and both countries now use Celebrants to mark major life events. Doug Manning, a retired minister and speaker and writer on grief, learned of the celebrant concept while on a speaking tour of the two countries. He founded the In-Sight Institute to train Certified Celebrants. Since 1999, over 2500 Celebrants have been trained in the U.S. and Canada by the In-Sight Institute. To learn more, visit the In-Sight Institute's site.