It’s important that a funeral fits the life of the person you are celebrating and their beliefs. At our natural burial grounds, all are welcome. This means that we have those who are religious and non-religious resting with us. But many are still finding out that you don’t have to use a specific officiant for a funeral. You can choose the funeral officiant you want to use, that you feel comfortable with. That’s if you want a funeral service at all, for some a simple family gathering sharing a few memories over a flask of tea & beloved box of biscuits is enough.

When choosing a funeral officiant find someone you like who you feel can create the service befitting your family member or friend.

Religious ceremony held within the castle grounds at Usk.

Religious Ministers

Religious ministers play a crucial role in helping families celebrate the lives of their dear ones while respecting their religious convictions. Whether you choose to hold a complete service at the burial ground or opt for a religious venue like a church or mosque, with a committal before or after, these services are dedicated to embracing the beliefs that were dear to your family member.

The ministers are there to support you in personalising the ceremony by incorporating special moments like music, readings, and heartfelt tributes. You may have a specific minister who had a personal connection with your family member or friend.

Alternatively, you may prefer to use a religious venue, such as a local church or mosque, to hold the service. It’s essential that you feel comfortable with the minister you choose and that your requests are taken into consideration. If you have any concerns, you can inform your funeral director or find someone else to talk to who can enable you to arrange a fitting farewell.

It’s also worth noting that we can bless individual plots at our burial grounds, accommodating specific requirements. For example, if a Christian burial necessitates the grave facing east or a Muslim burial requires it to face Mecca, we are able to accommodate such arrangements.

If you’re looking for a minister, church, mosque, or temple in your local area, the following links may be helpful:

If you prefer a ceremony that includes a religious element but is not explicitly religious, you can consider an Independent Celebrant or Civil Celebrant.

Independent Celebrants & Civil Celebrants

Independent or civil celebrants, specialise in crafting funeral services that do not revolve around religious beliefs. These celebrant-led services, often referred to as “Celebrations of Life”, are designed to reflect the wishes and values of both the family and the deceased, making each service unique and tailored specifically for them.

While these ceremonies can be entirely non-religious, celebrants also have the flexibility to incorporate religious elements if desired. This can be helpful if you want a hymn, prayer, or religious song without a fully religious service. It is also useful when families have diverse faith backgrounds and want to include elements from different religions in the funeral.

Celebrant-led ceremonies offer great flexibility. They can take place on the day of the burial in a memorial shelter, marquee, or at the graveside. Alternatively, you can choose a venue or hold the ceremony in the comfort of your own home. These services are ideal for those seeking an alternative to traditional funerals or for those who prefer a simple burial with a celebrant-led memorial service at a later date. Additionally, celebrants can support families who wish to lead the service themselves but need help crafting the funeral words.

Celebrants come from diverse backgrounds, and each celebrant has their own unique style. It’s crucial to find a celebrant who aligns with your family’s values and preferences. While a venue or funeral director may recommend a celebrant, the choice ultimately rests with you. Take the time to speak with a few celebrants and choose the one that feels right for you and your family.

Several associations exist to support and maintain the professionalism of celebrants:

These associations ensure that celebrants are qualified, adhere to a code of conduct, and have appropriate insurance coverage.

The Association of Independent Celebrants

Find local celebrants

To find local celebrants affiliated with the Association of Independent Celebrants (AOIC), you can consult their directory. Additionally, they provide a list of suppliers that may be helpful when arranging a funeral.

Visit their directory at:

Humanist celebrants

Humanist celebrants create unique and personal “celebrations of life.” These ceremonies are non-religious and focus on the individual’s experiences. They don’t include hymns or rituals, aligning with the humanist belief in the value of each unique life. Some humanists may allow silent prayer, while others won’t. Similar to independent celebrants, there are various humanist celebrants to choose from. The goal is to find the right one who can help you create a meaningful celebration.

Humanist ceremonies can happen anywhere, during the funeral or as a memorial service later on. Celebrants follow a code of conduct and are members of humanist societies like Humanists UK and Humanist Society Scotland. To learn more and find local celebrants, visit their website.

A small gathering for a funeral led by friends and family at Aylesbury Vale natural burial meadow.

Family Member or Friend

Sometimes families prefer to have someone they know to take charge of the funeral service, allowing for a family-led approach. If you have a confident family member or friend who is comfortable with public speaking, they can lead the funeral service for you.

Alternatively, if you have someone who is comfortable speaking but needs help in creating the ceremony, you can enlist the support of an independent celebrant. They can assist you in designing and writing a ceremony that can be presented by your family member or friend. While the celebrant may not be physically present on the day of the funeral, they can provide guidance in crafting the service. In some cases, celebrants may also be available as backup attendees to offer support if your family member or friend finds it too challenging to speak. Since grief affects individuals differently, having this option can provide reassurance. You can specify the level of support you require based on your needs.

It’s important to understand that family members and friends conducting the service do not have the same insurance coverage and public liability as professional officiants. If you choose not to have an official officiant present on the day and any issues arise during the ceremony, the responsibility falls on the family.

A woman holding a bunch of poppies as a tribute at a military funeral

Military Funeral

If you wish to have a Military Funeral or Veteran funeral at a natural burial ground, it is possible. You can combine a natural burial with military elements such as the last post or a flag on the coffin. Military representatives or organisations can assist with these aspects.

For more information on planning a funeral, you can visit Veterans Bereavement Support. Veterans UK also provides support in the event of a veteran or service person’s death.

The Royal British Legion offers help and advice for funerals and may arrange for a representative or standard bearer to attend the funeral.

A beautiful wicker coffin placed on lush green grass with wild flowers around it at Pembrokeshire natural burial meadow

No Officiant

It’s essential to know that having an officiant at a funeral is not mandatory. If you prefer, you can opt for a simple gathering where family and friends come together, listen to music, and bid farewell with a flower or poem when lowering the coffin.

A designated organiser can arrange these elements and say a few words, allowing for a personal and straightforward send-off without an officiant. Some families have even brought tea and biscuits, sharing a chat over a cuppa before lowering the coffin. They added personal touches like a final tractor journey to the graveside, but their moment to celebrate and say goodbye was through sharing memories.

Our Useful Contacts

To find an officiant near our natural burial grounds, visit the specific location page for a list of useful contacts. Click on the desired location, navigate to the useful contacts section, and scroll down to find officiants. These are individuals who have requested to be on our list but feel free to explore other options as well.

These are the available choices we are aware of for selecting an officiant. If there’s an option we haven’t included in this guide that you believe we should know about, please contact us.