FAQ: End of Life Ceremony

How can you Help us Nick?

I officiate at ceremonies related to a cremation, burial, funeral or Celeration of Life. First, I help families plan the content for the occasion. Then, I officiate at the event. I will collaborate closely with your funeral service provider. Or I can help you plan a memorial event after a private funeral or cremation. You can count on my complete attention. Feel free to call me when you feel ready.

Your family not now or never affiliated with a religion or church?

Many families are no longer or never have been part of a faith or a faith community. You may feel uneasy about traditional funeral or cremation ceremonies. They are often held in a chapel, at a graveside, or other formal setting. That’s what we see in the movies. However, most funeral homes today will be happy to accommodate other options. You can also organize a memorial for extended family and friends after a quiet, private burial. Please contact me to talk about new ways to honour your loved one. My goal is to help you honour and celebrate the life of your loved one.

What role does a celebrant fill during a funeral, memorial, cremation or burial?

Please read my blog post Six Key Tasks for A Celebrant at a Memorial.

What can I expect when I call you about being our funeral celebrant?

During our initial phone conversation, I will ask you some basic questions as follows:

  • The name and age of the deceased person.
  • Key facts you wish to share about the deceased person’s family and/or friends (e.g. names of surviving partner/spouse and any children, siblings, other significant individuals).
  • The name of your funeral home and funeral director.
  • Or your preferred location if planning a memorial after a private burial.
  • We will set up a time to meet to further discuss the ceremony.
  • Other family members can be part of this discussion if you wish.
Can our family just attend the cremation or funeral ceremony while you do most of the planning?

Yes. For many different reasons, many families prefer for me to plan the cremation or burial ceremony. Contact me at any time. With your permission, I will contact your funeral home director to ensure collaboration and avoid overlap of activities and services.

How do you work with a Funeral Home?

I am not qualified to provide the many excellent professional services provided by Funeral Directors. I only help to plan the content of the cremation, funeral or memorial itself and will officiate at the event. For example, you may want to select music or think about some readings. Often, families ask me to say a prayer, read a reflection or share a poem. I can help you find appropriate content and music.

I will normally give an opening talk that sets the tone based on what I learn about the person you are mourning. You may want to think about who you want to invite to say a few words during the occasion. There are different options. I can provide a full eulogy about the deceased person if that’s your preference. Also, I can read speeches on behalf of friends or family members who wish to share but prefer not to be in front of a microphone. A funeral celebrant like myself sometimes fills a role similar to tasks completed by a “master of ceremonies.”

Can you help organize a ceremony for an Memorial after a private burial?

Yes. I can come to any location within the Ottawa region.

What are your fees?

My Officiant fees for cremations, funerals and burials are often handled by your Funeral Director. My fee will generally be included within the Funeral Home’s overall invoice to you and will usually be around $400 which includes HST and mileage within the Ottawa region.

If you are planning your memorial event after the burial, I will invoice you or arrange an e-transfer.

Are there any other costs associated with your services?

Additional travel charges may apply for events located outside the Capital region. I serve the entire Ottawa Valley, including Ottawa, Orléans, Kanata, Nepean, Barrhaven, Kemptville, Smith Falls. Contact me anytime.

Other questions?

The Ontario Funeral Association has many resources listed on its excellent website or visit my resources page.