Services

There are as many ways of holding a funeral or memorial service as there are people. My approach is to work with you to help you create the service that reflects the individual life and spirit of the person who has died.

Many people think that as soon as someone dies they must act quickly and begin preparing for the funeral straight away. Please know there is no rush. You will need to call a doctor and I recommend you do this as soon as possible. After this, please do things at your own pace and do not feel pressured to make any decisions. This is the beginning of your goodbye – it is probably a deeply sad time for you, but it is also a unique and important moment in your relationship with the person who has died. You should go as quickly or as slowly as is right for you.

Traditional

Your relationship with me will probably begin with a short phone call. I am an independent celebrant which means you can contact me directly or ask a funeral director to contact me on your behalf. Funeral directors often recommend celebrants they know, but if you know a celebrant you would like to use you are always able to ask.

After our phone call, I will come and meet with you, usually at your home. At this stage, you might have a strong idea about how you would like the funeral to proceed or you might be looking to me for guidance and suggestions. I can act as a simple guide and coordinator, or I can create the entire ceremony. I am also happy to be there with you when you first meet the funeral director to make sure that we all understand your needs right from the start.

From here, I will work with you and other relevant family and friends to create and coordinate the service. Working closely with family members and friends, I can write a eulogy for you, help you to prepare one, or give you some simple advice and techniques.

On the day of the funeral, depending on what we have planned I will either conduct the funeral service or support you as you do it with your family and friends. Throughout the day, I will work closely with the funeral director to make sure you feel fully supported.

Fees:
My standard fee for a funeral or memorial service is $400.
This is an all-inclusive fee and covers our family interview where we can discuss the format and content; all follow-up interviews or clarifications conducted by phone or email; travel within the Adelaide metropolitan region; writing the ceremony; writing the eulogy if required or offering any guidance on writing the eulogy; help with selecting content such as poetry, readings, or music as required; conducting the service according to your instructions; a written and an electronic copy of the service.
For services greater than two hours or outside the Adelaide metropolitan region there may be additional costs such as travel costs, but I will always discuss these with you first.

Memorial services

A memorial service is usually held some time after the death. It might be an additional service held some time after the funeral. There are many reasons you might want to have a memorial. One of the most common is when a person was living interstate or overseas, but you want to hold another service for friends and family who couldn’t be there. But there are many other reasons too: often, people will have a smaller ceremony for the interment of ashes; if it was a sudden or unexpected death you might need time to think about what you want to do, so decide to have the burial or cremation then hold the ceremony at a later time; perhaps an important person was travelling overseas or couldn’t be there for some reason. For all these reasons and many more, you might want a memorial service.

Fees:
The fee for an interment of ashes is $250. The standard fee for a funeral or memorial service is $400, and the majority of services fall into this range. However, for more complex arrangements (such as services running longer than two hours) a fee will be negotiated upfront.
If you would like to begin with a meeting to discuss your requirements, I charge a flat fee of $100 for a meeting of up to two hours. (This fee is later waived if you decide you would like me to coordinate or conduct a service).

Green or eco funerals

One of the greatest gifts my parents left me was a small share in a heritage block in the Flinders Ranges. It has no material value–it cannot be ‘developed’ or sold for profit–but it is a true treasure.

Many of us have spent our lives trying to create a life that doesn’t harm our environment, and we want to make sure our final acts and choices reflect that too. Some of those choices are obvious, for example, the materials used for the coffin. But you want a service that reflects your life’s philosophy too.

As someone who became a vegetarian in her twenties, marched in anti-nuclear rallies led by Peter Garrett, and finds peace in the smell of a lemon-scented gum, I know that a green funeral goes even deeper than the tangible choices that people will see. I craft ceremonies that truly reflect your life’s philosophy.

Fees:
My standard fee for a funeral or memorial service is $400, and the majority of services fall into this range. However, for more complex arrangements (such as services running longer than two hours) a fee will be negotiated upfront.
If you would like to begin with a meeting to discuss your requirements, I charge a flat fee of $100 for a meeting of up to two hours. (This fee is later waived if you decide you would like me to coordinate or conduct a service).

 

Alternative

Perhaps you have been reading or hearing about the shift towards alternative funerals. Of course ‘alternative’ means different things to different people. For some people, alternative might mean moving the ceremony to a place of deeper personal significance like a much-loved garden or camping spot. For some, it might mean incorporating particular loves or passions such as art or performance. A funeral is a deeply personal experience, and you should feel free to develop a funeral that reflects your unique life.

As an independent celebrant I can help you to create a funeral that reflects your individual requirements. My involvement can be as simple as a meeting to help you talk through the options, or I can be more deeply involved helping to create and coordinate the entire ceremony.

There is also a growing interest in death care at home, and some people want to be involved at all stages including caring for a loved one’s body — I recommend talking this through with a trusted doctor or nurse and contacting a funeral director as soon as possible (even before the death if that is appropriate for you) so that you understand what will be involved for your particular situation.

Fees:
My standard fee for a funeral or memorial service is $400, and the majority of services fall into this range. However, for more complex arrangements (such as services running longer than two hours) a fee will be negotiated upfront.
If you would like to begin with a meeting to discuss your requirements, I charge a flat fee of $100 for a meeting of up to two hours. (This fee is later waived if you decide you would like me to coordinate or conduct a service).

 

Pre-planning

Do people really want to plan their own funerals? Yes, many people do. I do, and perhaps you do too. You might be wanting to relieve the stress for the people you love. You might be seeking ways to make peace with your mortality. Some people might even want to have a service before they die, giving themselves a chance to say goodbye to the people they have loved and who have loved them.

Many funeral directors have a pre-paid service that will cover the costs of a funeral’s logistics. But if you are looking for guidance or help with pre-planning your service–the format, music, readings for example–it also makes sense to meet with a celebrant.

Fees:
My standard fee is $100 for a pre-planning meeting of up to two hours. The cost of this meeting is taken off the cost of the service if it is conducted by me.

Special circumstances

There is no hierarchy of grief, but of course some deaths are more difficult than others. This difficulty might come from a complex relationship or it might come from a death that is particularly painful to experience. My mother’s sudden death in a car accident is one example, but there are many.

Please feel free to get in touch to discuss particular concerns or sensitive issues that you feel might arise.

 

Feminist funerals

Vivimento was named after my mum, Vivienne, whose final day was a profound lesson in what ‘the personal is political’ really means. (You can read about it here).

If you, like Vivienne, have spent your whole life smashing the patriarchy, thank you! Or perhaps you are organising a funeral for someone like my mum. I will help to make sure the ceremony not only honours their feminism, but truly reflects their life’s philosophy.