Funeral Processions

The situation with COVID19 means that funeral numbers are, sadly, still heavily restricted.  It is heartbreaking talking to families who have lost loved ones but cannot say a proper goodbye because of social distancing restrictions at the crematoriums or burial sites.  Grieving relatives have found it difficult not to hug one another – or even attend the service, with numbers still limited.

There is another way that we can all pay our respects and that is by lining the streets as the funeral procession passes. I am seeing more people coming out on to the street, they bow their heads, they clap for the deceased, bringing comfort to the relatives.

A funeral procession can also pause awhile outside your loved ones home for family, neighbours and friends, who cannot be at the ceremony, to say their farewells.  The journey may then pass personal landmarks that were of significance to the loved one. One family asked the funeral director to drive past all the local pubs as friends raised a glass of real ale to show their respect. 

In this new era of social distancing there are still many ways of showing we care. 


Latest Wedding Advice – July 4th 2020

The Government have updated their advice:

“From 4 July, weddings and civil partnerships will be allowed to take place. You should only invite close friends and family, up to a maximum of 30 people. The wedding exception is for wedding ceremonies only. Large wedding receptions or parties should of course not be taking place. Wedding celebrations can only happen when people follow the guidance of six people outdoors, support bubbles, or two households indoors or outdoors. It is critical for these guidelines to be observed to keep you and your family and friends as safe as possible”

What does this mean to couples who want to get married and also have all their friends and family with them?

Go ahead with the legal marriage as soon as you can within these guidelines – even just with two witnesses.  Remember that Registrars are getting booked up very quickly at the moment. 

Then plan the wonderful celebration that you have always dreamed of, free of all legal restrictions, when you can all get together again.

I will help you plan the perfect ceremony unique to you both just as I did for Joyce and Jiapeng last year at Bovey Castle.

Contact Sarah on 07870763304 for more details

Wedding Ceremonies Update

In these uncertain times, planning a wedding is becoming harder.  The Government website states clearly that:

‘You cannot get married or register a civil partnership at the moment because of coronavirus (COVID-19). If you’ve already booked a civil ceremony, contact the register office.’

From the contact I have had with couples with a marriage or civil partnership already booked, it seems that some registration districts are having to tell couples in advance that they will not be able to conduct their marriage on the planned date.

Therefore some couples have opted to plan a celebrant-led commitment ceremony followed later by the legal formalities at the register office when it becomes possible.

It may also be that some couples need to change venues for their ceremony as some venues may not even re-open at all and, when permitted, some will reopen earlier than others.

As a Celebrant I can help as I can conduct ceremonies anywhere, without any licencing or regulations.

Contact Sarah for more information so that you can have the ceremony of your dreams.

Alternative ways to saying goodbye

As the rules surrounding Funerals change, you may be deciding that Direct Cremation is the best option to protect your family. But you may be thinking, if you cannot hug each other and hold hands, how can you grieve together? In these uncertain times, I have been working on a few alternative ways to truly celebrate the life of your loved ones. 

Creating a bespoke ceremony

Talking to you and your family about your loved one, I will create a ceremony that is a celebration of their unique life. It will reflect your (and their) wishes, beliefs and values and can include spiritual content and prayer. To listen and create your bespoke ceremony, we can talk by phone, email and online communication tools such as Skype or Zoom.

You then have a choice of a Virtual Ceremony now or, when this pandemic is over and we emerge out the other side, you can then get together to hold a Celebration of Life, Memorial or Scattering of Ashes Ceremony.

Virtual Ceremony

Once I have written your ceremony, we arrange a time and date to perform the ceremony virtually, this could even be 9pm so that relatives in Australia can be included! You all then join the Virtual Ceremony using your preferred device; smartphone, tablet or computer, or you can listen to the ceremony through an ordinary landline.

You may like to create a special space around you for the ceremony; put up photographs and light candles. To make it personal, you might want to dress in their favourite colours or play some of their favourite music while you’re waiting for the ceremony to begin.

Although a traditional wake or reception will not be held afterwards, you could make and eat a special meal or cake, or raise a glass in their memory. Even when the formal ceremony ends, you could reconnect virtually and continue to share your memories.

Celebration of Life

If you opt for a Celebration of Life or Memorial Ceremony, I’ll create your ceremony now and we’ll stay connected to agree a date in the future when you can all get together. These ceremonies have no time constraints and can be held anywhere that is important to you. Ideas include sunrise on a beach, an afternoon tea on a river boat or a lavish evening celebration in a favourite hotel.

Nearer the time, I can update the ceremony with more of your memories but for now you could start collecting items to celebrate their life. Why not create a Memory Table to display their achievements and hobbies, in fact, anything they were proud of. You could organise a slide show or video of their life accompanied by their favourite music. If it is “Rocking All Over the World” wouldn’t that be great! 

Scattering of Ashes

You may wish to hold a Scattering of Ashes Ceremony together in the future. I will write your ceremony now and you can take your time to select the right spot. Mine would definitely involve a field of bluebells but you choose the perfect place to gather together and remember your loved one.

There are many ideas to make your ceremony more personal, you can send their ashes up in a firework, plant them under their favourite tree or even send their ashes off in a Viking Boat. All these ideas are possible!

Continue to connect

While we are all in lock down, continue to reach out and connect virtually to share memories of your loved one; their stories, their adventures and even their terrible jokes. 

There appears to be a growing demand for different types of ceremony which allow family and friends to come together and celebrate the life of a loved one in this challenging times. And the feedback from my families has been excellent, expressing heartfelt thanks for a ceremony that they believe their loved one would have wanted in these extraordinary times.

The Future of Funeral Ceremonies

As the rules surrounding Funerals change, you may be deciding that Direct cremation is the best option to protect your family.  But how do you celebrate the life of your loved one if you cannot hug, hold hands and grieve together?  When this pandemic is over and we emerge on the other side, then you can get together, hold meaningful ceremonies and give thanks that you were a part of their lives.

Ceremonies can then have no time constraints and can be held anywhere that is important to you.  Sunrise on a beach, a lunch time river boat trip, afternoon tea in a cliff top café, a lavish evening celebration in a hotel, sunset on Hay Tor, Dartmoor, in fact anywhere you choose.

For now, collect items for a Memory Table to display their achievements and hobbies, in fact, anything they were proud of.  Organise a slide show or video of their life accompanied by their favourite music.  If it is Rocking All Over the World wouldn’t that be great!  Share memories, stories and their jokes and make this Memorial a celebration of your loved ones life.

You can hold a Scattering of Ashes ceremony in their favourite place, mine would definitely involve a field of bluebells. Send their ashes up in a firework, plant them under their favourite tree, send the ashes off in a Viking Boat, all possible.

I will help you to create a ceremony that is a Celebration of your loved one’s life. My role is to offer bereaved families a Memorial ceremony that reflects the wishes, beliefs and values of the deceased and their family.  I can also include prayers, hymns and spiritual content.

Contact Sarah on 07870763304

Dragonfly Symbolism

How can we answer the many questions young children have about death? Looking for a meaningful way to explain to neighbourhood children the death of a five year old friend, Doris Stickney adapted the graceful fable about the waterbug that changed into a dragonfly.

Doris Stickney’s Water Bugs and Dragonflies offers a child’s perspective on what the nymphs think and talk about under water when they see others disappearing up the plant stems.

It’s a great place to start discussion on the concepts of death, transformation and the soul. It’s a beautiful story, perfectly pitched for young children during the stressful, trying times around bereavement.

It is why I chose the dragonfly as my logo as it symbolises change and transformation.

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