Saying Goodbye to a Loved One

Who Should Conduct Your Loved One's Funeral Service?

An orchestra needs someone to conduct it and so does a funeral. Whoever conducts the service acts as a type of moderator, leading mourners through the predetermined order of service. But who is the best person to conduct a funeral? And since you (and other family members) knew your loved one best, should a family member or close friend conduct the service?


Conducting a funeral service for someone you knew can be an extremely difficult proposition. This has little to do with any hesitancy about speaking in public and is more to do with the fact that you're grieving and are still processing the emotional impact of the death. Certainly, funeral homes can help you to determine an order of service, but the responsibility of conducting a funeral during a time of great emotional turmoil can be too great. If you feel that it's most appropriate for you to conduct the service, and you believe you're capable of doing so, then you can certainly take on the responsibility. It's also possible to lighten the load and have a number of different family members and friends share the duties of conducting the funeral.

A Religious Leader

Depending on your loved one's wishes, it might not, in fact, be appropriate for you to conduct their funeral service. This is the case when the funeral is a religious one. In this instance, a religious leader is the best person for the task. The order of service will have various religious components, such as readings of appropriate religious texts, along with hymns or songs. A religious leader will ensure that the applicable sacraments are observed, but this doesn't always mean that the service will take place in a church, and it can be held at the funeral home's chapel, or indeed, any other appropriate venue.

A Professional Celebrant

When your loved one wasn't religious, and yet you don't feel that it's suitable for a family member or close friend to conduct the service, you can engage a professional celebrant. This can still have religious elements but is more likely to be a humanist celebration of life. Don't think of hiring a celebrant as being impersonal (because they didn't know your loved one). The celebrant will approach their duties with the greatest of empathy, recognising the importance of moving through the order of service in a professional and sympathetic manner. 

Choosing who will conduct the service is an important part of planning a funeral, and it requires careful consideration when deciding just who will be the best person for the task.

Contact a local funeral home for more advice.