Q. How long does a funeral ceremony usually last?
A. Most funerals last about 20 to 30 minutes but if you feel that this will not be long enough for the service, the chapel may be booked for a longer period.
Q. May I choose my own celebrant or do I have to use the celebrant recommended by the funeral director?
A. You may choose your own celebrant and inform your funeral director who that is to be. You are not obliged to use the celebrant recommended by the funeral director.
Q. Who pays the funeral celebrant?
A. If the FCAA celebrant is arranged by the funeral director then her/his fee is paid by them. The celebrant’s fee will be itemised in the funeral director’s account. However, if you choose your own FCAA celebrant you pay them directly.
Q. Will my celebrant visit me in my home to discuss the content of the funeral service?
A. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, your FCAA celebrant will visit you in your home to discuss the funeral service.
Q. How will my celebrant dress?
A. Your FCAA celebrant will dress in a professional way to show respect to the occasion. If you have a special request, your celebrant will do their best to comply with your wishes.
Q. Will the celebrant help us with the choice of readings and music for the service?
A. Your FCAA celebrant will have many resources and will be able to suggest readings and music. This discussion and recommendations can take place when she/he visits you to plan the service.
Q. Will the celebrant write the eulogy if we give her/him the information?
A. Your FCAA celebrant is capable and skilled at writing eulogies. You will need to give her/him information about your relative’s life when you meet to plan the funeral.
Q. Why should I use a celebrant who is a member of Funeral Celebrants Association Australia?
A. Members of FCAA have agreed to a Code of Practice and undertake to complete yearly Professional Development in order to be accepted by FCAA. Any celebrant who does not adhere to the high standards of the FCAA will not be permitted to remain a member.
Q. Is it possible for us to have an audio-visual presentation about the life of our relative?
A. Many crematoria chapels have facilities for DVD. Tell your funeral director if you want to be able to have this.
Q. Is it appropriate for family members or friends to give a eulogy or a reading?
A. It is very appropriate for family members or friends to participate in the service as it makes it more personal. Discuss this with your FCAA celebrant and she/he will advise the best way to incorporate this into the service.
Q. Should younger members of the family be included in giving a reading?
A. Younger members can participate if they are willing. Your FCAA celebrant will be there to make sure that their contribution is supported. Sometimes, two younger people will do a joint reading or joint tribute.
Q. Will my celebrant include religious content in the funeral service if that’s what our family wants?
A. Your FCAA celebrant will be happy to include religious content if that is what the family wants. Many people, while having no special church affiliation, take comfort from some religious content in the service. Others feel that a religious component will comfort other family members. Discuss this with your FCAA celebrant.
Q. Is it possible to include culturally appropriate symbols, rituals, music or readings in the funeral service?
A. Culturally appropriate rituals are appropriate within the restrictions of the chapel. Discuss this with your FCAA celebrant
Q. What if the deceased person was a returned serviceman or woman?
A. There is a standard format for inclusion in the service for returned servicemen and women and your FCAA celebrant will be familiar with that. Usually a representative of the R.S.L. will attend the funeral and help with the appropriate recognition of your relative’s military service.
Q. Will the celebrant help us with the design of a Program for the mourners attending the service?
A. The family prepares the Order of Service or Funeral Program in discussion with the celebrant. Either the family or the Funeral Director will print the Order of Service.
Q. Will the celebrant give me a presentation copy of the service?
A. FCAA celebrants will give you a presentation copy of the funeral service as a memento. Many celebrants will also provide you with an e-copy of the service so that it may be distributed to family members.
Q. What qualifications do funeral celebrants have?
A. Most FCAA celebrants have completed accredited training as a funeral celebrant and have extensive experience in conducting ceremonies. Many are registered marriage celebrants as well.
Q. How do I find out about the disposal of cremains (cremation ashes)?
A. N.S.W. Department of Health have an excellent fact sheet which can be accessed at this web address.
FAQ page – NSW Health change of title and link broken re cremation and ashes http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/factsheets/Pages/cremation-ashes.aspx;
Q. How do I remove the digital footprint of my loved one after death?
A. Your relative may have left instructions. However, there is an online service which allows grieving families to decide what happens to their loved ones social networks after they are gone. There is a cost involved in this service. http://eclosure.com.au
Q. Can we release balloons at a funeral or memorial service?
A. Some states, territories and/or local councils have regulations about the release of balloons. For example, in NSW it is illegal to release 20 or more gas-inflated balloons at or about the same time. If less than 20 balloons are released, they should not have any attachments.
Q. Do you have a question that is not covered here?
A. Contact the FCAA and we will endeavour to help you.