Other Ceremonies

Funerals

Although I’m well known as a marriage celebrant, I enjoy conducting funerals as well, and I consider it a privilege to support people during their sadness. I’ve found that for those who call on me after previous ceremonies, there’s real comfort in having a celebrant who already has a sense of who they are. Other people who don’t know me find that with my background in nursing, I’m a warm, friendly, calming presence during the planning phase and the funeral ceremony.

Anyone can participate in a funeral but it’s a good idea to have someone supportive to help you. These days most people want the service to be a celebration of their loved one’s life, and that often means a few people like to be involved to share the story. At other times it’s my skills as a listener and story-teller that helps families find their voices but I deliver the eulogy on their behalf. Either way, I see my role as being your guide – someone who can help you gather up all the information you need in order that we can collaborate on something that becomes a life-based, personal, long-lasting memory of your loved one.

Everyone has a story! Some people like to tell theirs before their die – ask me about pre-planning your eulogy – and other people need a bit of help to draw out the parts of the life they want to celebrate. I’ve heard some wonderfully inspirational life stories over the years!

You can choose your own celebrant – feel free to choose someone you like and trust; someone who’s style suits yours or your loved one. I’ve often had people tell me their family member would have loved me, and in return, I often think that I would have liked the person I’ve just farewelled.

Funeral ceremonies usually incorporate music – it sets the tone and might allow sadness or smiles (both are fine), and photo tributes expand on the word pictures we’ve painted. Let me help you during this intense, often challenging time. I understand what it’s like to lose the most important people in your life…

“Dear Jen, you became a very important part of our family very quickly!” Kath M

Funerals are a chance to join with others and celebrate a life. They can also reflect our own feelings through words and actions, and help in the early periods of grieving.

As a former critical care nurse, I’ve worked with families at times of great stress and this has given me a strong sense of empathy. I started my funeral work while studying celebrancy at university.

Since then I’ve had the honour of conducting funerals or memorial ceremonies for young people through to the elderly; for people I’ve known well to others I wish I’d known; for those who died as a result of accidents to those who chose to end their lives; those who seemed to know few people to those who touched thousands of lives; those whose families were devastated to lose them, to those whose families were either glad to see them go or who barely knew them. Everyone’s different and all families are different, but we all have things in common.

And that’s where the skill of a celebrant is important. A death in the family touches many people and sometimes reactions can be raw. When you can’t find the words, let me help. I can help you navigate a path which might be difficult, or I can craft something with you or for you. As someone recently said, “Jen, you held a mirror up for us, and we are so grateful.”

Hopefully your loved one’s life was well-lived.

There’s usually no rush to arrange a funeral and people often feel a little stronger when some time has elapsed – I’ve conducted memorial ceremonies some weeks after cremation and this can allow time for friends and family to arrive from overseas. sometimes these ceremonies are amazing!

I’m happy to chat about honouring someone’s life and planning a funeral celebration even if that person hasn’t died. Talk to me about a “Hoo-roo, I’m Off!” planning pack. It can be empowering and very fulfilling to plan ahead: I know of a few people have even attended their own wakes…

I’m happy to provide the following rituals as well as being open to your ideas and wishes, for example, walks to a particular spot, mourners adding flowers to a large keepsake garland, painting or adding stickers to the coffin/casket, floating flowers on water, seed packets of remembrance, music jamming, messages tied with ribbons onto the handles of the coffin – let your imagination run free!

  • RSL / CFA
  • Scattering Ashes on land or at sea (Coast Guard)
Funeral Enquiry

Namings

I love hearing about babies born to the couples I’ve married – and I really love creating Naming Day ceremonies for them! Everyone remembers me from “the wedding” and it’s a lovely feeling to walk back into the warmth of a familiar family… Naming days highlight the importance of family!

Naming Ceremonies are usually for babies or children. Occasionally parents choose to marry on the same day their children are named… it’s a fairly complex day but together we can make it work!

Naming celebrations aren’t always for babies! There are many reasons people change their names and a ceremony can help confirm a change in someone’s life, for example, an adoption. It’s never to late to hold a Naming Ceremony! (Naming Ceremonies can even be for restaurants, houses or boats…)

A Naming Ceremony is all about sharing love and hopes for the future! Drawing from legends, lullabies or even lunchbox love letters, parents (and others) share their wisdom and blessings as they celebrate their identity: a family-focussed ceremony helps provide a new, welcoming sense of community and belonging.

It’s also a chance to appoint others to take a caring, lifelong interest in your child. Reflecting your values and beliefs, it’s a wonderful occasion to gather your friends and family and formally welcome and name your child!

As lots of my families have said, it takes a village to raise a child!

Balloons! (But never released…) Blessings! Whatever you’d like! Naming Ceremonies are a chance to be creative! Let your imagination run wild or draw from your families’ heritage. Books, bears, tree plantings, craftwork, clay… the symbols of your life can be blended into a Naming Ceremony just for you – your baby – and your family!

Naming Enquiry

Civil Partnership Ceremonies

Not everyone wants to be married… for various reasons. Registering your relationship with BDM provides conclusive proof of evidence of your relationship for the purposes of Victorian law.

Commitment ceremonies (or civil unions) celebrate love in a very meaningful way. For those who don’t want to (or can’t) marry, celebrations of love can follow a traditional format or be as contemporary and eclectic as you like! People often appreciate the sense of purpose that ritual provides. You can say your vows to your partner publicly or privately and you may certainly change your name if you want to!

It can be tricky… Don’t confuse Civil Unions with Same-Sex Marriage… contact me about the difference: I’m here to help!

Civil Partnership Ceremony Enquiry

My American couple who had a beautiful, private commitment ceremony on the beach…

Other Ceremonies

Going through other life stages?

How about a ceremony to help with these…

  • Adolescence
  • Divorce
  • Recovery from illness
  • Reaching “a certain age” – for a woman, a Croning
  • Retirement
  • A centenary
  • A special wedding anniversary
  • Opening a building/art space/garden etc
  • Starting a long trek
  • A solstice celebration
  • Loss of a pet
  • Community engagement (e.g. following bushfires etc)
  • Welcoming new arrivals
  • A new home
  • Safe home from a long journey
  • Family reconciliation

I trained at university to be able to help you with all these, and more!

Other Ceremony Enquiry