The Funeral Celebrancy Council came together to provide a much-needed central organisation. The intention of the joint approach was to define best practice, represent funeral celebrants across the UK and set standards that all funeral celebrants should meet to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to experience a meaningful funeral ceremony.

The goal of the Funeral Celebrancy Council is to raise awareness of the importance of the role of a funeral celebrant.

A good funeral celebrant will work with you to create a meaningful, relevant and personalised ceremony that will meet the needs of the family and friends of the person who has died.

The Funeral Celebrancy Council recognises that the quality of ceremonies currently varies significantly, and in order to address this, has drawn up The Funeral Celebrant Accord and the accompanying Working with Funeral Celebrants: Points for Excellence.

These important documents have been designed to help raise standards across the sector through an understanding of what makes an excellent funeral celebrant.

They are resources of equal use and interest to both the public and those working in the funeral sector, whether as celebrants or funeral directors and arrangers.

The work of the Council

So far we have:

• Created the Funeral Celebrant AccordRead More

• Implemented Working with Funeral Celebrants: Points for Excellence – checklists for funeral directors, arrangers and members of the public meeting a celebrant for the first time – Read More

• Conducted ground breaking research 

We aim to:

• Be a voice for UK based Funeral Celebrants

• Be available to respond to journalists’ requests to comment upon funerals or other subjects relevant to the practice of funeral celebrancy.

• Talk to funeral directors about fair fees for funeral celebrants who provide completely unique ceremonies or who bring extra professional skills to the role of celebrant.

Who We Are

When first established, the Funeral Celebrancy Council was composed of established professional associations and training providers within the funeral celebrancy sector, who were working together for the first time. 

There was a realisation that a significant number of people were becoming funeral celebrants either with or without training and that there were no common standards across the sector. All organisations committed to drawing up standards for funeral celebrants, and had an equal say in the design and content of these.

Representatives worked together effectively to create and launch the Funeral Celebrant Accord and the Points for Excellence Checklists, fulfilling the main, original purpose of the Council.

In 2024, the Good Funeral Guide CIC, Ceremony Matters and Humanists UK continue as custodians of the work of the Council, with support of both funeral directing trade associations as required.

Why the Funeral Celebrancy Council was needed

The majority of funerals in the UK are now led by a celebrant, but there is no regulatory body or standard involved in assessing how good a celebrant is. Training is not always a mark of quality; there are vast numbers of training organisations offering courses for potential celebrants, some are rigorous and have exacting standards, while others offer online tuition and award certificates to anyone completing the modules.

We believe that there should be a way of evaluating the best celebrants, both for funeral professionals and for the general public. Through careful consideration and discussion, representatives participating in the Funeral Celebrancy Council developed the two fundamental documents that we believe form fundamental guidance which will help raise standards across the sector.

A funeral ceremony is a critical part of the grieving process and often the moment – and sometimes the only opportunity – for people to freely express and share their feelings, and in doing so, to create meaningful memories of the person who has died.

A well crafted funeral will help those who are part of it to begin to assimilate the loss of the person. A ceremony that does its work can be highly beneficial to those attending, and can help the community of family and friends begin to adjust to life without the person they are mourning, and the quality and calibre of the celebrant involved can play an integral part in this.

Celebrants who have chosen to adopt the Accord have publicly declared that they hold themselves to high standards against which they can be measured. Adopting the Accord is a mark of confidence in one’s ability as well as an indicator of humility. And seeing the ‘I’ve adopted the Accord’ logo is a means of identifying a celebrant who has reflected on their work and who is striving to continually improve.

Standards of funerals should always be high – we only get to do them once. Many people have very low expectations of a funeral and consider it an unpleasant formality, therefore, many people accept poor quality impersonal ceremonies, but this does not need to be the case.

The Funeral Celebrancy Council has set standards so that everyone can access the best funeral ceremony possible, through working with professionals who have adopted the Accord.

Celebrancy is relatively new. As our society has become less defined by religion and increasingly secular, a need has grown for competent, skilled and sensitive people to create and lead funeral ceremonies for bereaved families. 

Unfortunately, all too frequently, a funeral ceremony is seen as a mere formality. Many bereaved people have little or no previous experience to compare a funeral ceremony with, and standards of celebrants are inconsistent across the sector. 

The Funeral Celebrancy Council worked hard to define the criteria that define an excellent celebrant, and to encourage funeral directors to only recommend celebrants who aspire to meet the criteria set out in The Funeral Celebrant Accord.

Working with Funeral Celebrants: Points for Excellence is a simple checklist resource for funeral arrangers and funeral directors.


The Funeral Celebrant Accord

The Funeral Celebrant Accord defines the attributes and skills required of an excellent funeral celebrant and is intended to set the standards by which all celebrants offering funeral services should be measured.

An excellent funeral celebrant

1. Is professional

2. Cares for their clients

3. Is calm and shows natural leadership

4. Writes personalised ceremonies

5. Cares about their self-development

If you have read The Accord and agree with the criteria that define a good celebrant, please Adopt The Accord and share it with your friends, colleagues or fellow funeral professionals.