Do-it-yourself funerals

What is a do-it-yourself funeral?

A ‘do-it-yourself’ funeral (or DIY funeral) means different things to different people. For some, it will mean taking care of everything from the moment someone dies. They want to be with the person until the moment of burial or cremation.

More commonly though, a do-it-yourself funeral refers to organising the funeral service or memorial service. You might, for example, hire a funeral director to organise a direct cremation and the legal paperwork. From there, you might then arrange everything else.

Why do people choose to do it themselves? Cost is one consideration. But most people who arrange a funeral themselves simply want to be more intimately involved in this final goodbye.


What is a celebrant’s role in a do-it-yourself funeral?

Usually, my role is to work with you as I normally would, writing and conducting the service on your behalf. I meet with you and together we create the service that reflects the individual life and spirit you want to remember.

Even in a do-it-yourself service, a celebrant relieves you of some stress on the day. And because I have a little more distance, I can keep the ceremony flowing at times where you might be overcome.

I can also help you with planning the service, advising you of things that you might have overlooked.


Some considerations

Before you decide to arrange a do-it-yourself funeral, there are some things to keep in mind. Death is a natural part of life, but caring for a body can be difficult. If you aren’t experienced, then it can be confronting when unexpected things happen. You might want to hire a funeral director or death doula to guide you. You can ask to be involved in important moments such as washing and dressing the body.

In addition, funeral directors know their way around the paperwork and bureaucracy. The days and weeks following a death are often stressful and overwhelming. This is especially the case if the coroner is involved. Hiring a funeral director will help you to avoid this added stress.