Philip Spicksley Registered Celebrant  

Alternative and Bespoke Life Ceremonies

Before reading any further, if you are arranging an alternative celebration of life ceremony, click on this link and watch this video.

The video is an excellent way of finding out what you can do to make things different and special in so many ways

Where can a celebration service be held?

Celebration services are usually held at the Crematorium or in the case of a burial, at the Chapel on the Cemetery.

Services may be held at any convenient place to the wishes of the family.

Alternatively you may wish to hold a small family service at home followed by a committal at the Crematorium or Cemetery.

Remember that you have a choice. You can remember your loved ones according to your own and their intended wishes.

How elaborate need the ceremony be?

Whilst it is possible to instruct a funeral director to organise a completely private service, this will give none of the mutual support that a ceremony can provide.

For over one hundred years non-religious funerals have been conducted.

I can help by either conducting the service, arranging it as to the wishes of the family or I can assist those families who wish to carry out their own service, by offering support, advise and help.

You may wish to have a celebration which is completely devoid of religion, however it may be your wish to have a simple prayer or hymn. The format of the service is entirely your choice.

Many people live a Christian life but do not go to Church, in these cases families often ask for a totally non-religious service, however it many be that what they really want is a semi-religious services. The Lord's Prayer or a Hymn may be considered.

Time will be allocated during the service for those persons present who need to reflect in private prayer.

Music is arranged in accordance with the choice of the family.

Poems and readings are selected which reflect the life of the dearly departed.

Woodland Burials

Woodland burials have a particular appeal to the environmentally conscious, as does the use of biodegradable coffins and other 'green materials. Woodland sites are often in very beautiful open places, away from built-up areas, without the gloomy feel of a cemetery. There are no headstones as such, though there may be small plaques with the individual name and date only. In other sites the graves are marked with trees or completely unmarked.

Burial of Ashes

You may wish to have a short address at the scattering or burial of ashes following the cremation. I can provide this service so that the occasion is remembered with dignity.


Where an individual is making their own preparations for death and for their own funeral service, I can offer assistance in those plans. I am prepared to meet the individual or family to discuss the alternatives and offer support and advice. Free of Charge.

Before my visit to you

So that I can create the ceremony which celebrates the life of your loved one, it is important for me to get to know them as a person. I need to know their life history and their wishes and views. Your ceremony will be unique to you and the family and I want to make it special to you and all those who will be attending.

In preparation to my visit please think about and jot down a few notes in readiness.

  • Who were the deceased parents and what did they do for a living.
  • Siblings and members of the family who are special to them.
  • Where did they go to school and at what age did they leave.
  • Partners, children and grandchildren or others who are special to them.
  • Closest friends.
  • Careers and places of work, including any armed forces service.
  • Hobbies, groups of interests.
  • Music or Tv interests.
  • Favourite memories.
  • Interesting stories about your loved one.
  • Do you want to include Hymns or prayers.
  • Have you any poems already identified, if not I have a bank of poems I can suggest when I know more about your loved one.

Think about the music you wish to have both going into and out of the service, you may wish to choose one to listen to during the service, it is during a piece of music that the congregation can take time to reflect their thoughts on the deceased and their life, also this would be a good time for private prayer.

If the ceremony is being held at a crematorium then think about whether or not you wish to have the curtains drawn across at the committal. In modern times it is more common to leave the curtains open, this allows you or others to pay your own personal respects to your loved one when you walk out of the chapel. Closing the curtains can have a lasting memory on certain individuals especially youngsters.

Above all remember that this is your ceremony and I am there to write it for you and your family. Think about what readings you may wish to have. I will make sure that your wishes will be taken into account.