Do traditional funeral services leave you cold?

Are you “spiritual but not religious?”

Have you told your family not to have a funeral for you?

Funeral Celebrants make all the difference when
you want to create “A Good Goodbye.”

Tom Root Celebration of Life

Funeral services (also known as memorial services if the body is not present) may be about the person who died, but they are for the people who continue to live and need a ceremony to process their grief.

Avoiding holding a service often results in emotional trouble months later. However, a traditional “one-size-fits-all” service can leave bereaved families feeling emotionally unsatisfied and empty.

Funeral Celebrants make the service all about
the person who died — their life, their loves and their quirks.

Lupe Lopez Haynes Life Celebration

What is a Funeral Celebrant?

A Celebrant is a person who is trained and certified to meet the needs of families during their time of loss. Celebrants provide personalized funeral services that reflect the personality and lifestyle of the deceased. Gail Rubin, CT, is a Certified Funeral Celebrant who creates meaningful and memorable memorial services.

View this article with insights by three celebrants, including Gail Rubin, in American Funeral Director magazine.

“Thank you for the wonderful job you did on our mom’s memorial service. Your help made a very difficult time much easier. As one of the guests said, ‘That was the best memorial service I’ve been to. I didn’t feel sad or bad at the end.’ Thank you so much for helping lead the way.” — Sandy Litz, Baltimore, MD

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The family of Hy “Schotz” Warren gave permission to share this video of the
graveside service created by Funeral Celebrant Gail Rubin, CT.

Why Do I Need a Certified Celebrant?

  • A Celebrant offers an alternative to a service by a clergy person for those families not affiliated with a church or who do not wish to have a traditional religious funeral service.
  • Celebrants are specifically trained to design a service that is completely personal, incorporating those unique stories, songs, and experiences that defined that person.
  • Certified Celebrants have a library of resources available for readings, music, ceremonies, and personal touches.
  • Certified Celebrants follow a Code of Ethics that ensures complete confidentiality in all dealings with the family.
Celebrant Testimonial by Glenda Stansbury

How Do I Work With a Celebrant?

  • The Celebrant will schedule a special meeting for your family to share memories, anecdotes and special moments in the loved one’s life. The essence of the service will be based upon the remembrances of the family. Participation by family and friends is encouraged.
  • The Celebrant can serve at a funeral service, memorial service, graveside service, anniversary tribute, tree planting, bench dedication, or any other gathering designed to honor the deceased.

Mary Adams Funeral Services

Six months before she died at the age of 91, Mary Adams met with her son and Celebrant Gail Rubin to plan Mary’s memorial service. In a laughter-filled session, the three planned the details of music, readings, speakers, dance, and post-event cocktail party. View the 45-minute service, presented with permission of the family.

Mary Adams Memorial Service

Who Certifies Celebrants?

The In-Sight Institute, which has certified more than 4,655 Celebrants in North America as of December 2021, provides the most comprehensive and sensitive training available. You and your family will be served by someone who understands the process and offers the very best services possible.

How Did Celebrants Start?

Gail Rubin is an In-Sight Certified CelebrantThe use of Certified Celebrants originated in New Zealand and Australia, where 80% of the population chooses cremation and many people do not attend a church. Civil Celebrants, who are licensed by the government in those countries, perform over 50% of the funerals and weddings.

Doug Manning, one of the leading speakers and authors in the area of bereavement, toured these countries and brought the idea of Certified Funeral Celebrants to North America. He and Glenda Stansbury founded the In-Sight Institute to certify Celebrants across the U.S. and internationally.

How Many People Need Celebrants?

The Pew Research Center on Religion & Public Life updated a study in 2015 that indicated the number of self-identifying Christians in the U.S. is declining, intermarriage is growing, and the number of people with no religious affiliation is climbing. In 2021, those with no religious affiliation is up to almost one-third of the population: 29%.

The 2010 American Religious Identification Survey estimated that approximately 15% of the American population do not attend religious services or consider themselves church affiliated. If you grouped all the identified “nones” into a state, it would be the second largest state in the union, right behind California.

People who don’t identify with clergy or religion need a funeral celebrant to help construct a meaningful ritual to say goodbye to their loved ones. Want some ideas for personalized memorial services? Click here to view descriptions from Gail Rubin’s 30 Funerals in 30 Days Project.

Funeral Services for Difficult Deaths

The family of Susan Prentiss-Kurosu granted permission to share this video of her funeral. Susan died from an overdose of pills. This was not the first time she had attempted suicide. At the funeral, Gail Rubin said, “Let us remember mental illness is not a moral failing. Mental fitness and illness are just as consequential as physical fitness and illness. We do not judge cancer patients for the sickness that takes their lives. Let us be kind to those who struggle in ways beyond the physical. We also need to be kind to ourselves. Thoughts of “Would-a, Could-a, Should-a” only torment us at a time when we are grieving this loss.”

Susan Prentiss-Kurosu Funeral (No Music)

What is the Cost?

Your Celebrant will spend approximately 10 hours preparing and conducting your service. Fees for Celebrants vary by market, generally from $200 to $800. Celebrant Gail Rubin’s professional fee is $650 plus New Mexico Gross Receipts Tax.

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Ready to go?

Gail Rubin, The Doyenne of DeathGail Rubin, CT, is author of A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die, Hail and Farewell: Cremation Ceremonies, Templates and Tips, Kicking the Bucket List: 100 Downsizing and Organizing Things to Do Before You Die and The Family Plot Blog. She also hosted a podcast and television program called A Good Goodbye. She is also the coordinator of the Before I Die New Mexico Festival.

She is a Certified Thanatologist (a death educator) and Funeral Celebrant certified by the In-Sight Institute. She is based in Albuquerque, New Mexico and available to do services throughout the metro area and beyond.

Call (505) 265-7215 or email Gail[at] to start the conversation.

Make the next funeral service you attend or hold a meaningful, memorable “good goodbye.”

A Good Goodbye