To Have and to Hold – By Wendy Clarkson
Why funerals are like weddings. As a green funeral director and civil funeral celebrant, I have written and guided many people
through a simple personal unique farewell to someone they loved. It never ceases to amaze me what
a wonderful privilege it is to help a family through one of the most important events of their life:
A celebration of someone’s life.
Why A Wedding Is Like A Funeral
I married a local character, Clarky, and we decided we wanted something simple,
meaningful & personal, so I wrote and we planned our wedding and ceremony. I very quickly came to
realise how similar it was to a funeral! You plan a funeral for someone you love and want everything
to be special, as you do a wedding. The more we planned, the more it became like one of my
Personalising Our Special Day – Making It Ours
We played lovely music that was special to us, we had written ‘our story’, how we met, why we loved
each other, our thoughts on marriage, we even had reflection time to music (and we danced a little)
while we all took in the beauty of the loch. Oh, and then there was ‘the tribute’ – our dear friends
and witnesses said some lovely things about us! The vows we wrote were unique to us and very
I encourage family involvement and the choice to use their own garden flowers, or even to do them
themselves, including decorating the coffin. I also decorate the grave surround with hedgerow
foliage. All of these things we did.
Using Plants and Flowers For Our Ceremony
We picked Rosemary & Lavender from the garden for my bouquet
and the tables. The relevance was important to us as we stated in our ceremony that the Rosemary
was for remembrance the people we have loved and lost and the Lavender (healing) for all those we
know who are having health problems. Rosemary and Lavender are my business logo!! The giant
daisies we took from the garden, of course were not around a grave, but decorated the fishing lodge
where we were married. Added to this we collected greenery from the woods to make a wonderful
natural effect. The finishing touch was water lilies from the loch for the table centre.
The day was perfect. With four friends and the celebrant who led the ceremony.
Our Dream Day – The Perfect Ceremony
We were in our favourite place in the world – a private setting in the borders, in the middle of the
moors, by an idyllic loch with a perfect fishing lodge for the BBQ and dancing which followed.
Our mode of transport was a Land Rover. We all wore ‘country clothes’ except me of course, I wore a
dress I had worn as Mum of the bride five years ago…… and our only extravagance (other than the
champagne and lobster) was the aubergine coloured wellies I bought to match my dress!
It was our day, it was perfect, just as we planned, but uncanny how similar everything we did, could
have been altered slightly and been a funeral. It was so satisfying to have created it ourselves and I
am now proud to be Mrs Wendy Clarkson.
Wendy Clarkson is a celebrant and retired ‘one woman band’ green funeral director.