Sydney Funeral Celebrant Stephen Lee
Modern memorable and meaningful farewells
Independent non-religious Celebrant
Call 02 8325 1722
Goodbye without God
I am a non-religious Humanist Celebrant. In an increasingly secular society, many of us seek purpose, beauty and joy in the one life we know we have. When the time comes to look back, those around us can take inspiration from the memories, achievements and legacy left behind and celebrate a life well lived.
Sydney Funeral Celebrant Stephen Lee is a registered COVID Safe business with training and an action plan to look after the wellbeing of families and guests at funeral ceremonies.
This truly was the most beautiful, touching, inspired and fitting ceremony I have ever had the pleasure to be a part of. I smiled, I laughed, I cried – and even though I sit here typing this with tears in my eyes, that alone brings me great comfort knowing Warren would have approved. We felt his presence all over it and I am so glad that I was able to share in it and say goodbye. Thank you for bring all those strands together to show what a beautiful tapestry he had woven across so many lives.
We were so lucky to have found you.
You were a breath of fresh air and you earned our complete trust.
Sydney Funeral Celebrant
Fitting farewells with care and compassion
As the famous quote says, nothing is certain except death and taxes. But when that time comes, dealing with death is difficult, daunting and distressing. Whether expected or unexpected, losing someone we love is the hardest time of our lives.
I believe there’s a better way to say goodbye through funerals, memorials and authentic life celebrations. I can help empower you to create a truly inspirational, affordable and authentic farewell. With empathy and understanding, together we can create a ceremony that’s not only personal, meaningful, sincere and authentic, but also uplifting, comforting and full of love.
A funeral doesn’t have to follow a formula. I can work with you to create a meaningful farewell of any shape or size in the location of your choosing – in a garden, on a beach, in a family home or any other special location. I tailor everything to you. It’s not about a strict 30 minute service in a chapel; it’s all about giving you the time and space you need. I’ll help you with lots of practical advice and help to organise what needs to be done. So I’m not just your Celebrant. I’m also your advocate and supporter, guiding you through the whole process of organising a funeral, helping you to identify different options and choices that may not be immediately apparent. I’m here, on your side, by your side.
We’ll choose the right style, the right elements and the right words to express your feelings. I’ll help you with your own personal written tributes, liaise and support those who are speaking, and co-ordinate the ceremony. We’ll ensure their wishes as well as your own are met. And with my background in public speaking broadcasting, the ceremony will be presented with professionalism and respect, as well as great care and warmth.
The Humanist View
I am a Humanist Celebrant. When the time comes to say goodbye, looking back at how someone lived helps us to find our own meaning and purpose.
Meaning is something that we create for ourselves through thought and experience, so we can live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity, and help others to do the same.
In an increasingly secular society, many of us seek purpose, beauty and joy in the one life we know we have. And when we do die, we will all live on in the work we have done and in the memories of the other people whose lives we have been part of.
Recommended Funeral Director in Sydney
I am part of Picaluna – a network of celebrants and professional planners creating authentic meaningful, family-led farewells. So not only can I conduct the funeral, I can also help plan it too. You can call us instead of a funeral director when someone dies and we can assist you with the practicalities from start to finish.
Picaluna was born from a like-minded group of celebrants who came together after seeing the need to look after families in a different way to the traditional funeral home experience. We do death differently, helping families to create a better way to say goodbye. Picaluna aims to revolutionise the funeral industry by offering more bespoke experiences, without a rushed, cookie-cutter service.
Picaluna offers open and transparent pricing, and give back by donating 10% of our profits to a charity or cause nominated by the family. We team up with service providers such as florists, stationery providers, coffin suppliers, cemeteries and crematorium to tailor everything we do to suit the family’s needs.
With Picaluna, a funeral can be of any shape or size, and in any location. Many of our ceremonies take place away from the time-constricted chapel or crematorium; often in places of personal significance or even at home. We enable communities to mourn, honour, celebrate and rejuvenate, and we give you all the freedom, choice, guidance and time you need.
Funeral Webcast and Livestreaming Service
Bringing family and friends together in tribute
CeremonyCast Sydney uses the latest livestreaming technology to bring family and friends together online to say their final farewells via a professionally produced live webcast.
Funeral webcasts are now a standard element of ceremonies, enabling those who can’t be there in person to still be part of an important moment.
We film carefully, compassionately and unobtrusively, capturing all the tender and moving moments of the ceremony. Our sophisticated multi-camera funeral webcasts include all the details and elements, such as tribute slideshows, video eulogies and music, filmed by a skilled videographer. We can also open a real-time online memorial book so viewers can leave memories and messages for the family.
Our webcasts can be viewed on any device without any need to download an app or software. Any number of people can watch, wherever they are. After broadcast, the video stays online as a recording to watch up to a month later. Our webcasts can also serve as a beautiful high-quality memorial video to download and keep.
Funeral webcasts from CeremonyCast are the closest thing possible to being there in person.
CeremonyCast is run by Sydney Funeral Celebrant Stephen Lee.
Some common questions about funeral ceremonies by Sydney Funeral Celebrant Stephen Lee
Every ceremony I write is very different because it is created from scratch especially for the person who has died. The ceremony can take whatever form is the most appropriate. The style and content is very much your choice, and I am entirely flexible with your wishes. I’ll spend lots of time with you to find out what’s important to everyone, hear your stories and memories, and create a ceremony that’s unique, meaningful and authentic, as well as comforting and uplifting.
Think about where you want to hold the funeral or memorial (a funeral is when the body is present, a memorial is when the body has already been buried or cremated). It doesn’t have to be in the crematorium chapel. They have to be booked in time slots and you will be restricted for time. How about a beach, or a park, or even at home?
A ceremony will usually include the following (this is not an exhaustive list):
- An introduction and welcome by the celebrant
- A eulogy (facts about the person who has died and some of their life story, written and read by the celebrant)
- Tributes (stories, memories and anecdotes read by family and friends, woven into the eulogy)
- Video and/or slideshow of their life
- A committal (a goodbye to their coffin or ashes, if present)
- A conclusion from the celebrant
I will spend time with you to find out as much as I can about the person who has died. We will talk through whatever wishes they have, and whatever wishes the family has, and I will write a ceremony which brings everything and everyone together. I will coordinate contributions from other people, run through the ceremony with you in advance so there are no surprises, and support those who are speaking on the day.
Let’s be honest – nobody feels comfortable talking about death. Many of us find it too confronting and frightening. But as hard as it may be, it’s definitely a conversation that needs to be had. Do your family and friends know what you want when the time comes? What would happen if they were left to second guess your wishes? How would they cope at a time when they will be affected by their own grief?
Find time to sit down with your loved ones and begin that conversation. Perhaps you can start by writing some notes or instructions. This will be a huge gift, because your family and friends can find comfort in what you have chosen for yourself, knowing a major and stressful part of the funeral process is already prepared.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What do you want to happen to your body? (Burial, cremation etc)
- What kind of coffin or urn would you like?
- Where would you like your funeral or memorial ceremony to be held?
- What style of ceremony would you like?
- Have you written an autobiography or life story? (Do you have notes or a video or audio recording?)
- Which funeral director have you chosen, if any?
- Have you given your funeral director clear directions in advance of what you want them to do?
- Do you have a will?
- What are your goals and priorities for your funeral or memorial?
- Have you spoken to those close to you about your wishes?
(Thanks to my celebrant colleagues Elizabeth Trevan and Kathryn Breusch for this list, which they hand out as part of their “How to have a fabulous funeral” workshops.)
This depends on how the Celebrant is engaged to create the funeral ceremony.
Traditionally, the Celebrant is booked by the Funeral Director who has a list of preferred Celebrants. The Celebrant fee forms part of the Funeral Director’s final invoice. In the vast majority of cases, the Funeral Director sets that fee. An average range in Sydney is between $250 and $450. Funeral Directors may add on their own mark up to what the Celebrant receives.
The way we approach funeral ceremonies is changing. Farewells are now much more personal and truly reflective of the life lived. A good Funeral Celebrant will work hard to create a meaningful and memorable ceremony that pays authentic tribute. As we move away from those more generic ceremonies, it is commonly accepted within the Celebrant community that Funeral Director fees do not always account for the time and talent required.
Therefore there is a growing trend for Funeral Celebrants to be engaged directly by the family, in the same way a Marriage Celebrant is chosen for their skills, experience and personality. Service requirements and fees are negotiated and invoiced directly with the family, which allows for a much more bespoke experience. Independent Celebrants set their fees from around $800, similar to the fee for a marriage ceremony.
To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.
– J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.
– Steve Jobs, American Entrepreneur, Apple co-Founder (b.1955).
The value of life lies not in its length, but in the use we make of it.
– Michel de Montaigne (1533-92)
It is only those who do nothing that make no mistakes.
– Attributed to Joseph Conrad (1857-1924)
If you have a warm and caring heart, you’re loved ones will ensure you never depart. For long after you’ve turned that final page you’ll still be right there on center stage.
– Stanley Victor Paskavich
Love is how you stay alive, even after you are gone.
Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.
– Dr. Seuss
In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.
– Abraham Lincoln
The song is ended but the melody lingers on…
– Irving Berlin
Contact Stephen Lee
Sydney Funeral Celebrant
Send me your details using the form below.
Or call 02 8325 1722