I am a Universal Life Church Monastery minister that has written and performed a multitude of non-denominational ceremonies. I can assist you in creating a highly personalized celebration of life or memorial service for yourself, a loved one or even a beloved pet. These events can be in-person for those living in the Ithaca, New York area or virtually. Virtual services are increasing in popularity due to the pandemic and family travel constraints. Unfortunately, I cannot assist you in planning a funeral in New York State because planning a service where a body is present is considered funeral directing in the state. In lieu of that, I do offer home funeral consulting services and home funeral kits.

Celebration of Life

A celebration of life is usually held after a body has been interred or cremated. They can be held days, weeks, months or even years after a person has died. They have a celebratory tone and are highly personalized.


A funeral is a more traditional ceremony with the body present. A funeral usually follows a very structured format.

Memorial Service

A memorial service is a hybrid of a funeral and a celebration of life. A casket is not present at the memorial service, although sometimes ashes can be. They can be held anytime after death but they are less traditionally arranged than a funeral.

Helpful Resources

Home Funeral Ceremonies
A very approachable book filled with ceremony ideas and tips on creating your own. 

Grief Rituals Between Death and Funeral
People often consider ceremonies and rituals after one dies, but there are many rituals that can do before/during the dying process.

10 Types of Funerals
Not sure what the difference is between a funeral and a wake? Or a visitation and a viewing? This is will help you sort out what is what.

12 Best Online Memorial Sites
I love joincake.com. I can’t suggest their site enough so take a peek. One of the things that I love the most about them is they do all of the leg-work for people. For example, this page provides a cost and feature analysis of online memorial sites. Online memorials are basically a modern-day obituary and more. For example, you can host an online funeral for people who cannot be present at the internment. It’s amazing what can be done online these days.

Undertaken with Love
This book covers all things having to do with home funerals including creating your own funeral ceremony.

The Inspired Funeral
Not sure where to even begin to create your own ceremony. This site is a fantastic resource! There are sample ceremonies for traditional funerals, pet funerals, home funerals, scattering ashes, living memorials, etc… Plus, there’s funeral ideas and end-of-life readings. There’s even a place to create your own digital memorial/online obituary.

Officiating a Funeral
First of all, anyone can officiate a funeral so you don’t have to consider just clergy for the job. This article will help you plan the ceremony, how to find an officiant and how to plan for the service.

Tips for Planning a Funeral Using Zoom
Welcome to modern day end-of-life planning! Yes, Zoom funerals are a thing, especially during the pandemic. They’re a great option for family and friends who can’t travel but still want to be a part of the ceremony.

Be Ceremonial

Be Ceremonial is a free app that helps you create a ritual or ceremony for a variety of occasions including grief, pregnacy loss and birth. Sample ceremonies are free or you can upgrade to single or multiple ceremonies. 

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