Writing and delivering a eulogy can be an emotional task, so we have put together some blog posts to help.
Tips for eulogies
First, we recommend reading our post ‘What is a eulogy and how to write one’, before coming back to find out more about how to deliver a eulogy.
Here, humanist funeral celebrant Alex Collis shares her tips and experience to help you deliver a fitting eulogy for your loved one. While giving a eulogy can be challenging, it’s also an honour and offers a chance to commemorate the life of someone important to you.
How to deliver a eulogy
- Work with the celebrant leading the funeral to see how and where your eulogy fits into the ceremony. They will also be able to offer support with writing the eulogy if you need it, and to offer suggestions.
- Practice reading the eulogy out loud before the funeral to a friend or family member. It can help with any nerves you might be feeling (which are natural), and also helps to spot any mistakes. Any celebrant worth their salt will do this too!
- Have a back-up plan ready. Giving a eulogy for someone important to you can be hard thing to do. You may be surprised at how emotional you are on the day. Even some trained celebrants will find it difficult to give a eulogy for someone close to them. Make sure you have a support person there, ready to step in or stand next to you if needed. Your celebrant can also read the eulogy on your behalf if that’s easier.
- Speak slowly, allow yourself time to pause, and breath, and for the mourners to take in what you are saying.
- Try and make eye contact with your audience, if possible. If you are nervous, you could agree before the funeral with a friend or family member that you’ll focus on them. If you think you’ll be too emotional, it’s fine not to make eye contact.
- Be still. It can be hard, especially when you are feeling anxious or nervous, but try to stand straight and still. Again, practicing beforehand can help here.
- Remember, it is okay to feel upset while reading. You don’t need to hide your feelings.
- Be kind to yourself. You are doing something special for someone you love. Delivering a eulogy takes a lot of energy and effort. Try and plan some downtime after the funeral, when you can sit and relax.
- And remember, the eulogy doesn’t have to be perfect. Write from the heart. If you do that, you can’t go far wrong.
Alex Collis is available to conduct humanist funerals in Cambridgeshire and East Anglia. You can find out more about Alex’s ceremonies on her website and you can follow her on Twitter under @alex_celebrant.
Find a celebrant
To find a celebrant in your area head to our easy-to-use funeral celebrant map