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  • Writer's pictureDaragh Doyle

The changing trends of Wedding & Funeral Ceremonies in Ireland.

There is a big change happening in Wedding & Funeral ceremonies in Ireland and it's been happening for a while. The flood gates are starting to open.

The changes in Wedding ceremonies are more advanced but I'm beginning to see a similar trend developing in funeral/end of life ceremonies.

In the 1990’s in Ireland, 90% of people got married in a catholic church, it's now less than 50% and will, in my view, continue to fall significantly.

Why are people moving away from traditional church services to something different?

As a celebrant for end of life, celebration of life funeral services and Wedding ceremonies I can only talk of my own experience.

I do ceremonies for people of all faiths and none.

People often assume this type of Ceremony is Humanist.

I'm not a Humanist celebrant, which is a very specific belief system.

I carry out ceremonies for people of all faiths and none and would describe myself as spiritual.

Everyone is welcome, no one is excluded.

I spend a lot of time with couples preparing for their wedding ceremonies and families preparing a service for their loved ones who have passed on.

When I meet a couple to prepare for their Wedding ceremony I spend a lot of time with them getting to know them. This is very important for the energy of a wedding ceremony, and the energy exchange between the couple and the celebrant.

I operate with an open book approach.

I always ask the couple what their vision is for the ceremony.

The majority of couples I meet were brought up in the catholic faith and describe themselves as lapsed catholics.

I meet very few couples who don't want any form of spirituality in their ceremony, the vast majority do, be it a remembrance candle for loved ones who have passed on, short prayers of the faithful, hymns and poems.

Are we people moving away from traditional church services in such increasing numbers?

The answer is simple, they don't want a prescribed ceremony imposed on them with very little input.

They want to design a ceremony that reflects their life and personality and as a life celebrant I facilitate that.

The Pandemic has accelerated this trend, with a number of couples I have worked with having originally planned a traditional church service, moving to a ceremony in the venue to keep everything in one location. They had no regrets.

’ Daragh was a great addition to our Wedding day, he performed a lovely personal ceremony for us with such energy & charisma, …. and let’s not forget style! Our guests loved him. Would highly recommend’’

Nicola & Mark - The Millhouse, Slane April 2021

Nowadays, couples want to pick their own music, poems, they want to tell their story during the ceremony, most want to reflect their spirituality.

I'm sometimes approached by people before a ceremony, normally parents or grandparents, who haven't been to this type of ceremony previously and are sceptical. They always approach me afterwards and are clearly won over.

Some even say if they were getting married again they would do it this way!

And as I mentioned earlier, i'm seeing great change in how people want funerals and End of Life ceremonies conducted, for the loved ones, they have lost.

"Daragh met with family members on a number of occasions to support the process.

He developed a great insight into the man our dad was and helped us to express this through poetry, music, photos, stories & memories.

It was really personal & emotional with some humour, you captured the many things we loved about him".

Bolton Family - North Dublin

End of Life/celebration of life ceremonies are very different to Weddings, but the reasons people are moving towards a non church ceremony are similar.

The person who has passed has generally made their wishes known before their passing.

They want a ceremony that reflects their life and telling the story of their life is very important.

It’s central to the ceremony and remembering the person.

While sad and emotional on one level, these ceremonies can also be exceptionally beautiful.

They can be held in a crematorium, Unitarian Church, Hotel or outdoor location to include the scattering of interment of ashes.

There are no prescribed rules and it’s an open book approach.

We live in a modern liberal Ireland and the changing trends in Wedding & End of Life/ Celebration of Life ceremonies reflect that.


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