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Jobless marriage celebrant finds future career with redundant embalmer

“I realised I did have to step out of the wedding industry and step into the next logical area of celebrancy, which is funerals.”

(Central Otago wedding celebrant Glennys Logan and funeral director Leigh-Anne Fox have teamed up to open a new funeral business called Kotuku Funerals.)

A wedding celebrant whose business dried up during the Covid-19 outbreak has teamed up with a funeral director who lost her job during lockdown to forge a new future.

Glennys Logan – who was the most popular wedding celebrant in New Zealand when her Central Otago business was thriving in January – was forced to find other work when bookings vanished overnight.

“I found myself unemployed without a job and it was quite shocking to start with. I had a lot of grief going on and thought, ‘how am I ever going to recover from this’.

Through Zoom training and business connections, fate led Logan to Cromwell-based funeral director and embalmer Leigh-Anne Fox who was made redundant during the national level 4 lockdown.

“It was kind of like the universe was bringing us together ... it has transformed that not only am I going to be doing funeral celebrancy, but Leigh-Anne and I are going to set up a dynamic, new funeral company,” Logan said.

Fox said the women would bring a “modern edge” to the funeral industry.

“We want families to have celebrations that really represent their loved ones ... Covid has brought us together. Circumstances changed for both of us, and we saw an opportunity.”

Logan said they had found premises for a purpose-built sanctuary for people to honour their loved ones and be comforted themselves.

“We have had some concept plans drawn up, and we are going to have a fully equipped funeral home, a chapel, a crematorium and also a pet crematorium.

“We are putting our dream wishlist together, and we just have to trust the universe it will all be provided, and we will have something amazing here for the region.”

Celebrants’ Association of New Zealand National president Lianne Fraser said independent marriage celebrants often started out doing weddings before finding the funeral sector.

“Someone asks them to take a funeral service and from this they discover the wonderful satisfaction of helping people at this often incredibly traumatic time of life. I take many more funeral services than weddings and absolutely love this work.”

Funeral Directors Association of New Zealand chief executive David Moger said anecdotally, the association had seen more celebrants wanting to be involved in the funeral space.

“Equally, I know some celebrants who have said, ‘funerals are not for me’. Some people come into our sector and very quickly realise perhaps this industry is not for them.

“There are some very difficult situations to deal with.”


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