Funerals and memorial services allow relatives and friends to get together to remember the person who has died. They can be a celebration of the person’s life as well as a chance to say goodbye to them.
You can plan a funeral yourself, but most people prefer to use a funeral director. If you are worried about the cost of the funeral, you can talk to different funeral directors before deciding who to use.
You can get contact details of funeral directors from your local phone book or online. You can find lists of funeral directors at:
- the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD)
- the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF).
If you are planning a cremation rather than a burial, you should contact your relative or friend’s GP. They can arrange for a cremation form to be completed. This form needs to be signed by 2 GPs, one who knew your relative or friend and one who did not know them. They may contact you for more information before the form is completed.
You may have very clear ideas about the funeral service and what you would like to include. You can also get ideas from books, online, or from the funeral director. Here are some things to think about when planning a funeral.
Choosing the type of funeral your relative or friend would have wanted
Your relative or friend may have talked about the type of funeral they wanted. They may even have planned their funeral in advance. Some people leave instructions in their will or have a pre-paid funeral plan.
If they have not left instructions, you might like to think about what they would have wanted while you plan. The funeral director can give you advice about things to consider. Talk to other people who knew them and get ideas from them too. Do not feel you have to make all the decisions yourself.
Deciding whether to have a religious or non-religious ceremony
Some people have a strong religious or spiritual faith. You can ask their faith leader to conduct the funeral or religious service.
Some people have no religious beliefs, and live their lives as humanists, agnostics, or atheists. A relative or friend can lead the funeral service, or you can ask a humanist official to conduct a non-religious ceremony. Your funeral director can give you more information about this.
Deciding where to have the funeral service
Some people have a clear idea of where they want to have the funeral or memorial service. A funeral, religious service, or spiritual service can be held wherever you like.
Services are often held in a place of worship, at a funeral home, or at a crematorium.
They can be held in other places if you prefer, such as in your relative or friend’s home, or a favourite place they liked to visit.
Deciding whether to have a burial or a cremation
After the memorial service, the person’s body is cremated or buried.
A cremation takes place in a crematorium. Your relative or friend may have talked to you about what to do with their ashes. You can collect the ashes and follow their wishes when you are ready.
A burial is usually in a cemetery or other official burial place. It is also possible for people to be buried in other places, such as a garden or woodland.
If you want to bury someone on a property you own or in a place they loved, you can get information from the Natural Death Centre.