The funeral service is a way of saying goodbye to someone who has died. We are here to take you through the decisions you need to make to ensure you can arrange the funeral you want for your loved one.
Choosing between cremation or burial
The first choice people usually make is about the type of funeral service that will take place. Whether you choose a burial or a cremation, we’ll be there to make all the arrangements on your behalf.
Some things to consider about a cremation:
- It can cost less than a burial
- The funeral service can be held at the crematorium. Most will have a service room or other appropriate facilities
- The service may also take place in a church or another location before going to the crematorium
- There will be a strict time limit for the length of the service. This will vary depending on the crematorium
- You will need to decide the final resting place of the ashes. You can keep the ashes in an urn, scatter or bury them.
Some things to consider about a burial:
- You may already have a family grave or plot. We can arrange for this to be reopened and the headstone removed before burial
- In some areas, burial space may be limited or may be very expensive
- You might want to reserve plots or a large plot if you or your family want to be buried close by
- Woodland burials are now available in many areas in the country. Find out more about woodland burials
- You can hold the funeral service in a local church or in a cemetery chapel. Some funeral directors have a room you can use for a service if you prefer
- After the burial you will need to consider if you want a memorial headstone, or a new inscription on an existing headstone.
We can also give you advice on choosing a memorial and any local regulations you should know about.
Supplying information about the deceased
In order to make the funeral arrangements the funeral director will need:
- The full name of the person who has died
- Their full address
- Their date of birth
- Details of where and when they died
- Confirmation of whether the person who has died had a pacemaker fitted. Pacemakers must be removed before the cremation.
Making arrangements for the service
On the day of the funeral, the hearse will take the coffin to the funeral service. The hearse is usually followed by limousines that carry the chief mourners. We can provide chauffeured limousines to save you worrying about parking, driving and getting to the service on time.
Please let us know if there is a special route you would like the procession to take. We can discuss this with you when you make the arrangements.
Many people choose flowers that were a favourite of the person who has died, which can be another way of making the funeral more personal. There are many types of floral arrangements. If you’d like an idea of the kind of arrangements people tend to choose, we’ve put together a brochure that may help you decide what’s right for you.
Some people prefer to have flowers from the family only and choose an organisation for people to donate to instead of buying flowers. It is worth remembering that sending flowers can be a healing gesture for people who have lost someone close. It might be worth giving people the choice of sending flowers or donating money to a charity, or both.
We will collect the cards from the wreaths and bouquets and give them to you later if you want. We can also collect donations for you, and record who they are from.
Music, including hymns, tapes, CDs and live music, often plays an important part in a funeral service. Some churches have strict rules on the type of music allowed. If there is an organ, make sure the organist can play the hymns or songs you want.
You may want to think about other ways of making the funeral reflect the life of the person who has died. We will do our best to arrange anything we can for you. Some of the things people choose include horse-drawn hearses and releasing doves at the crematorium or at the grave.
What happens at the funeral?
There is no set procedure for a funeral but traditionally the funeral procession starts at the house of the person who has died – or sometimes the hospital or funeral home – with the coffin and cars travelling to the place where the funeral service will take place. The hearse sometimes goes straight to the service and mourners meet there.
The coffin is taken in to where the funeral service is to be held and close family members usually follow and sit at the front. For a burial, the coffin will be taken to the grave and lowered into the grave while a short service is held.
For a cremation, the coffin will be taken to the crematorium and placed on a stand. Towards the end of the service music is played and traditionally the coffin disappears from view. If you want the coffin to remain on view until after the mourners have left, please tell the funeral director.
Remember that there will be a time limit for the service. You can book more time at the crematorium if you like, although this may cost extra. Your funeral director can advise on times and costs.
After the funeral, friends and family usually get together for some refreshments, which often takes place at the deceased’s house, the house of a close family member or at a local pub or hotel.