Arranging a funeral

Grieving the loss of a loved one is extremely difficult,. This guide offers compassionate support in navigating the funeral planning process - from burial or cremation, to celebrating their life.

Planning a funeral can feel overwhelming, especially during a time of grief. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you through the process and things to consider along the way:

Step 1: Find out if there are any pre-existing funeral plans
Start by checking if the deceased left behind any funeral instructions in their will or had a pre-paid funeral plan. This can provide guidance on their final wishes.

Step 2: Determine how the funeral will be paid for
Look into life insurance policies, bank accounts, or any funds that could cover funeral costs. This will help to determine your budget. If you are worried about the cost of a funeral, our team of bereavement advisors can help to explore your options further, including checking eligibility for the Funeral Expenses Payment and a grant search.

Step 3: Decide if you need a funeral director
Many people find comfort in seeking the services of a funeral director to handle the practicalities of arrangements during such a difficult time. At Funeral Experts, our aim is to offer gentle support as you navigate this process. Our online comparison tool carefully explores our wide array of funeral directors, taking into account aspects such as location, pricing, and available services. Additionally, our compassionate funeral advice team is on hand to provide guidance and reassurance throughout. Whether you choose to utilise our online tool or prefer a personal consultation over the phone, rest assured, we’re here to accompany you every step of the journey in finding the right funeral director for your needs.

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Step 4: Choose between burial or cremation
When facing the choice between burial and cremation, it’s important to consider various factors that can influence your decision. This choice is often shaped by personal preferences, religious beliefs, and financial considerations.

Burial and cremation each offer unique advantages and considerations. Burial, for instance, provides a traditional resting place that some individuals find comforting. It allows for the creation of a physical memorial where loved ones can visit and pay their respects.

On the other hand, cremations can be less expensive than a burial. Cremated remains can be kept in an urn, scattered in a meaningful location, or even turned into memorial jewellery. This flexibility allows families to tailor the memorialisation process to their preferences and budget.

Ultimately, the decision between burial and cremation is deeply personal and should reflect the wishes of the deceased and their loved ones. Funeral Experts is here to provide support and guidance as you navigate this important decision, ensuring that you make the choice that best honours your loved one’s memory and meets your individual needs.

Step 5: Select a coffin, casket or container
Choosing the right coffin, casket or container is an important decision that requires careful thought, as there is a wide range of styles, materials, and costs to consider. Some key factors to keep in mind include:

Overall cost
Materials used in construction (wood, metal, eco-friendly options, etc.)
Environmental impact and biodegradability
Aesthetic design and appeal
Reflecting the personality/tastes of the deceased
The selection needs to align with the type of service – cremation vs burial, and any specific requirements of the crematorium or cemetery. For eco-friendly green burials, biodegradable coffins free of chemicals are typically required.

Step 6: Determine the type of funeral service
Choosing the right type of funeral service is a meaningful decision, and it’s understandable that it can feel overwhelming at times. It’s important to ensure that the service reflects the unique personality, beliefs, and preferences of your loved one.

Here are some gentle considerations to guide you:

The cultural and religious traditions of your loved one
The size and scope of the gathering, considering the wishes of family and friends
The location and setting that best captures the essence of your loved one’s life
The tone and atmosphere you wish to create, whether it’s a formal ceremony or a more intimate gathering
The inclusion of personalised touches and meaningful rituals to commemorate your loved one’s life

Whether you’re considering a traditional funeral service, a memorial service, a celebration of life ceremony, or a combination of these, each option offers a unique opportunity for remembrance and healing.

Funeral Experts will provide you with invaluable support and guidance as you navigate this decision, ensuring that the chosen type of service honours your loved one’s memory in a meaningful and respectful way.

Step 7: Find an officiant
For a religious funeral, you’ll need to engage with the place of worship. For non-religious funerals, you can hire a celebrant.

Step 8: Choose a Venue
Funeral services can be held in churches, funeral homes, crematoriums and outdoor spaces – choose a setting that feels appropriate for you and your family.

Step 9: Prepare Important Elements

Collect printed photos or digital photos to display during the service or use in a video tribute. Choose photos that capture happy memories and milestones in their life. Check with the venue to ensure they have the right equipment.

Make a list of your loved one’s favourite songs to play during the service. You can have music playing as guests arrive and during certain portions of the service.

Decide if you’d like to have readings from literature, poems, religious texts or personal letters. These can be done by yourself or others during the service.

Select the types of floral arrangements and flowers that were meaningful to the deceased. You can incorporate their favourite colours or flower varieties.

Personal Items
Display belongings, or sentimental items that represented their personality and interests. This could include artwork, trophies, a uniform or emblems, collectibles, etc.

Other Personal Touches
Create a memorial guest book or tribute wall for guests to share memories. Have ceremonial items used if incorporating cultural or religious traditions. Provide personalised memorial printing – order of service, bookmarks, seed packets.

Take your time going through belongings and old photos. Involving other family members can help spark ideas. Don’t hesitate to share special stories or anecdotes with the funeral director to make the service unique.

Step 10: Prepare an Obituary & Notification List
Draft an obituary and compile addresses/emails to notify the deceased’s community. The information an obituary would usually include would be:

Date of death

You can also choose to include other information such as close family members, details of funeral and any special accomplishments of the deceased.

Step 11: Make arrangements for the wake
After the funeral service, it is common to hold a “wake” to allow family and friends to further come together in celebration of your loved one’s life. This gathering provides more opportunity for sharing memories and comforting one another.

When making arrangements, you may want to consider:

Wake venue
The funeral home may have rooms or spaces you can reserve. Other options include restaurants, community centres, family homes. Choose somewhere comfortable that can accommodate the expected number of guests

Food and drinks
Decide if you would like to serve just drinks and light snacks or have a fuller meal or buffet. You can hire caterers or provide the food yourself, but this may depend on the venue.

Creating a custom playlist of their favourite songs can set an appropriate mood. You may also want to have a friend or family member provide live music.

Memorabilia display
Set up a table with photos, belongings, awards, etc. to celebrate their life. Provide a memorial book for guests to leave entries.

The wake allows guests to spend much-needed time together, while sharing in the collective grief and life appreciation. Whether keeping it intimate or open to a wider community, it can be a greatly comforting experience. You may decide that a reception or wake its not appropriate. This is a deeply personal decision and we would recommend you take your time to think about this and talk it out with others around you if you feel comfortable.

We at Funeral Experts know there is a lot to think about when planning a funeral, which is why we are here to help you. Call our funeral experts now on 0333 0912 490 for support from our friendly and compassionate team.