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Funeral Options

Your Choices

  • The majority of people choose to use a funeral director for the full funeral service
  • However, there are more choices available than you may realise, and there are no legal requirements for the form of a funeral ceremony
  • If you feel very strongly about the way you want your own funeral to go, you can leave instructions for your family in a letter detailing your wishes.

Bearing at a Funeral

It is not uncommon for the immediate family or closest friends to want to bear (carry) the coffin at a funeral. The hardest of men can find this impossible on the day of the funeral. A professional Funeral Director will always have the same number of his colleagues available to help his clients if they find the task too hard as he would have if they had not indicated they intended to bear.

Generally four men are required with the tallest standing the furthest from the hearse when the coffin is taken off. The number one rule is to stay facing the hearse at all times. A coffin/deceased is carried foot first at all times and so when the coffin is taken from the hearse and the bearers have the coffin on their shoulders they will still be facing the hearse. Once settled the bearers will have to turn around before they proceed.

Traditional Funeral

  • The majority of people choose a religious form of a ceremony which follows their cultural traditions
  • The format is laid down in the service books at the crematorium or local place of worship.
  • A funeral may also be arranged in two parts: first a service at the place of worship, and then a committal at the crematorium or cemetery.
  • UK Directory of Funeral Directors"

A Non-religious Funeral

  • If you want a non-religious funeral, then the British Humanist Association runs a helpline, (020 7079 3580), which will put you in touch with a local secular efficient. Their website also has a searchable database of officiants (by postcode) that you might want to use.

A Woodland Burial

  • Some people are choosing a woodland burial site instead of a cemetery or crematorium
  • There are now over seventy woodland burial sites in the UK
  • It may be possible to be buried in a cardboard or wicker coffin or even in a shroud
  • In some, a tree is planted, at others, the site is already a nature reserve but individual plaques may still be possible
  • Visit Our Section About "Woodland Burials and Green Funerals"

A DIY Funeral

  • A small but growing number of DIY funerals are held every year
  • Some people desire to be personally involved at every stage of saying farewell to the deceased
  • Some people desire to find an inexpensive or greener alternative to the conventional funeral
  • You can deal with all the arrangements (from the time of death to the final interment) OR you can arrange to handle just a part of the ceremonies
  • The Natural Death Centre publishes a resource list for DIY burials

Burial at Sea

  • There are only two places where sea burials are permitted: Newhaven and the Needles Spoil Ground, to the West of the Isle of Wight
  • When you register the death, you should tell the registrar that you are planning a sea burial and obtain a Coroner's Out of England Form
  • The free licence must be obtained from the Marine Environmental Protection agency at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food  (Tel: 0207-238-5872 or 0207-238-5868)

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