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Different types of funerals

Every person has different likes and dislikes and this is no different when it comes to funerals.

The type you choose can depend on a myriad of factors, such as cultural traditions, personal preference and religious beliefs, which can then influence whether viewings or visitations are permitted and whether you will be buried or cremated.

There are a whole range of options to choose from, meaning there will be something that is right for you. Here is a quick overview to the most common types of funeral.

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Traditional funeral

The traditional funeral has two functions; to acknowledge the life and death of the person and to bring grieving family and friends together to say goodbye.

This usually involves a viewing or visitation. The coffin is then transported in a hearse to the funeral service. For traditional funerals, the funeral service is normally held in a church. After the funeral service the deceased is taken to their final resting place. There can also be a gathering after the service - typically referred to as a wake - to share memories about the recently departed.

You may have specific wishes for your own funeral which your loved ones are not aware of when you pass. To ensure they are met, you can plan your funeral in advance with a funeral director when you take out a funeral plan.

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traditional funeral


Over the last 50 years, this has become the most popular type of funeral - accounting for around 70 per cent of all ceremonies every year. Typically, the service takes place in a chapel or stet, but it can happen after a church service, depending on the wishes of the deceased.

Once the body has been cremated, loved ones are usually given the ashes in an urn, which can then be kept or scattered in a place that has meaning for the family.


Humanist funeral

A humanist funeral is a non-religious service that celebrates the life and achievements of the deceased, while giving them a dignified farewell. The service usually involves carefully selected readings and pieces of music, as well as a tribute given by someone close to the deceased.

They can be held at crematoria, cemeteries, the home or woodland burial sites - depending on the deceased’s wishes.

humanist funeral

Religious funerals

If you have followed a religion throughout your life, then you may wish to reflect this in your funeral by having a service that follows your beliefs and values. Each religion has a specific set of traditions, including what happens in the service, how the body is treated after death and what happens to the remains.

There are several different kinds you can have, so here is a brief overview of the most popular ones in the UK:

  • Christian
  • Hindu
  • Sikh
  • Buddhist
  • Islamic
  • Jewish



Green and woodland funerals

This type of service is ideal for those looking to be buried in a naturally beautiful setting, which can provide loved ones with a place to visit when they want to remember you.

In this instance, there are usually no religious or spiritual attachments to the funeral and the body is placed in a biodegradable container, such as a cardboard or wicker coffin, rather than being embalmed. The graves can then be marked with something like a memorial tree or a bronze plaque, preserving the natural wonder of the surroundings.

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Burial at sea

Currently, there are only a handful of burials at sea performed every year from three designated sites in England. It is available to anyone, but is usually taken up by former Naval personnel to acknowledge their commitment to the sea.

A boat will take the coffin, as well as family and friends, before the deceased is laid to rest on the bottom of the sea floor. A licence is needed for a burial at sea, but you can scatter ashes at sea without a licence.

burial at sea


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