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Guide to funerals

More and more people are choosing to make arrangements for their own funeral. Planning your own funeral removes the stress and worry from your family regarding both the expense and all the difficult decisions that need to be made.

Instead your family and friends can spend time grieving and sharing happy memories together. They can give you a warm and dignified send off with a funeral complete with your personal touch.

Whilst each funeral is unique and individual, we have put together a short guide on arranging a funeral.

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Arranging a funeral

Here is a short guide of the important things to consider when arranging a funeral.

1 funeral director

Funeral Director

This is where you should start, as most arrangements are made through a Funeral Director. You should always use one that is accredited by a professional association, such as the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD). This means they are regulated and have to adhere to strict codes of practice.

The Funeral Director will provide compassion and advice when a loved one passes away (including advising on registering the death) and will assist you in planning the funeral and laying them to rest.

2 funeral notice

Funeral notices

In a final sign of respect and love, a funeral notice or obituary can be placed in a local or national newspaper (depending on who the person is). It can say something that reflects the life of the deceased and explain when and where the funeral will take place.

3 flowers


Casket sprays and funeral crosses are usually picked by loved ones, allowing them to add their own personal touches to the service. Particular colours or types of flowers can be specified, such as an arrangement that says ‘mum’ or that matches the insignia of the deceased’s favourite football team.

4 transpaort


The person in charge of arranging the funeral will decide who travels in the limousines behind the hearse and who will need to use their own car. A prepaid funeral plan could also dictate this, meaning loved ones won’t need to struggle with the decision, as they would be respecting the deceased’s wishes.

5 Order of service

Order of Service

This covers what will be included in the funeral and in what order they happen. It can be based on the personal preference of the family, the deceased themselves or it can be dictated by religious traditions.

  • Music upon entrance
  • Introduction by the celebrant (who can be civil or religious)
  • Singing or recitation of a verse
  • One or more funeral readings
  • A funeral address or appreciation of the life of the departed
  • Quiet time for reflection, usually accompanied by music
  • Funeral prayers and/or words of comfort
  • Singing or joint recitation of a verse to bring mourners together
  • Words of commendation before burial or cremation
  • Words and/or music to accompany committal of the deceased
  • Closing words (or a blessing)
  • Close (accompanied by music)
  • Music to leave
6 clothing


Traditionally, mourners wear black to funerals, as this is seen as a sign of respect for the deceased. However, if the deceased has expressed something different in a Will or prepaid funeral plan, then loved ones can be asked to wear something out of the ordinary. For example, they may be asked to wear a specific colour, such as pink to support breast cancer awareness.

7 eulogies and readings

Eulogies and readings

Readings and eulogies provide loved ones an opportunity to express their feelings about the person they have lost. It can be something written by a renowned literary figure or something that the mourner has crafted themselves. It can be read by a loved one or by the person leading the service.

8 music


The music chosen should have a connection to the person that died or express how loved ones felt about the person they are saying goodbye to. You usually have three pieces, one as people are entering, one in the middle when there is time for reflection and one as people are leaving.

9 wake


The wake is an opportunity for friends and family to come together and mourn the deceased and also share happy memories. It’s a chance to remember them and celebrate the life they lived, while also allowing friends to pass on condolences to the family. It can happen in a pub, at home or in another location, depending on the wishes of loved ones or the deceased.

It can be catered, which could be a few sandwiches or a hot buffet, and a variety of drinks can be provided. You can decide whether or not alcohol will be served, depending on the atmosphere of the wake and the deceased’s wishes.

10 donation

Donation to charity

Family and friends could be encouraged to make a donation to a charity that was close to the heart of the deceased, as this would be a nice legacy to leave in their name.

These things could be taken care of beforehand in a prepaid funeral plan, taking away some of the responsibilities that will be heaped on the family.


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