Arranging a funeral

If you're planning a funeral for someone, you should probably start by determining their wishes. This could have been something they left in their will. Then you can look for a service that suits everyone's needs.

Dan Fitzpatrick avatar

Dan Fitzpatrick

07 January 2022

Funeral costs have increased in the last decade, forcing one out of every eight families to go into debt to pay for them. As a result, the number of alternative, more economical funeral solutions available in the UK has exploded.

Arranging a funeral

Step 1: Choosing what type of funeral you want

Is it better to be buried or cremated? Is it better to have a more traditional service or something more personalised? There are a variety of funeral services to choose from. When it comes to funeral arrangements, the first thing to consider is what your loved one would have preferred. Many families are reluctant to discuss such matters, but you may be able to locate information about their funeral preferences in their will.

If your loved one didn't leave a will, or you're preparing to assist your family in planning your own burial, you'll want to start by learning about the various forms of funerals available in the UK.

The following are the most popular choices:

Cremation service

The most popular style of funeral in the United Kingdom is a cremation service, sometimes known as a funeral service. It usually takes place in a cremation chapel, allowing you to say your goodbyes in a beautiful environment with the people you care about.

The cost of a cremation service varies depending on your preferences and where you live in the United States. However, if you want to personalise the coffin or hire limos to transport everyone to the wake, it might cost more than £5,000.

Direct cremation

For many years, direct cremation has been a low-cost funeral option, but it grew in popularity in 2016 after David Bowie pre-arranged for one following his death.

What is a direct cremation, exactly? In a nutshell, it's a way to receive your loved one's ashes without having to hold a funeral.

Your loved one is taken from their place of death and cremated privately in a crematorium. This provides you with the time and freedom to make your own family arrangements. After that, the ashes are given to you in a lovely, temporary urn. After that, you can hold your own memorial service before spreading or exhibiting the ashes at home.

Traditional burial

When most people think of preparing a funeral, they envision a typical burial service. This is followed by a viewing or visitation at a church, funeral home, or other event location, when family and friends can say their goodbyes and pay their respects.

A formal funeral ceremony follows, which may include prayers, readings, eulogies, and music. After the service, the deceased is brought to the cemetery, where he or she is buried in front of family and friends. A funeral reception may be held as part of this event.

Woodland burial

Instead of a standard cemetery plot, a woodland burial involves burying someone in a natural setting such as a woodland, meadow, or orchard.

People prefer woodland graves for a variety of reasons, but one of the most common is to minimise the environmental impact of the burial. Natural burials are a subset of forest graves that are devoted solely to this purpose.

It's important to note that each woodland burial location has its own set of laws and services. Most sites, for example, allow minor memorial markers, but some do not allow any alterations to the surrounding environment.

Step 2: Calculating how much the funeral will cost

The typical cost of a funeral in the United Kingdom varies based on the style of ceremony you want, so it's important to set a budget that you and your family are happy with ahead of time.

The cost of a cremation

Cremation services cost an average of £3,250. This includes everything from funeral directors to crematoriums and funeral services. However, if you wish to customise things like flowers or the coffin, the price is likely to increase.

The cost of a direct cremation

For a fixed upfront charge of £895, you can arrange for a direct cremation. You'll have more money left over after you've taken care of the cremation at a reduced cost, so you may plan a memorial with family.

The cost of a burial

For a modest package, the average cost of a burial is roughly £4,250. However, items such as flowers, headstones, cars, a coffin, and the burial ground cost can quickly add up, causing families to spend far more than they anticipated.

Step 3: Deciding where to have the funeral

If you're planning a cremation service, you might have a preferred crematorium in mind. If you'd rather have a direct cremation, the monument can be placed wherever you like.

Here are some suggestions for commemorating your loved one's life after a direct cremation:

  • For a memorial with family and friends, rent out your local town hall.

  • Host a get-together at your home where everyone can raise a glass to them.

  • Visit your loved one's favourite beauty location and tell them all about it.

  • Spend a day at the beach with your closest family members and spread their ashes in the ocean.

How soon after a death should a funeral be held?

After a death, a funeral is normally held one or two weeks later. If you choose direct cremation, on the other hand, there's no need to rush the memorial service. You have the option to organise a memorial at a time and place that is convenient for you and your family once the cremation has been completed and your loved one's ashes have been given to you.

This is especially useful if you have family who live abroad or in different parts of the country, since it allows everyone to make plans without adding to the stress of the occasion.

Is it law for me to have a funeral?

In the United Kingdom, there is no legal requirement to hold a funeral service, although there is a legal requirement to dispose of the body. In 2016, David Bowie experienced just this. Bowie disliked the concept of a sombre, traditional burial, therefore he planned ahead for a straight cremation following his death. His ashes were thereafter spread in Bali, as per his instructions.

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