What to consider when organising a funeral
When you have suffered a bereavement and trying to cope with that loss and all of the feelings you may be experiencing, organising a funeral is an additional challenge. There can be a lot to think about when it comes to the planning which is often stressful, so it is always good to have support from friends, family and also professionals wherever possible.
As you do need to start with a clear idea of some key factors before you make any final decisions, you might like to treat the following questions as a tick list to help ensure you do make the right choices for your circumstances and to comply with your loved-ones wishes.
Do you know of any wishes that the deceased may have had regarding their funeral?
Some people choose to express desires they may want honouring at their funeral, whether they simply told a family member or a friend about a special song or they stated specific instructions in their will.
It is the perfect way to honour and respect your loved-one’s memory by satisfying their final wishes. People may specify anything from their want to be cremated or buried, any particular religious or alternative ceremony they would like, preferred hymns and prayers, even details like flowers; remembering that some people request flowers from family only and ask that friends and colleagues make donations.
It is always advisable to read the will before making the arrangements. Many people have organised a funeral and read the will afterwards, only to discover there have been very specifical requests that the have not met.
Are you choosing between a cremation or a burial?
If the deceased had no specific wishes to be either cremated or buried, you will need to make that decision. Some people choose not to proceed with a cremation for religious beliefs or they simply prefer the idea of a burial. It is important to educate and understand the differences between the two options if you are completely undecided. From there you can make an informed decision, perhaps in conjunction with close friends and family.
Have you thought about a green burial?
If the loved-one was passionate about environmental issues and / or had a strong love of the cuntryside, perhaps a green burial – also known as natural burial, or woodland burial – might be the more appropriate.
Green burials are a comparatively new concept, with the first green burial ground opening in Cumbria in 1993. There are now around 360 green burial sites in the UK, with several in Essex.
A green burial has minimal environmental impact and aids conservation of natural resources, reduction of carbon emissions, and preservation of habitat as the deceased’s body is laid in a non-toxic and readily biogradeable coffin or casket, normally without any embalming process.
Most natural burial grounds are woodland areas and headstones are not permitted, but they may be by a tree or flowers and you may be provided with a map. But perhaps the best idea is to consider the whole of the immediate area as your loved-one’s resting place and, if you wish to visit, you will invariably find the area is a serene oasis of calm.
Do any other family members or friends want to be involved in the funeral?
While you may not be organising and planning this funeral alone, there may be other family members or friends you may want to ask if they would like to get involved in some way. There may be someone who wants to do their bit in decorating the location where you are having the ceremony or after life celebration; they might even want to help in the process of organising flowers to be placed on the coffin.
People pay their respects in many different ways but some wish to express their feelings and honour the deceased’s memory by speaking, reading or performing a poem at the ceremony or celebration. Being a pall-bearer is another role that people like to take on to play their part in the funeral.
Have you chosen a funeral director?
An experienced funeral director can help you in so many ways when planning a funeral. They can help ensure that everything is addressed and taken care of before the event and on the day itself, including even the smallest of intricacies.
Finding a funeral director may not always be straightforward; it can be hard to know who to choose with so many people offering so many services. A service such as Beyond can help you to compare funeral directors in your area making the process so much smoother and simpler.