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Planning a Funeral Service

Independent Funeral Celebrancy allows you the opportunity to arrange the funeral
service you are planning in such a way that it fully reflects your loved one and their beliefs.

It is at this time that the personal wishes and choices of the person who has passed on matter most, followed by the wishes of those closest.

Those of us making arrangements for a funeral service may have a very clear understanding of what a loved one would have wished to have happen but all too often these matters have remained unspoken.  

This can happen for a great many reasons. Death can come suddenly. It can linger painfully.  You may have lived apart from an older family member for some time and feel distanced emotionally. You may have lost someone you love very dearly and be feeling utterly bereft. Feelings of loss and confusion create uncertainty and it is this time that you need to be able to call on support to help you work your way through the possibilities open to you so that whatever you choose within the service matches your wishes entirely. 

As an Independent Funeral Celebrant I can help.

 What would you like to include ?    

  • music - classical / folk / pop / rock ... the genre is your choice
  • hymns
  • songs
  • prayers
  • readings
  • poetry
  • a number of short testimonials
  • longer tributes

People have displayed photographs, pieces of art and craft, sports outfits and trophies, a BMX bike, a go-kart and related gear.

I have seen allotment produce, a meat pie and a glass of beer on top of the coffin instead of flowers.

I have seen a sheet cover for the coffin bearing the painted hand-prints of everyone who was close to the deceased.

I have held the space as family members have walked around an art-covered cardboard coffin and written their own personal messages before the final committal.

We are limited only by our imaginations.


The choices are yours to make. 

Planning your own Funeral Service is a deeply meaningful thing to do. It allows you to say your goodbye in the way you wish to say it. Whilst you may choose to take others into account you are not bound by anyone else's wishes.

Let me share with you two or three real happenings.

A Funeral Service I led recently had been fully prepared, well in advance, by the person who had passed on. He didn't want a specifically religious service because he didn't attend a place of worship during his adult life but he had strong and special memories of his younger days growing up in the Methodist Church and of singing stirring hymns with his friends. He wanted to evoke those memories for those attending his funeral and so chose a particular hymn that he had really appreciated. Also included were the Christian Lord's Prayer and a specific piece of music that he wished to have played.                                            

His family ensured, in sharing stories about his life, that the Tribute I was able to piece together with and for them fully reflected the man he had been and the life he had lived.

Another person is facing her own death having known for some time now that the cancer she has is incurable. The time she has left to her is limited. She has strong personal spiritual beliefs and is working through this very deeply affecting time with calmness and graciousness. She is finding great pleasure, and a lot of fun, in planning her own farewell. She wants people to enjoy it. She has planned everything down to the last detail and her service will most certainly be both memorable and a fitting tribute to the person she has been in this lifetime.

We do not have to be solemn !

Approaching locations for a service of farewell with an open mind.

 A service of farewell doesn't have to be tied by time or place to the actual committal for burial or cremation. The Act of Committal could be entirely separate if wished.

To illustrate the point, for example, if the person who has passed on was a keen fell-walker in the Lake District, a 'farewelling' might take place in the open-air by a lake-side or at a particularly loved place. It would be a gathering and could embrace as much creativity as the situation called for. The person who had passed on would be held in the hearts and minds of those present and their life celebrated in the way most appropriate to them and their wishes, or the wishes of those nearest and dearest. Clearly sensitivity to the number involved in the gathering and the public nature of this would be carefully considered.

So locations might include for example :

  • spaces in the open-air
  • club-houses
  • hotels
  • country houses

The final committal could precede this or follow at a burial-site in a cemetery, designated woodland or at a crematorium, with the practical arrangements for that being made privately or through a Funeral Director.

Within certain constraints, burial is entirely feasible on private land and individuals can make all the arrangements themselves if wished.

As an Independent Funeral Celebrant I would be privileged to assist in planning for this kind of approach and to lead any such gathering.

It is worth adding that such services of farewell could be recorded and/or filmed so as to provide an enduring record. Where family and friends live at a distance or even overseas and are unable to attend, such a recording would offer a sense of inclusion...

the message here, again, is that we are only ever limited by our own imaginations and, of course, the finances available to us in given circumstances. 


Locations for the funeral service or 'farewell gathering' can be many and varied.