Roses and lavender in full bloom in the Allcock Funeral Home garden.

Planning a funeral

Some things to consider when arranging a funeral

Home » Bereavement guide » Planning a funeral

This guide is intended to help you whether you are planning a funeral for a loved one, or planning one in advance for yourself.

To help make the process easier we’ve outlined many of the things you may wish to think about. At the same time, we believe that every funeral is a unique celebration of somebody’s life. That’s why we’re always here to have a chat about your specific needs or any questions you may have.

What type of funeral will this be?

  • Should the service have a religious context – and, if so, what religion? These days, many funerals are carried out on a secular basis with words and music not associated with any church or religion.
  • Will the service will be followed by a cremation or a burial?
  • If it is to be a burial, will this be in the local churchyard, a cemetery, or a woodland? Alternatively, could this be in the garden at home, or at sea. Will anyone else be buried in the same grave in the future?
  • If the funeral is to be a cremation will the ashes be buried or scattered? Will this take place in the Garden of Remembrance at the crematorium or somewhere more personal, such as in the garden at home, beside a river, in the woods or maybe at a favourite sporting venue?

Where will the funeral be held?

  • Will there be a service in a church before the cremation or burial? Or, will the service take place in a crematorium or cemetery chapel?
  • For non-religious services, do you have a local hall or garden in mind where the service could take place?

How will everyone get to the funeral?

  • Would you like the hearse to depart from home? Or would you prefer it to meet you where the service is being held?
  • Will a limousine be needed to transport the family to the funeral?
  • Our funeral cars are the only silver fleet in the region. We feel this reflects the views of many who see a funeral as a chance to celebrate the life of the deceased. However, you may prefer to use an alternative such as a horse-drawn hearse or even a motorcycle hearse.

How will the deceased be remembered?

  • Will the family wish to visit the deceased at the Chapel of Rest before the funeral?
  • Who might want to be personally involved in the service by reading, giving an address or playing some music?
  • What kind of coffin or casket will be used? The most common traditional options range from a simple veneered coffin to a solid wood coffin, or a solid wood or metal casket (for burial only). More sustainable options are also available and are usually made from cardboard, wicker or bamboo.
  • Will the deceased wear their own clothing or a gown supplied by your funeral director?
  • What type of memorial will be chosen?
  • What kind of flowers will be used to decorate the funeral?
  • Will there be a collection for donations to a chosen charity?

Almost anything is possible when it comes to planning a funeral and no two services are ever the same. With a little thought, and some guidance from a professional funeral director, you will be able to arrange a service that is deserving of the life that went before it.

Common questions about arranging a funeral

How do I cope with grief?

Sadly, bereavement is something most of us experience at some time in our lives, and everybody responds to it in different ways.

Grief is painful, time consuming and exhausting. It may give rise to symptoms or feelings you did not expect. Many people instinctively try to hide their feelings but however they are expressed, they are an inevitable part of bereavement.

Our best advice is to not be afraid to share how you feel with a sympathetic listener. This may be a family member, friend, Minister of Religion or possibly a bereavement counsellor. If you are having difficulties in coping with your bereavement, don’t be afraid to talk to us. We may not be able to help you directly, but we can certainly put you in touch with someone who can.

How do I explain the loss of a loved one to a child?

In our view, it is important that a child is told as quickly as possible when there is a death in the family.

It is easy to think you should protect children from anything that might upset them, but the fairest thing is to be honest with them. The news should be gently broken to them in a simple and straightforward manner by the person they are closest to.

A child’s imagination is often far worse than reality. So do not be afraid to use words like “died” or “dead” but be mindful of the pictures you may create in the child’s mind. These images need to be relevant to what the child actually knows or has seen in order for what you’re saying to make sense to them.

Encourage the child to talk about the person who has died and to ask questions. Do not be afraid to give them an honest answer. We believe that even children who only have a limited understanding of what is happening should be given the opportunity to attend the funeral.