Understanding Funeral options – Making Decisions
There are lots of different decisions and choices that can be made when planning a funeral. Often, these choices include things like selecting a coffin, choosing flowers and deciding on a location for the wake. The amount of choices you can make will depend on your circumstances and what you feel is right for you. The amount of different possibilities can be overwhelming, so we have broken some of them down below. It is important to remember that the options that are given below are by no means exhaustive of all the possibilities, but are instead given as an example of the options that are available. If you would like our support with any of the decisions you are thinking about, please get in contact with us.
Understanding Funeral options – Coffins
You may be thinking about ways to make the funeral reflect the life of the person who has died and the choice of coffin and urn can help to achieve this. Traditionally, wooden coffins were used but increasingly people are opting for more contemporary choices. There is no legal requirement to use a coffin, however, public decency dictates that a body should be covered and alternatives to coffins (such as shrouds) are also available.
If you are not certain what type of coffin you would like, we can provide you with information on the different options, including:
Traditional wooden style coffins – There is a huge variety of different styles, colours and materials available to choose from and they range from very simple laminate options to more ornate solid wood coffins.
Wicker coffins – these can be made from a variety of different materials, such as bamboo, banana and willow. These can be natural or coloured (such as a white wicker coffin, or a bright rainbow wicker coffin) depending on your preference
Cardboard coffins – these can be plain or they can have bespoke designs – for example a picture coffin can be covered with photographs, skylines, flowers or football club logos. If you really want to create a unique coffin, you could have a plain cardboard coffin and have children, family and friends decorate it with pictures, messages and photographs.
Wool coffins – these fabric coffins offer a softer and warmer alternative. They are biodegradable and are suitable for any type of burial or cremation.
Shrouds – these can be plain or decorative, white or coloured. They can be anything from just a white cotton sheet, to beautifully hand stitched woollen felt supported on a greenwood pole frame.
Understanding Funeral options – Urns
We also have a variety of urns available to choose from, which range from the more traditional wooden urn to contemporary handmade bespoke designs:
Brass and metal urns – these can be of simple design or be more decorative
Wooden caskets – traditional looking box shaped option which you may choose to personalise
Scatter tubes – simply designed to hold cremated remains to enable you to scatter them in a location(s) of your choice. You can choose from a plain look or a more colourful design
Bios urn – provides a medium for the growth of a tree or plant when planted with the remains of your loved one
Water soluble urn – can be in decorative shapes such as turtles or water-lilies. They are designed to be placed in water and will slowly dissolve leaving the cremated remains behind
Bio-degradable urn – can be placed or buried in natural environments and will slowly degrade leaving cremated remains behind
Keepsake urns – these are small, miniature urns which can hold some of the ashes. They are ideal to be used as decorative pieces to help remember your loved one and can be in any shape or form you can imagine
Our website is not exhaustive of the options available to you so please ask if you have a specific idea in mind.
Understanding Funeral options – Religious and non-religious services
Choosing where the service will take place, and who will lead the ceremony will depend on your preferences and the personal, religious and spiritual beliefs of the person who has died; Religious and non-religious services are widely available. You may wish to conduct the funeral service yourself but if you would like to use a professional celebrant then there are a wide range of celebrants available. You may prefer a church minister, a humanist officiant or a civil celebrant.
We work hard to try to introduce you to a celebrant with whom you will be able to establish an easy rapport. Celebrants and Ministers may have varying costs but we will be sure to advise you of these when you tell us your preference.
A good Minister or Celebrant will meet with you to understand the individual story of the person who has died. They will discuss a eulogy, poems, readings and prayers to create a fitting tribute.
It is important that you make your wishes known. The person you choose to work with may have a set way of structuring a service, but if you want something different that is OK. The sharing of memories of a loved one is very personal and we will work with you in order to ensure that the individual is reflected just as you wish.
Below, we have set out some information about Religious and non-religious services. In addition we have also provided some information about celebrants but please don’t hesitate to contact us if you want to discuss this further.
Religious officiant – if the person who has died was religious, they may have left wishes that their local religious officiate conduct their funeral. The officiate may be willing to hold the service at another location (eg a natural burial ground or crematorium).
You may have preferred prayers, readings or hymns, but if you are not sure, the officiate will provide guidance when you meet.
If it is your preference to have a religious service for the person who has died, you can liaise with the officiate personally, as much or as little, as you wish. If you would prefer us to liaise with them, please advise us of this and we will do so and keep you informed.
Humanist celebrant – Humanist ceremonies offer a very personal way to say goodbye and to remember the person who has died without any religious content. It is all about celebrating the individual and the connections made throughout their life and focusing on the life they have lived. The individual does not need to have been a practising humanist in life, in order to have a humanist funeral.
There are some humanist officiants who will allow a prayer or religious reading to be spoken in the ceremony; however, they will require someone else to read. Non-religious poems, readings and music are welcomed in the ceremony and family and friends are offered the option to speak.
Civil celebrants – civil services tend to sit between a religious service and a humanist ceremony and most civil celebrants will capture the personality and experiences of the individual as well as including some religious content as required.
Music, hymns, prayers or readings can be incorporated and family and friends are welcome to participate in the ceremony. The most important part of the ceremony is the tribute to the person who has died and this may include recounting life experiences, memories and personal anecdotes.
Family or friends – you do not have to have a Minister or celebrant leading the service. You, family members or friends could oversee the ceremony. This is a way to create a very personal service, but should be carefully thought about as some speakers may find this difficult on the day.
Understanding Funeral options – Cars and Travel
More people are now becoming aware of the different options available to make a funeral reflect the person who has died. Knowing what is possible means that you can identify choices that might be meaningful for you. For some people, the choice of funeral vehicle can be very important.
Cars – most people are familiar with a cortege of traditional black hearse and limousines. Traditional funeral cars are also available in different colours and different makes so if this is important to you, then please discuss this with your funeral director.
The person who has died may have hobbies and interests that could be reflected in your choice of car. A vintage hearse for a classic car enthusiast, motorcycle hearse for a biker, pink hearse for someone who liked to make a statement or a Land Rover Discovery hearse for an adventurer are all available (along with many more).
If you would like to consider different ideas and understand all your options, we will work with you to find that special something.
Horse Drawn Hearses – the beautiful horse drawn hearses are certainly eye catching and can make a fitting tribute, especially if someone was a horse lover in life. Horses are specifically trained for this and are immaculate in their style and grace during a funeral.
Horses can be black or white and can be adorned in specific colours, which may represent a sports team or the a favourite colour of the person who has died.
For more information about travel options, please contact us.
Understanding Funeral options – Flowers and Stationary
Flowers and stationary are very important to many people. Floral tributes range from the more traditional to the completely unique and you can be as creative as you wish. You might find it helpful to consider whether the person who has died had a favourite flower or colour and whether there is a shape (such as a wreath or heart) that you feel is most fitting.
If you would like to, you can use your own home grown flowers or plants within the service. Also, you may choose to sow seeds at a burial site or give packets of seeds to friends and families to scatter in memory of the person who has died (as a funeral “favour”).
There are many options available to choose from when looking for the perfect floral arrangement. At Full Circle Funerals, we listen to what you want and will help you to achieve this your way.
Some floral options include:
Wreaths – Whilst these are the flower tributes that are most typically associated with funerals, they can be either traditional looking or made more unique with a personal touch of colour, logo or name.
Funeral Crosses – Funeral crosses also have strong connection with funeral and they are traditionally sent by family or close friends. They are available in a range of colours and styles from most flower outlets.
Posies – The posy tribute is circular so that the flowers can be viewed easily from all angles. They can be made to modern or traditional styles, and you can choose the most appropriate colour flowers and ribbons.
Tied Sheaf – A tied sheaf looks very similar to a normal flower bouquet. However, it has now been made to suit funerals. The plastic that would usually surround the bouquet has been removed, it is instead tied and is aesthetically pleasing and stylish, giving a slightly more modern feel. You are able to choose whichever flower you would like incorporated into the sheaf and colours.
Coffin Spray – A coffin spray tends to be placed on top of the coffin, either in the hearse or once at the ceremony location. These can be made to different sizes and colours of and type of flower can be chosen.
Flowers woven into coffin – Single flowers and greenery can easily be attached and woven through the side of wicker, willow and bamboo coffins. These could be flowers picked from your own garden or provided by a florist, and you may wish to be involved in weaving the flowers into the coffin on the day of the funeral.
Letter Tributes – Letter tributes will commonly accompany the coffin in the hearse. The most commonly used letter tributes are often the name of the person who has died or their relationship, for example ‘MUM’, nicknames are also used frequently. If this is an option you choose, you can once again select colours for the lettering as well as ribbons or other personalisation.
Special Tributes – Special tributes are usually items (such as teddy bears, football shirts or hobby equipment) that you would associate with the person who has died that is then made out of flowers.
If you do have a specific idea in mind, you should discuss this with either the funeral director or your chosen florist. They will then work with you to ensure that the floral tribute is exactly what you want.
Floral tributes can either be placed in the hearse by the funeral director or, if you wish, you can place them on to the coffin on arrival at your home or chosen location.
Your stationary choices:
Funeral stationery is a simple but effective way of personalising a funeral and provides an opportunity to create a unique memorial for everyone to take away with them.
More and more people are selecting beautifully designed Orders of Service, Attendance Cards, Memorial Cards and Bookmarks all of which can include photographs, readings, sports themes or personal family messages.
These, of course, are all optional but if it is something you would like to consider, we are happy to talk about different options and designs that expand on the ideas that you already have.
Remember, there are no rules or obligations about what you should or should not have at a funeral service. It is about reflecting the person who has died and creating something that is helpful for you and your family and friends.
Understanding Funeral options – Other Ideas
Full Circle Funerals want to make sure that you, and your loved ones, have all their wishes met on the day of the funeral and we work tirelessly to help you to create a true reflection of the person who has died.
There are many other ideas for you to consider to make the day unique and individual to the person who has died, and we are happy to go over any of these with you. For example, your may choose to have a live singer, choir or band, might create a photo-board to take pride of place during refreshments or may like to place some personal items on the coffin to accompany (or replace) the flower arrangement.
If you would like to know any further information or would like to discuss a specific option, please let us know.
Contact Full Circle Funerals Partners
Feedback from the families we have supported