Types of funeral service

When it comes to arranging a funeral, choosing the right type of funeral service is an important decision. The good news is that whether your decision is motivated by the environment, cultural background, religion, family tradition, beliefs or budget, you now have choices.

These days funeral directors are experienced in arranging all types of funeral service. From Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Sikh or Buddhist funeral services to non-religious humanist services. You just need to consider what’s right for you and your family, which is where a little advanced funeral planning can help.

The following guide explains the different types of funeral services available in the UK to help you make the right decision for you and your family.

The cremation funeral service

Cremation is the most popular type of funeral service in the UK. It is usually cheaper than burial and the service, be it a simple or extravagant affair can be tailored to your religious or non-religious beliefs. You can now even arrange a cremation without a funeral service, allowing family to say good bye their way.

In addition to flexibility, when it comes to arranging a funeral, the cremation process is also perceived to be more straightforward. For example, there is no need to find a plot. Instead ashes can be returned to family to do as they wish.

The burial funeral service

A traditional burial funeral service will usually take place in a cemetery or churchyard however these days you can also be buried in a designated meadow or woodland burial plot. If you haven’t got a family plot readily available, you will need to consider buying a burial plot as both space and cost can limit the options available to you.

Non-religious celebrant and humanist funeral services

If you prefer a non-religious type of funeral service, you may want to consider either a celebrant or humanist funeral. Both options celebrate the life of the person who has died and may include tributes, readings, music or poems.

Typically, a humanist funeral service will have no religious content whatsoever. However, celebrants are usually more open to including hymns or perhaps the lord’s prayer if you prefer to keep some religious content.

Green funerals

When people talk about green funerals they are usually referring to woodland burials however there are ways you can make any type of funeral service a little more ecofriendly. Burial is the most ecologically friendly option as long as it follows natural burial practices, although ashes are also accepted in many woodland burial sites.

DIY funerals

You may not be aware but there is actually no legal requirement to have a funeral or use the services of a funeral director, so you could arrange a DIY funeral. You would need to consider the logistics however as DIY funerals are not for everyone.

For example, who will care for the body prior to the funeral service, where will it be stored and for how long?

As far as the burial is concerned you can choose to be buried on private land as long as it’s with the owner’s permission. Again though, you would need to consider the impact on property value when you come to sell the house.

Burial at sea

Burial at sea may be the perfect answer for those looking for a watery send off however it can be taxing both in terms of time and cost.

Firstly, there are only three recognised places in the UK where a burial at sea can be arranged:

  • Off the Needles, the Isle of Wight
  • Between Hastings and Newhaven
  • Off Tynemouth, North Tyneside

Sea burials elsewhere are possible however they will be more expensive and you’ll have to produce the following documentation:

  • Death certificate
  • Certificate of freedom from fever and infection
  • Notice to a coroner for intent to remove the body from the UK

You may also have to provide evidence that your proposed sea burial location is suitable, including information on water depths, currents, pipelines and fishing.

Of course, the alternative to being buried at sea is to have your ashes scattered in the sea instead. An option that will almost certainly be cheaper, quicker and far more straightforward. 

What should I do now?

For more information on each type of funeral service, just click on the link below each section.

Alternatively read our helpful guides for more information on funeral planning.

Have you lost a loved one?

Arranging a funeral at this time is stressful.

More & more people are now pre-arranging their funeral as it can save their families a great deal of stress and significant financial costs.

When the time comes one phone call will take care of everything.

You can find out more information and compare funeral plans on this site.

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