Planning a Funeral
How to plan a funeral
Our funeral Guide will take you through a step-by-step process for planning a funeral service. Nobody likes to think of the time when they will not be there to support their loved ones anymore. A funeral plan or an over 50s plan could protect your family from having to pay upfront for your funeral. Your funeral could be paid for in advance with all your wishes fulfilled. Or you could leave a gift of a lump sum of cash to your loved ones.
Preparing for your funeral early can save you money. It allows you to freeze the ever-rising cost of a funeral, but fixed at today's prices. Today is always the best day to take out a funeral plan so you can be protected against inflation.
So, don’t wait until you are diagnosed with a critical illness or have a health scare before you start planning a funeral. Quote Me Less can help and guide you through every step of this process.
The foundations to planning a funeral
A funeral plan or pre-paid funeral plan is designed to enable you to pay for your funeral in instalments. These payments can be stretched over a period of 12months - 25years. If you’re thinking of planning a funeral, here are some important factors to consider when making your choices.
Choosing a location for the funeral service
Choosing the location of your funeral service can be a hard decision. We recommend it being somewhere that personally means a lot to you. Think of where you live now, the place you grew up or the place you were born. You may also need to consider whether immediate family can commute easily to visit your gravestone at a cemetery. It’s always worth checking the public transport available to enable them to visit the cemetery or memorial garden location easily.
When choosing a burial, you will need to decide whether this will be in a public or a religious cemetery. You may need to purchase a new cemetery plot and it’s beneficial to compare a few of these options. Most cemeteries are for public use and are owned by local government authorities. Some smaller cemeteries are independently owned and are for local community members only.
To find you’re nearest public cemetery, please speak to your local district council or visit www.gov.uk/find-local-council
Choosing the type of funeral service
Deciding what type of service you wish to have at you funeral is a choice that is personal to you. It can demonstrate your beliefs, show your personality, or represent experiences or achievements gained throughout your life. Everyone is different and how you express this during your service is entirely down to your individual preference.
When planning a funeral service, we can accommodate all types of funeral services and are always happy to adapt to your specific funeral service requirements. If you are a veteran or have been in the military, we can ensure a standard-bearer attends your funeral. If you wish to have an eco-friendly, natural or woodland funeral, we can help you choose the most sustainable option.
Anything from a simple, intimate funeral service, to a religious celebration of life. We have a plan to suit even most extravagant types of funeral service needs.
Choosing a funeral director
A funeral director is primarily put in place to ensure your funeral operates smoothly. The funeral director will arrange to collect your body from the hospital or place of death. As well as ensuring your body is looked after before your funeral, they will also prepare the legal documentation. They deal with every set of individual circumstances with the utmost care and respect to both you and your family.
Many people choose a funeral director that has either been recommended by friends, family or by local religious group leaders. We recommend comparing a few funeral directors costs to ensure you’re getting the best deal. You will need to choose a funeral director that you personally would feel completely comfortable and at ease with. Many care homes can also advise you on local funeral directors that have been positive experiences in the past.
Deciding whether you would like a memorial or a wake
Choosing whether you have a wake or a memorial service is usually distinguished by the type of funeral you have. Wakes and viewings are often informal functions, whilst memorials are more religious and formal, with both serving a different purpose.
A wake is a social function usually held before a funeral takes place with the body present. Wakes can take place at a funeral home, home of the deceased or at another personal, meaningful location. Viewing of the deceased is a vital and important ceremony for many religious groups. These rituals take place prior to the funeral to enable people to pray and pay their respects to the deceased.
A memorial service usually takes place after the burial or cremation of the deceased. They are mainly held at community centres, pubs, social clubs, outdoors or at church halls. During the memorial service loved ones and family members may pray or sing and read eulogies, passages or meaningful literatures. People use this time to reminisce, reflect, cherish and honour memories of their time spent with the deceased.
How to choose your pallbearers
Pallbearers are participants who carry the casket at a funeral and are usually close friends or family of the deceased. It has been traditional practice for a number of years that men would carry the coffin due to its weight. Today, many women also take part in this honouring role; this enables them to show their respect to the deceased.
You usually have six pallbearers whom sit in a specific designated space near the font of the funeral ceremony. They will carry the casket to and from the hearse, to the service and to the burial site, if required.
When choosing your pallbearers you will need to consider their individual emotional stability. You need to determine whether they will they be able to carry out the role during such a distressing time. You will also need to consider whether they have the physical ability to carry the casket. If someone is not able to do this, you may want to make them an ‘honorary pallbearer’. This allows them to walk in front, behind or to the side of the casket.
Funeral directors can provide additional pallbearers to carry the casket or can be guided on a conveyed bier - wheeled stand.
How to choose a florist and flower arrangements
Funeral flowers are a typical, traditional way to pay tribute to the dearly departed. Immediate family usually prefer to choose their own personal flower arrangements to be lay on top or around the casket. They are able to choose from a wide range of arrangements such as hearts, cushions, wreaths and customised tributes. It is funeral etiquette for friends and work colleagues to choose a spray or sheaf.
Funeral flowers have various significant meanings at funerals and are used to express your emotions or send personal messages. Traditionally, Lilies and Gerbera’s represent innocence and purity, whilst Carnations represent remembrance and devotion. Every flower has an underlining meaning and can be further complimented with a heartfelt message of condolence.
Do you wish for a specific type of flower or flower arrangement to be considered at your funeral? If so, please let us know so we can ensure this is stipulated in your funeral plan wishes.
Choosing meaningful readings to be read at the service
Sometimes choosing your favourite song can be an easy choice but with your funeral, you can be pondering for hours. We recommend choosing a song or poem that symbolises you or a type of music that has some personal meaning. You could listen to the lyrics to find relevance or to determine the type of tone you want to set.
Poetry, literature, music and readings can deliver an even higher meaning to a ceremony. They add a personal and delicate touch to a way of honouring the person who has passed away.
If you’re stuck for ideas you can always ask family, friends, a religious leader or the person leading the funeral. Many personal items can also help guide you to deciding the perfect song or reading to suit your funeral. These can range from your music library, your book collection, your favourite films and childhood memories.
Deciding what type of transport you wish to have for your funeral service
In the UK, it is tradition for funeral service transport to be a black hearse or a horse drawn carriage. Here at Quote Me Less, we understand that everyone likes to express their individuality in different ways. That’s why we ensure we have the availability to accommodate alternative funeral transport. We offer a wide range of wonderful hearses from motorcycles, double-decker buses, hot rods and VW Camper vans.
Whilst traditional transport is usually included in funeral plans, we offer unbeatable prices to help find you your perfect send-off.
Deciding whether you wish to have a cremation or burial
Deciding whether to be buried or cremated is a huge decision. The main differences between a burial and cremation are whether you wish to have your remains returned to your family. Your decision can also be dependant on your beliefs or your religion. Whether you want a cost-effective funeral or you wish to follow your family traditions, the choice is ultimately personal preference.
Burials are a ceremonial way in which the deceased’s body is buried under ground. It allows loved ones to have access to your grave at any time and as often as they like. They can pay their respects on birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and other memorable occasions.
You can also choose a memorial/ gravestone so others can remember your life for generations to come. There are other burial options to consider; such as a type of cemetery plot you wish to have. These typically come in single, double-depth or companion plots. The choice solely depends on whether you wish to be buried alone, on top or next to your loved one.
Cremation is known for being an ancient tradition by which the body is reduced to cremated remains or ashes. They are usually more cost-effective than burials as the body will not require embalming. The coffin, clothes and jewellery will be cremated and only metal bones or parts will not melt during the process.
You are able to choose your urn for your ashes and this range from plastic, wooden urns. If you are having a cremation burial, you may wish to choose an eco-friendly, biodegradable urn. Your family will always be notified as soon as your ashes become available for collection.
Do you wish to have your ashes scattered somewhere specific? If so, please let us know so we can add this into your funeral wishes.
How to decide which casket or coffin you will need
Choosing which casket or coffin would be best for you would depend on a number of factors. Firstly you will need to ensure it can accommodate your weight and height. Secondly, you will need to asses what the cost is and the materials used. The style of the coffin or casket will also depend on your personality and your personal preference.
In the UK coffins prices range from £650 up to £1,300. This largely depends on the type of material used to make the coffin. You can have a coffin made out of anything from wool, cardboard, oak, pine to wicker, bamboo, MDF or sea grass.
When choosing your coffin you may need to consider your options for the type of service you’re going to have. For example, if you are going to be cremated, there will be certain guidelines you have to follow. If you want an eco-friendly funeral, you will need to ensure your coffin is biodegradable and contains no toxic chemicals. Usually your funeral director can assist you with a range of coffins suitable for your specific requirements.
Choosing transport for your family members to travel to and from the service
Most funeral plans include at least one black limousine to transport family to and from the funeral service. If you have a big family or lots of close friends you may also want to consider adding additional transport. Usually a funeral car can carry between 7-9 passengers and a stretch limousine can seat 20 passengers. If you require more transport than your plan provides, let us know so we can gather further quotes for you.
Choosing your clothing to be cremated or buried with
When planning a funeral, choosing your clothes for cremation you will need to ensure it meets requirements set out by the funeral directors. These rules are put in place to ensure you are cremated correctly. You will be required to choose clothing, which is not consisting of treated leather, including shoes, boots and biker jackets. Rubber soled shoes or spectacles can also not be worn. Jewellery and soft metals including wedding rings can be worn but will not be able to be recovered after cremation.
If you are having a traditional burial you can choose to dress however you wish. You are able to wear all types of shoes, fabrics, jewellery and even glasses. Family members prefer dressing their loved one in a favourite piece of clothing such as a football shirt or pyjamas.
For a natural burial you will need to ensure all clothing is biodegradable. They will need to be made from untreated, natural fibres such as wool, hemp, bamboo fibre, cotton or linen. They cannot include artificial materials such as synthetic linings, elastic, nylon, buttons, plastic or metal.
Deciding who will read/ perform your eulogy
A Eulogy is a speech that reflects on your life and is usually read out at funeral service or memorial. It is a deeply emotional experience that for many people can be difficult to write and also perform. You can have multiple people read out passages of your eulogy, from friends and family, to funeral conductors and clergy’s. In some religions it is traditional practice for the clergy to deliver eulogies.
Today, many families prefer to read their own memorial and praising speeches as it makes it a more intimate ceremony. Some people may find this distressing; you will need to ensure your speakers are comfortable with carry out the task. Your eulogy can contain readings from your religion, professional life or personal life, memories or stories that illustrate your character.
If you require a certain type of reading or something specific mentioned in your eulogy, ensure you tell your family. They will be able to incorporate the topic into your reading with the chance to discuss it ahead of time.
Choosing which photos, videos, memorabilia or displays you wish to have at the service
Deciding what photos to have at your funeral can be a tricky decision. They can be used for your order of service, to accompany your coffin or displayed at your memorial service. You will need to think of the quantity, the size and what memory or story they tell. We recommend these displays show the impact of your life on loved ones, your accomplishments and milestones.
Displaying certain stages in your life, at different ages will further add significance to the photos or videos. This could be your birthday, wedding, in uniform, enjoying a hobby or a holiday or different aspects of your personality. Ensure you spend some time deciding and follow your instincts and heart when choosing what will represent you best.
Choosing whether donations received go to a specific charitable organisation
You may already have a favourite charity close to your heart or you may be unsure who to donate to. Leaving a donation instead of flowers or gifts is becoming increasingly popular at funerals. It is a heart-warming way to pay tribe to your loved one and raise money for a worthy cause.
We recommend choosing something you are passionate about, perhaps a medical, health or research charity. It is always worth thinking about things you care about, perhaps a certain animal, hospital, hospice or climate change.
Cancer research UK are a popular charity to make a donation to, especially when 1 in 2 people are now diagnosed with cancer.
Making your funeral wishes known
Speaking to your beloved friends and family about your death can be hard. Starting a simple conversation about your funeral wishes will make a considerable difference for when the time comes. None of us like to think about what will happen when we pass away or what our funeral wishes are. Quote Me Less have spoken to many families about funeral wishes and we can help make these decisions easier.
Our team has intensively researched the most common and frequently asked questions to do with taking out a funeral plan. We then incorporated these into our application forms to help guide you when choosing a suitable funeral plan. Writing down your wishes in advance can help take away the added stress and worry when taking out funeral cover.
When planning a funeral service, we ensure every detail is covered. We continuously work closely with the UK’s leading funeral plan providers. This ensures we bring you unbeatable prepaid funeral plans at extraordinary prices.