How to choose a coffin

Coffins have had a place in funerals for thousands of years and still play an important part in most funeral services. But there are two schools of thought when it comes to how to choose a coffin.

One says that the coffin will be properly visible at the front of the congregation for less than an hour and will then be cremated or buried. With this in mind, it seems reasonable to keep costs as low as possible. The alternative view is that the coffin is the centre of the funeral service, present from funeral home to hearse, and highly visible for the duration of the service in the church or crematorium.

Whichever view you take – that the coffin is a practical necessity or will be an abiding image of your loved one’s final send off - there are a huge range of options available,

The cost of a coffin

The cost of the coffin can be one of the most expensive items in any funeral budget, but prices vary enormously, from £100 to £10,000, depending on to style and material of the coffin chosen. And, unless clear provision has been made, one of the key factors in choosing a coffin will be cost so it is important to keep your budget in mind.

The difference in cost of coffins depends primarily on the materials used in the construction. With Golden Charter funeral plans, the price of the coffin is included in the plan, ranging from a basic coffin with the Value plan at £2,895 to a superior coffin with the Premier plan at £4,099.

Your funeral director will have information available to help you decide which coffin suits your needs best, from familiar wooden builds to more recent cardboard constructions, each with their own benefits.

  • Wooden coffins are the most traditional option, with prices varying depending on the type of wood used, carving required, the metal used for handles and fittings and the quality of the lining.
  • Less expensive than solid wood coffins, chipboard or veneer coffins are often made to resemble traditional designs, using similar metal or metal effect fittings.
  • Metal coffins are one of the most expensive options. Although many coffins are suitable for both burial and cremation, metal coffins made from stainless steel, bronze or copper, are used exclusively in burials and made to last.
  • At the other end of the scale, cardboard coffins are increasingly popular where cost and environmental concerns are important as they are relatively inexpensive and biodegradable.

Other environmentally friendly options include coffins made from sustainable materials like wicker, banana leaf, seagrass, bamboo or even wool. But even standard wooden coffins are available with FSC certification that shows they are made from wood sourced from forests managed to the highest standards.

The personal touch

As with any element of a funeral service, the coffin can be personalised to reflect the preferences of the deceased. Cardboard coffins can be printed to carry designs from flags to flowers to photographs, representing the life and loves of your loved one. Wooden coffins can also be wrapped in decorative ‘foils’ that can also be printed with custom designs personal to the deceased.

A cardboard coffin could even be decorated by family members, giving them the opportunity to leave a personal message or picture.

When it comes to choosing a coffin, whether you are planning your own funeral or organising the funeral of a loved one, it is possible to choose a coffin that will genuinely reflect the final wishes of the deceased. And while cost will be a key factor, the range of coffins available means that it will be possible to consider the wishes of the deceased – from eco-friendly materials to custom colours and designs.

Golden Charter has one of the largest network of independent funeral directors in the UK. Many are long-standing, family-run businesses and all provide a compassionate and professional service. Find out more about how you can plan for your funeral with one of the funeral directors in our network. Request a free, no obligation information pack below or call 0800 111 4514.