It's your funeral...

As we move on in our life, one of the biggest worries we face is that our family are looked after into the future. Our funeral is inevitably one of the things that will need to be dealt with after we’ve gone, and it is becoming increasingly common to plan for our funerals in advance.

Planning your own funeral can help save your family from unplanned expense as well as giving grieving family members the peace of mind that your funeral plan is in place and they have one less thing to worry about in a very upsetting period.

Picking the right funeral director is important; your funeral director will take care of the organisation and administration that goes on behind the scenes at your funeral. Knowing that they are reliable and compassionate can help provide huge relief for both you and your family. Arguably, putting a trusted, independent funeral director in place is the most important step in your funeral planning.

With your funeral director decided, you can consider what kind of funeral you want. Think about whether you would like your final send-off to be a traditional religious service in a church or other place of worship. Or would you prefer a more modern approach with the service becoming a celebration of life. The choice you make is completely down to your personal preference and is often determined by your religious and personal beliefs.

With a style of funeral decided, you can begin to plan individual elements of the funeral.

In deciding how your remains will get to the funeral, the hearse is by far the most common and frequently used option. However, not everyone makes their final journey in a standard black funeral car – there are a number of very interesting alternative funeral vehicles out there. Classic car fanatics may choose a renovated classic car whilst some people will choose more unusual transportation options, from tanks to milk floats.

Just like picking out your perfect funeral car, picking the right music is another important part of planning your own funeral in advance. Many funerals will contain a mixture of older and modern music, with hymns and classical pieces commonly found alongside classic rock anthems, famous jazz songs or even more recent pop music. Many people have discussed their funeral music choices with family before they pass and this can be comfort to loved ones, knowing you have what you wanted on the day.

Your funeral flowers are another choice that you may need to make. Not everybody will want flowers at their funeral but if you do, take some time to think which flowers you would like. Some florists will provide predetermined packages but you may also choose particular flowers that you like or that hold personal or sentimental value for you.

Picking a venue will often come hand-in-hand with deciding on a theme. If you are planning on a more traditional service, you may want the funeral to be held in a church or crematorium but these are not the only options. Other places of worship are available for funerals and some are even held away from the place of cremation or burial.

The celebrant is the person who will ‘host’ your funeral service. Whilst most funerals will be held by a religious official, anyone can act as the celebrant for your funeral. If you are religious and a regular attendee of a church or other place of worship, you may already know the clergy member best suited for your funeral. However, it is also worth discussing it with family and friends, as well as your funeral director, to decide how to best make arrangements for the future.

Readings are another personal element of planning your funeral that you may or may not decide upon yourself. In a lot of cases, it is the loved ones and family members of the deceased that will pick what they wish to read at a funeral. You may decide to follow this approach and perhaps leave a few recommendations or suggestions. However, you might have a firm idea in mind of a particular extract, poem or reading that you wish to be read.

Finally, the wake is arguably one of the most important parts of planning your funeral ahead of time. Have a think about a particular pub or restaurant that you love.  Or look for more exotic options to make sure that no one ever forgets your funeral.

Although your family and funeral director will need to handle your funeral arrangements when the time finally comes, thinking about your funeral arrangements in advance will help ensure you get the send-off you want.

Golden Charter has one of the largest network of independent funeral directors in the UK that can advise on how to plan for your funeral. 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.