What type of funeral ceremony

Decide how much involvement you want to have in the funeral ceremony. Do you want to do the whole thing yourself or do you or a friend or family member want to speak, read a poem or play music? Whatever level of involvement you or others would like to have and whatever funeral ideas you have, it is your choice and you should make this clear to whoever is leading the ceremony.

Religious ceremony

If the person who has died had a particular faith then a religious funeral led by the appropriate minister or priest is likely to be the choice that you will make and your funeral director will be able to arrange this for you or you can search for a suitable minister using links to religious ministers.

A civil funeral

A civil funeral is defined as one where the funeral is driven by the wishes, beliefs and values of the deceased and their family, not by belief or ideology of the person conducting the funeral.

Civil funeral celebrants are fully trained professionals that belong to the Institute of Civil Funerals.  They adhere to a Code of Practice and the Institute monitors the quality of the funerals they conduct. A civil funeral can include religious content or be completely non–religious (secular).

The celebrant will visit you at home to ask you about the person who has died and discuss what you would like in the ceremony.  They will put the ceremony together and write a full and appropriate tribute (eulogy) that tells the story of the life of the person who has died. The content will be checked with you, or someone you ask to check it for you, before the celebrant delivers the funeral ceremony.

You can find a civil funeral celebrant on funeralmap or on the Institute's website www.iocf.org.uk

A humanist ceremony

Humanist officiants belong to the British Humanist Association (BHA)  and offer non-religious funerals. 

The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. They promote humanism, support and represent the non-religious, and promote a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.

Humanists are atheists and agnostics who make sense of the world using reason, experience and shared human values.

You can find a humanist officiant on www.humanism.org.uk

Ceremony led by family and/or friends

You can deliver the funeral ceremony yourself, although many find the whole ceremony quite difficult to do.  Some people find that a good solution is to use the services of a funeral celebrant or officiant to introduce the ceremony, rather as a ‘master of ceremonies’. The main content can then be delivered by family and friends.