Funerals can vary greatly in cost and ceremony. While some may be more elaborate with no expense spared, others will prefer a more simple or modest funeral 💷. Here we look at how to arrange a simple funeral and some of the steps you need to take.
Deciding on a funeral director
Even if you wanted a simple funeral, it often makes sense to use a funeral director. There is no legal requirement to use one, however, due to their expertise, using one can save you a lot of hassle, time and effort at a difficult time.
Perhaps the biggest convenience that they offer is the care and transportation of the body. This can be a logistical and emotional challenge. A funeral director may use a private ambulance and a hearse to transport the body.
There are plenty of other aspects to organise too such as liaising with the burial/cremation site, completing the appropriate paperwork and purchasing a coffin.
If you don’t want to use a funeral director then it might be helpful to get as much help from friends and family as you can. This can be emotionally challenging as everything has to be done so quickly after someone has passed away.
Firstly, you need to think about where the body will be kept. In warm conditions, it will decompose quickly which is why the majority of bodies are taken to a refrigerated funeral home. You can either use an air conditioning unit at home or arrange with a mortuary directly to look after the body.
One problem with organising your own funeral is that certain places will only deal with a funeral director. You may find that some coffin suppliers or crematoriums, for example, can be obstructive as they are not used to dealing with the family of the deceased directly.
Whether you are using a crematorium or burial plot, there are certificates and forms that you’ll need to complete before you can do so. You’ll need a cremation/burial certificate and also an application form. If you’re opting for a burial, you may also need to hire a gravedigger. If that got you thinking, there is plenty more where that came from.
When preparing for a funeral, some things are essential while others can be seen as extras. Here is what you will need to take care of.
Burial/cremation site – As mentioned, you want to secure this as soon as possible and complete all the required paperwork. There are crematoriums that offer unattended funerals and woodland burials that don't need a coffin or headstone.
Coffin/shroud – You need to be able to carry the body but you don’t always need a coffin. For a woodland burial, for example, many people will use a shroud (burial cloth).
Caring for the body – You can keep the body at home as long as the funeral will come quickly enough and you have facilities to keep the body cold.
Transportation – A hearse is traditional but this can also be done with a van or estate car. You'll also need dedicated pallbearers to carry the coffin to the cremation/burial site.
Even if you’re looking for a simple funeral, there are some extras that you may need or want to organize.
Flowers – You can cut costs by arranging flowers yourself or keep it simple with a favourite flower of the deceased.
Embalming – If there is going to be significant time until the funeral, the body may need to be embalmed. There are other specific considerations that may need to be taken into account.
Memorial service – There are usually speakers at a funeral such as a vicar or a celebrant. You may wish to pay for this service or organise it with friends and family yourself.
Catering – If there is a wake after the funeral, you may want to cater for any guests. This can easily be organised without using a catering company.
Funeral costs can be a huge burden for a family after a loved one passes away. If you decide to arrange a funeral yourself, then these costs are going to be considerably reduced. Even simple funerals take a lot of organisation and a funeral director will charge for their time.
If you don’t want the hassle of organising a funeral then you can still use a funeral director and have a simple funeral. They will have a range of basic options and you won’t have to pay for any extras if you don’t want to.
Funerals are very personal and there is so much you can do if you aren’t looking to spend a lot of money, or if you are looking to keep things simple. Personal touches such as poems, songs, flowers etc. can mean more to loved ones than even the most expensive coffin for example. Whether you prefer to have someone do more organising or you enjoy that yourself, it is a very personal decision. If you don’t have a will that tells your family what your wishes are, don’t delay! Get a will today! 💛