Personalising your own funeral
There are lots of initiatives around to help people start talking about death, and part of that conversation is funerals. Most people know whether they want to be buried or cremated, but some have whole sections of their funeral planned out; from the music they want played to what they want people to wear.
Who remembers the scene from Love Actually where Liam Neeson’s character is talking about his late wife’s funeral requests, one of which was he should take Claudia Schiffer as his date?! She also chose photos of herself to be shown on screen while ‘Bye bye baby’ by the Bay City Rollers played out as her coffin left the church.
We fully support people wanting to have a say in their own funeral. It’s a way to let your loved ones know how you want to be remembered on the day; perhaps by planning things they wouldn’t think to do in their time of grief.
Personalising a funeral doesn’t have to cost the earth – there are lots of little things you can do, even just having your photo displayed on top of the coffin.
Just remember, while a bit of pre-planning can take a lot of pressure off your loved ones when the time comes, it’s nice for them to be able to add their own touches to express how much you meant to them, so perhaps don’t try and plan every last detail.
Our Little Green Book could be a good starting point for you to think about the various decisions that need to be made. You can find it at: https://www.austins.co.uk/austins-funeral-guide.html
First things first
Typically you would put big decisions about your death in your will. When it comes to your funeral, the most important questions your loved ones should know the answers to are:
- Do you wish to be buried or cremated?
- Do you prefer a specific funeral home?
- Where do you want to be buried or your ashes scattered?
- Do you want a religious ceremony, or one at a crematorium or woodland site etc.?
Flowers or donations: Do you want a particular type of flower, or perhaps a special arrangement for your coffin? If you have been in a trade, you might want an arrangement made out of tools instead. Alternatively, do you have a charity close to your heart that you wish people to donate to rather than bring flowers?
Coffin: There are many different types of coffin from traditional wood to wicker, but it’s not all about the material. Did you see in the news recently that one dedicated primary teacher from Bath had her coffin decorated in her pupils’ drawings?
Transport: While it can sometimes be overlooked, the transport you choose can be hugely symbolic of your life. For instance, the families of bikers often ask for fellow bikers to accompany the coffin in a motorcycle procession. Other symbolic modes of transport include VW campervans, vintage lorries and traditional horse and carriage.
Eulogy: You can write your own eulogy in a traditional style, or perhaps as a poem. You could also select your own readings and even ask someone close to you to read them, if they are comfortable doing so.
Music: For some people, music is a huge influencer in their lives. If you have a special song, or an artist you love, or have come across something that sums up you and your life, then the music you choose can add a very special touch.
Photos: You may want to choose some photos of yourself for the order of service, or to be on display at the church or crematorium. We are the only funeral director in the UK to create unique films and photo slideshows that can be played during a service and kept by friends and family afterwards. https://www.austins.co.uk/austins-tribute-services.html
Of course, we can’t overlook cost. The average funeral costs around £4,000 and there are many funeral plans available to pre pay for your funeral. Our Hertfordshire Funeral Plan is exclusive to us and, unlike many other plans available, customised specifically to your requirements. Find out more at: https://www.austins.co.uk/funeral-plan.html
How to tell your loved ones what you want
If you, or those close to you, don’t feel ready to talk about your wishes, then you can always write everything down in a book and make sure they know where to find it after you pass away.