Online Guided Process

'Planning a Funeral'

Whether you are planning your Funeral for the future or arranging a Funeral because of the loss of a loved one there are things that you may need to think about and consider.

None of us like to think about our own funeral. But the truth is, planning ahead can really ease the burden on your loved ones at a difficult time.

Following our 12 step guide couldn’t be easier to ensure that you follow the right stages and ensure you have thought about everything.

Step 1: Start planning
Look for Funeral instructions

When you’re planning a funeral the route differs slightly if you are planning yours for the future or a recent lost loved one.  The process is basically the same.  The first thing to consider is:

Are there funeral instructions in the will?

Sometimes people leave instructions in their will or in a funeral plan, or they might have talked it through with someone close.

Speak to family members and close friends about planning the funeral. While some people might not be able to help, others may want to be involved in the details of the funeral.

Whether you delegate different tasks to people, or just ask for their opinion on something, having this support can make things less overwhelming.

Step 2: Budget
Funeral Costs

The average UK Funeral cost in 2021 was £4,056

When planning for a Funeral there maybe many things that you might want to consider or include.  At the very least a Funeral should include the following:

Funeral Director’s fees (if appointed)

Doctor’s fees

Clergy or Officiate Fees

The Coffin

Crematorium or Burial fees

You may want to consider optional extras, like:

A Memorial



Or other additional items


You can consider a Funeral Director, consider a pre-paid plan or DIY it.

Step 3: Who pays for the Funeral?

If the person who has died has taken out a funeral plan or funeral cover, the funeral might be paid for by their policy.

They might also have had a life insurance policy in place which could help towards funeral costs.

Or they might’ve held some money in the bank to cover it. If so, the executor of the estate will take care of paying the funeral bill.

A relative or friend may pay for the funeral. If this happens, the friend or relative might be able to get the costs for the funeral back from the estate.

If you are pre-planning your Funeral there are Pre-paid options available you may wish to consider.

Pre-paid Funeral Plans

Step 4: Choosing a Funeral Director

When organising a funeral, most people decide to leave the arrangements to a Funeral Director.

They can take care of the deceased, the funeral proceedings and may organise any further gatherings. Additionally, they can give you general guidance and support.

If your loved one had a funeral plan, funeral cover, or a will, they may have already chosen a funeral director.

If not, ask around for recommendations or check the Local Business directory on this site.

You don’t have to use a Funeral Director to plan all of the funeral, but an important responsibility of theirs is to ensure that the person who has died is taken into their care and is treated with respect and dignity.

It can sometimes be more cost effective to arrange certain aspects yourself but at such a hard time, a Funeral Director could be good to lean on.

Step 5: Choose a Burial or Cremation

The most common types of funeral are burials, cremations and direct cremations.  Prices can vary greatly between different options. A burial is generally the most expensive send-off, and direct cremation is usually the most affordable.

Your loved one may have asked for a specific type of service in a funeral plan or will. But if you can’t afford it, don’t worry – choose one that suits your budget instead.

Step 6: Choosing a Coffin

There are lots of different types of coffins to choose from. It can help to look at what’s available online before you make a decision.

To make sure you get the right sized coffin, you’ll need to know the deceased’s height and weight.
If you have a funeral director, they can show you their range of coffins. However, you don’t have to buy the coffin through them. You can get one online or from an independent company.

Step 7: The Funeral Service (1)

Before you plan the funeral service, check if your loved one had any wishes. They may have left instructions in their will or a funeral plan.  For example, did they want people to dress in colourful clothes, or did they ask for certain songs to be played?  Don’t rush and if possible get family and friends to help.

Choose the type of funeral service

There are many types of funeral services to choose from. From a traditional church ceremony or cremation, to woodland celebrations and sea burials, there’s something for everyone. Alternative funerals are also becoming popular in the UK.  If planning for a loved one, they may have asked for a specific service. If not, you can choose whichever you feel is most appropriate.

  • Religious funeral
  • Cremation
  • Green and woodland funerals
  • Humanist and civic funerals
  • Burial at sea
  • & other new modern alternatives

The type of funeral service will probably determine what mourners need to wear. For example, it’s common for people to wear brighter colours at more modern funerals.

Step 7: The Funeral Service (1)

There are many different aspects that you can change within the service in order to make it more personal:

  • Choose the music to go out to
  • Write a personal eulogy
  • Funeral flowers and arrangements
  • Poems for the funeral
  • You can also choose to have a funeral without a service, such as a direct cremation.
  • Check out our Resources, Articles & Directory for other ideas

A direct cremation is often cited as a no-fuss farewell. It is a cremation in its quickest and simplest form, with no funeral service.

Most funeral services are held in chapels, places of worship, homes or local venues like village halls.

Wherever the funeral is held, the service will usually be led by a Minister, Funeral Director, a relative or a friend.

They can help you decide when to have the service, depending on the venue’s availability.

Step 8: Funeral Transport

When organising a traditional funeral, the coffin is often taken to the service in a hearse. It’s then followed by friends and family in limousines. If you have a funeral director, they can help you arrange this.

However, you don’t have to book a hearse and limousines just because it’s traditional.

Lots of people are choosing more personal funeral transport – like tractors, fire engines and milk floats!

Or you can opt for something a bit less extravagant for funeral transport. Asking everyone to make their own way to the service can help cut back on costs.

Step 9: Order of Service

There are lots of online templates to help make an order of service or you can find a company to create for you.

On the front cover – include a photo, their full name, date of birth, date of death, and a quote or message.

Inside – outline the funeral service so people know what to expect. List the speakers and include any songs, hymns, readings, poems and prayers that are in the service.

Final page – include another photo, list charities that were close to the deceased’s heart, say thank you to people who came to the funeral, and give warm regards to those who couldn’t make it. It’s also a chance to thank whoever provided the funeral services.

Finish with details of the burial and/or wake, so that people know where to go next.

It’s nice to include personal touches throughout the order of service, too, like family photos and quotes.

Step 10: Flowers and/or Donations

Flowers for the funeral service can be a lovely tribute to your loved one.

Their friends and family might also want to send flowers to pay their respects.

However, you can ask people to donate to charity instead of giving flowers. This is quite a common choice when the deceased had a cause that meant a lot to them.

Need to choose a charity? Visit our Charities listings

Step 11: Funeral Music and/or Readings

Funeral music and readings are a chance to make the service more personal.

If your loved one was religious, why not choose their favourite hymns and bible passages?

Or if they loved rock or pop music, you can go for something a bit less traditional.

You can hire singers or bands to play at a Funeral or a Wake as a tribute too.

Step 12: The Wake

You can have the wake in all kinds of venues. Some people host it in their own home, some in a village hall, pub, social club or hotel.

Catering is often included in the venue hire. If it’s not, you can hire professional caterers or make the food yourselves, depending on your budget.

Once you have the venue booked, let people know when and where the wake is. You can choose to make it a private party, or leave it open to anyone who’d like to come.

FD Memorial & Funeral pages

How to cut funeral costs and getting financial help

  • Choose a direct cremation. This could save you thousands of pounds
  • Pick a cheaper coffin. Cardboard coffins start from around £150 and are better for the environment.
  • Don’t hire limousines. Ask people to make their own way to the funeral, if they can
  • Have the wake at home. This means you can avoid expensive venue hire.
  • Make the food yourself. Getting family and friends to make food for the wake saves the cost of hiring a caterer.
  • Skip embalming. It may be traditional, but there’s no need to get the body embalmed if you need to save money.
  • Don’t splurge on flowers. Flowers are nice but not necessary. Lots of people ask for a donation to charity instead.
  • Get friends and relatives to carry the coffin. This means you won’t have to pay for pallbearers.

There are a few ways you can get help with funeral costs.  Ask your funeral director for advice. See if they have any options or accept any benefits that could help you.

There are also charities that may be able to help, like The Bereavement Trust. And it’s worth checking if you’re eligible for government funeral support. In rare circumstances, your local council may also be able to help with a Public Health Funeral.

Useful Contacts & Considerations

  • Bereavement Register and Deceased Preference Service to remove the deceased’s name from mailing lists and databases
  • Clubs, trade unions, associations with seasonal membership for cancellation and refunds
  • Church/regular place of worship
  • Social groups to which the deceased belonged
  • Dentist
  • Creditors – anyone to whom the deceased owed money
  • Debtors – anyone who owed the deceased money

Register with the Bereavement Register