Non-religious or humanist funerals are a great choice for families who don’t follow a specific faith or religion, meaning there are less traditions or ceremonies to adhere to. However, the freedom means families can have many more choices to make. Here’s how to find which ones are right for you.
The essential roles in funeral planning
Planning a non-religious funeral can feel like starting from a blank canvas given there aren’t many customs to stick to. But to see the service run smoothly, some conventions shouldn’t be ignored.
A funeral director ensures the funeral’s practicalities run correctly, most importantly the care, transportation and send-off of loved ones. This is especially important given the law requires the deceased to be properly laid to rest, be it by burial, cremation or other means.
We are highly trained and experienced in this area and we’d advise you to discuss your requirements with us, no matter what kind of funeral is being held. Co-operative Funeral Services funeral directors have experience with a variety of services.
Non-religious funeral ceremonies are usually coordinated by a figure known as the celebrant. The role of celebrant can fall to anyone of the family’s choosing. This includes relatives, friends or professionals called civil celebrants, and should be someone who can remain calm and assured to guide the ceremony from beginning to end. We can recommend a civil celebrant if one is required.
Read more about celebrants in our blog Who can conduct a funeral service for you?
Make the most of the time
A common misconception is funerals might feel empty without religious rituals or themes to include, but this doesn’t have to be the case.
Non-religious services don’t need to dedicate time to customs such as prayer or hymns, creating space for memories of the loved one’s life to fill eulogies and tributes in a variety of creative ways. These include poems, songs, stories, videos and photographs.
For technically complex tributes such as videos and presentations, check your chosen venue offers the right facilities, including screens, plug sockets and computers if necessary.
You can find out more on how to pick the right funeral venue by reading our Choosing a funeral venue blog.
Many things can be customised at a non-religious funeral, however not all guests will be aware and may prepare differently.
It’s a good idea to inform friends and family ahead of time where the service departs from tradition so they can act and dress appropriately. This is especially true if their participation is required, such as through readings, music or tributes.
A good way to update guests about changes to the funeral service is through their invitation, while subtle changes can be highlighted in the order of service.
Planning a non-religious funeral can feel daunting but with the essentials covered, there is room to be creative, highlighting the personality of the deceased and celebrating the way their life touched others. Contact us to get started.