Choosing a funeral

Planning a funeral

Arranging a funeral is extremely personal and should reflect the wishes of the deceased and their family. There is no right way and we feel that the funeral process can aid the grieving process when done thoughtfully and from the heart. It helps if the deceased has already made a funeral plan but, if not, the following considerations can help to guide you in choosing something that appropriately commemorates and celebrates the life of the deceased.

Cost

Set a budget for the funeral, prioritising what is important to you. Remember that you do not have to have what is considered to be normal and people often end up paying more than they originally intended to or can afford. If the next of kin is unable to afford a funeral and is on certain benefits they can apply to the DWP for a Funeral Payment up to 3 months after the funeral has been held. This will not necessarily cover all the funeral director and disbursement costs and is subject to eligibility checks. For more information visit this link: funeral payments. One of our main aims is to ensure that our costs are affordable and transparent. Visit our cost calculator to choose what services you might like to employ and what you feel that you could do yourself to keep the cost down and/or to feel more personally involved.

Costs to consider include: storage of body, transport of body, coffin, cremation, urn, doctors’ certificates, burial plot, grave-digging, headstone, religious minister or celebrant, music, orders of service, public announcements, refreshments, wake.

Cremation or Burial?

Seagrass-curved-end-coffin-2Whether the deceased has chosen to be cremated or buried, it is important to consider how this can fit in to the overall funeral ceremony and where this is to take place. The three crematoria in Cornwall all provide a ceremony hall / chapel and extra time can be arranged. Some families choose not to attend the funeral and opt for a direct cremation. When being buried, it is worth considering where the burial plot is and where the funeral ceremony / service can take place. The funeral ceremony / service does not have to follow a traditional format and can take place at home, in a garden, wood etc. and be led by a religious minister, an independent celebrant or the family and friends.

Sites & Grounds
Pentiddy Natural Burials www.pentiddynaturalburials.co.uk
Penwith Woodland Burial Place www.woodlandburialplace.co.uk
Atlantic Rest www.atlantic-rest.co.uk
Private land burial www.naturaldeath.org.uk
Churchyard Speak to your chosen church
Council Cemeteries www.cornwall.gov.uk
Penmount Crematorium www.cornwall.gov.uk/penmount
Treswithian Downs Crematorium www.treswithiandownscrem.co.uk
Glynn Valley Crematorium www.dignityfunerals.co.uk

Remember that there are certain regulations regarding the choice of coffin for both cremation and natural burial that might affect your choice. See coffins for more information.

Ceremony

There are different aspects to consider for the ceremony itself – do you want everyone be there with the coffin present or is a more private cremation or burial desired with a memorial ceremony afterwards.

Also consider:

  • Where would you like the ceremony? It is possible to hold a funeral ceremony almost anywhere with the permission of the land owner.
  • Who is to “lead” the ceremony?
  • Who else would like to be involved? Do family and friends want to be involved in decorating or carrying the coffin? Do they want to help with preparing food for the ceremony?
  • Content – is there to be a religious, humanist or more spiritual approach?
  • Choice of music live or recorded?
  • Do you want to have flowers or charitable donations?
  • Is there to be a wake?

Viewing the body of the deceased

Is the body of the deceased to be visited at some stage before the funeral or would you like to return the deceased’s body home to hold a vigil? When somebody dies in hospital it is possible to arrange to visit and spend time with the deceased in a “chapel of rest” during working hours.

Embalming

We do not believe that embalming is necessary unless repatriation is required. In the past there has been the misconception that a body has to be embalmed to be viewed. This is not the case and you should be specifically asked if you would like embalming to occur and not be led to agree to it under the guise of “hygienic treatment”. Embalming is less common now but continues to be what we consider a brutal, unenvironmentally-friendly and usually unnecessary treatment. For more information follow this “More To Death” link, but do be aware that it is upsetting.

Coffins

Willow-curved-end-coffin-2There are now many different and wonderful coffins available and the choice of coffin can beautifully reflect the character of the deceased. It is also possible to make a coffin yourself or as a group or to hold a coffin-painting party. This can form an important part of the grieving process. See coffins for more information.

Remember that whatever type of funeral that you choose will be fine as long as it is true to the character and beliefs of the deceased.

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