Arranging a Funeral: Your Options

We understand that the task of arranging a funeral can be a difficult and highly emotional time. We’re here to make it as easy as possible, with our highly experienced and knowledgeable teams, clear information and support whenever you need it.

Heart of England Co-op Funerals has been providing clients and their loved ones with the highest levels of personal service, respect, and dignity since 1832.

If someone has recently died and you haven’t already arranged for them to be taken into our care or registered their death, you’ll need to do so. You can find out the steps you need to take before a funeral can take place in our simple step-by-step guide.

What To Do When Someone Dies

Types of Funeral

A funeral is a way to celebrate and honour the life of a loved one, it allows family and friends to say a final goodbye. The types of funerals and the common rituals that take place, can differ greatly depending on the specific wishes of the person who has died, their culture and religion. 

The two most common types of funerals are burial and cremation. It can often be a personal preference or a religious requirement on which type is chosen. This is something that can usually be decided by the deceased before they pass or it may be chosen by a loved one.

Burial and cremation services usually follow immediately after the commemorative funeral service.

What is a burial?

Burials take place after the main funeral service when the casket is lowered into the grave. This part of the ceremony is often short and is attended by any mourners who wish to pay their respects, although some choose to have this part of the service limited to immediate family. The burial service may include readings, prayers and songs dependent upon the religious beliefs of the deceased.

Burials are a common choice when it comes to a loved one’s funeral, as this provides a graveside for visitors to pay their respects and honour the memory of the deceased. What happens at a burial can vary depending on the wishes of the deceased and the deceased’s family, but often some words are shared and there is an opportunity for attendees to scatter dirt onto the coffin, a common religious practice.

Cremation

Cremation is a popular choice for a funeral arrangement. A cremation takes place along with a memorial service for people to attend to pay their respects. 

Cremation has become increasingly popular as it is not only more affordable, but also allows loved ones to keep the ashes in an urn at home so that they are still with the family. Some may choose to scatter the ashes in a meaningful place or perhaps create them into something special such as a piece of jewellery that can be worn. There are a number of remarkable things you can do with the ashes of a loved one to celebrate and treasure their memory.

We are always on hand to offer guidance on the many ways we can make the funeral unique to the person that has died. Our expert advice and guidance will help you to make the choices that are right for you.

Attended or unattended?

Typically there are two types of funeral, attended and unattended. More often than not, attended funerals are the common choice, however in certain circumstances some funerals may not be attended by any guests.

An unattended funeral may be carried out at the wishes of the deceased or of the deceased’s loved ones or next of kin.  No matter the reasoning, we have outlined below what an unattended funeral entails, if this is something you wish to choose.

What is an attended funeral?

An attended funeral is the most common choice of funeral service, and whether you choose burial or cremation, the attended funeral will often proceed in similar ways. Each funeral is different, there is no set way in which they should be planned or carried out, it is all down to the individual preferences of the deceased and their loved ones. A funeral will typically take place within one to two weeks after the person has passed, however timing can vary depending on individual circumstances. A meeting with a funeral director will take place in which you can discuss the availability of family, friends and elements of service needed for the funeral.

On the day of the funeral, once the funeral directors have carefully placed your loved one in the hearse, they will drive to the chosen crematorium or church, followed by a procession of cars with the funeral attendees. Not all attendees are required to follow the procession, some may choose to arrive at the funeral before the procession to await their arrival. 

The funeral begins with a ceremony in which those who have attended can pay respects to the deceased. Depending upon personal beliefs the ceremony may include songs, prayers and readings from attendees. The burial or cremation then takes place, often followed by a wake at a separate venue in which mourners gather together to celebrate the life of the deceased. 

The cost of an attended funeral all depends on which funeral director you choose and which services you require, as well as the additional costs of any doctor’s fees, cremation or burial fees, flowers and cars. Attended funerals typically cost more than an unattended funeral, if you feel like the funeral may be costing more than you had originally budgeted for, talk to your funeral director. Arrangements can be made to help you make changes to the funeral to keep the costs down.

Unattended

The unattended funeral service is not a traditional style funeral, it’s a direct disposition and as such there is no ceremonial service and no mourners can attend.

We will bring the deceased into our care from the local place of death (within a 20 mile radius). If this is outside of normal office hours then there will be an additional charge of £225. Once in our care we will carry out the preparation of the deceased, excluding the embalming and viewing in our chapel of rest, and then provide a simple coffin.

The unattended funeral will be arranged to take place at a local cemetery or crematorium of our choosing, at a day and time that is most convenient for us, within 14 days of completion of all the necessary paperwork. On the day of the funeral we will transport the deceased directly to the place of committal by hearse with a funeral director and a full complement of staff. 

Where requested, cremated remains will be available for collection from the funeral home within 21 days of the service taking place. The unattended cremation includes all third party fees such as doctor’s fees and crematorium fees, there is no reduction if the coroner is involved. 

For the unattended burial the relevant cemetery fees are in addition to the price quoted below.

Burial (funeral directors charges only) £850

Cremation (including cremation fees) £1,564

We require full payment within five days of the funeral being arranged. The funeral will not take place until the full amount is paid.

Although this option represents a reduced level of service from our more traditional service offering, it is important to note that we treat every deceased and their family with the same level of professionalism, dignity and care.

Caskets & Coffins

Choosing a coffin is one of the most important aspects of arranging a funeral. Our extensive range is inclusive of traditional, environmentally sustainable and picture coffins.

We endeavour to reflect the individual’s life so if there is a specific design of coffin or casket you would like, please ask one of our colleagues for help and guidance.

Download our Full Brochure (PDF)

Floral Tributes

Expressing your feelings at such a sensitive and emotional time can often be difficult. For centuries, people have used flowers to express their sympathy and thoughts.

Our range of tributes includes a wide selection of bouquets, wreaths and sprays through to coffin displays and specialist designs.

We are able to provide any type of tribute you may like and if you prefer, you can choose alternative colours and flowers to the arrangements shown in the brochure.

A floral tribute is very much a personal choice. Our colleagues are available to help you with your decision.

Download our Full Brochure (PDF)

Vehicles

We offer a range of vehicle options from the traditional hearse to the more unique forms of transport.

In today’s funeral processions we have also organised tractors, fire engines, lorries, milk floats, motorbikes – and even pink Cadillacs. These options all reflect a wish to celebrate the person’s life.

Download our Full Brochure (PDF)

Funeral Stationery & Keepsakes

An Order of Service booklet can help the funeral service run smoothly and provides a special keepsake for family and friends to remember the deceased.

Our Order of Service booklets can be sent to those unable to attend the funeral, allowing the opportunity to say a private goodbye.

We can assist you with creating a personal Order of Service, which can include anything you like such as hymns, photographs, readings or personal memories of your loved one. We will be happy to discuss the options with you.

Our Stationery Range (PDF)

Music and Eulogies

Often the music chosen by the family – or specified by the person to be played at their funeral – is light- hearted, often even humorous.

For example, people are increasingly choosing songs the family associate with the person, music which reflects the person’s hobbies or even live music.

For those wanting personalised music, it is important that music choices be shared with the person leading the funeral beforehand to avoid disappointment. We recommend that three pieces are played – one at the beginning, one at the end of the service, and one to be listened to during the service, as a time for reflection.

Although many churches and crematoria allow contemporary music, in some instances they may not permit CDs to be played, insisting on organ music. Our caring staff will be able to provide advice and guidance about this.

“He was a wonderful man. He was funny and dear and supportive and hilarious, and he was one of my heroes.”

Liza Minelli on Dudley Moore

Writing and giving a eulogy is a way of saying farewell to someone who has died that, in a sense, brings the person to life in the minds of the audience

For some people, the opportunity to speak during the funeral service about the person they knew is a welcome one – but many of us still do not realise this is possible and believe that eulogies are just for the famous.

There is no right or wrong way to write a eulogy: each is as unique as the person giving it and the person it describes.

Here are some prompts to help you get started:

  • Who am I speaking to?
  • How would the person like to be remembered?
  • What made them special? Favourite pastimes and interests, likes and dislikes?
  • When were they happiest?
  • Who was really close to them?
  • What did I really like about them? What did other people really like about them?
  • What are the highlights of their life story?
  • If I could say only three things about them, what would they be?
  • Who can help me check my facts?
  • Do I want someone else to give the eulogy on my behalf on the day?
  • Is anyone else planning to speak about the person at the funeral? Do we need to avoid saying the same thing twice?

Finishing Touches

Doves

There is no easy way to say goodbye to
a loved one, and sometimes words just aren’t enough, but some comfort can be found in the symbolic gesture of releasing the departed’s spirit on the wings of a white dove, and watching it fly away, free, at peace, and carrying all the love of family and friends.

From £150

Piper

What better final tribute could there be to your loved one than to have a funeral lament played by a leading bagpiper. The haunting and poignant sounds of the bagpipes will accompany those who have reached their journeys end.

From £150

“Each funeral should be like that individual, unique in both concept and creation, from the traditional to the contemporary, or indeed a unique blend of both.”

Fireworks

Our aim is to match the farewell event and fireworks display as closely as possible to the deceased’s personality and wishes. There are various approaches around which a larger event can be developed.

We can show you ideas on how an
event might be tailored to suit individual requirements. For example, displays can be synchronised to favourite music pieces and/or supported by additional features, perhaps a Champagne toast.

POA

Catering

We can provide an extensive choice of catering facilities, ranging from a large hotel to local function rooms. Alternatively, we can provide an outside caterer for a reception in your own home.

Please ask a colleague for details regarding your requirements.

Costs & Finance

At the time of the funeral

There are lots of choices to take into consideration and many personal decisions to be made regarding funeral finances. Our standardised price list and funeral cost calculator will aid you in making the right decisions for you and your family.

Our Price Lists

Pre-Paid Funeral Plans

A pre-paid funeral plan will offer a helping hand during a difficult time. Having a plan in place for when the time comes will make planning the funeral easier for you and your loved ones.

Pre-Paid Funeral Plans