When a loved one dies, it’s only natural that you want to give them the best send-off possible – taking into account their wishes and allowing everyone that knew them to pay their respects.
Funerals in the UK are often traditional ceremonies with beliefs and customs that date back many years – including black hearses and limousines, flowers such as lilies, carnations, and chrysanthemums, and the all-black attire.
However, increasingly more people are opting to plan funerals that reflect the life, hobbies, and interests of the deceased.
As independent funeral directors in Westbury on Trym in Bristol, Brunel Funeral Directors are here to take the stress out of organising a funeral. We offer a host of funeral services and can organise any type of funeral – be it a religious ceremony at church, a bespoke service, or a fuss-free cremation at the local crematorium.
Here we share a few ideas on how you can create a memorable funeral and give your loved ones the send-off they deserve.
6 things to consider when arranging a funeral
1. Specialist hearses
When making the arrangements for a funeral, you need to decide on the transport – both for the coffin and friends and family.
A great way to personalise traditional funeral vehicles that are chauffeur driven is to adorn them with coloured ribbons.
Horse-drawn hearses are another timeless classic. These fit with most traditional and modern funerals and can be styled to resemble princess carriages – swapping the usual black horses for white ones with nodding plumes of ostrich feathers, and decorating the hearse with pink ribbon.
Would you prefer a mode of transport that fits their personality or interests to a tee? Our funeral directors will pull out all of the stops to ensure you bid farewell to your loved one in a way they would have wanted you to.
2. Bespoke floral tributes
Flowers have long been a tradition at funerals, with beautiful arrangements placed on top of the casket during transportation and the service.
Increasingly more bereaving families are asking for charitable donations as opposed to sympathy flowers. But many people still like to have something to adorn the top of the coffin.
At Brunel Funeral Directors, we can provide everything from a single flower or simple posy to coffin sprays, hand-tied bouquets, and large bespoke arrangements.
Whether you’d like flowers in the shape of an angel, football, rugby ball, or teddy bear, or to spell the name of your loved one, we can help. Our price list can be found here.
3. Personalised coffins
The traditional coffin is known for its sarcophagus shape (narrower at the head and toes than at the shoulders) and is characterised by a flat top and simple fittings. These are commonly made of wood – specifically oak or elm with brass fittings for funeral services and pine and plastic fittings for cremations.
Here at Brunel Funeral Directors, we provide a wide range of wooden and alternative coffins, including:
- Banana leaf coffins – made from the leaves of the banana plant only, no metal or plastic, they are the most sustainable type of coffin. Their rattan frames make them lightweight and give them their golden colour.
- Berwick coffins – an oak veneer style, fitted with a raised lid, which can be supplied in virtually any colour. Finished and polished by hand, these coffins can also be personalised with engraving.
- Oval-shaped willow coffins – strong and sturdy and hand-woven on a bamboo frame. The oval shape looks beautiful when adorned with flowers and wreaths.
- Seagrass coffins – woven by hand using yarns of twisted seagrass and topped with cane.
4. Dress code and colour themes
When attending a funeral, most people play it safe and wear dark formal funeral attire – be it a dark coloured suit with a plain black tie, a smart dress, or a skirt with a shirt or blouse.
However, wearing brightly coloured clothing to symbolise a celebration of life is a popular option, and many families would much prefer mourners to dress in the deceased’s favourite colour.
Instead of wearing traditional black suits that resemble the sombre nature of their role, funeral directors could dress accordingly to the theme, too. They could change the colour of their ties or cravats or sport the colours of your loved one’s beloved football team.
Creating a theme for the day of the funeral not only injects the personality of your loved one, but can also help to create a truly memorable send-off. One that you’ll cherish for the rest of your life.
From traditional funeral hymns – such as Abide With Me, Amazing Grace, and How Great Thou Art – to modern-day pop songs and uplifting songs, the options are endless when it comes to deciding what music to play at the ceremony.
You may choose your loved one’s no.1 favourite song or a song that brings back fond memories of them. Either way, carefully selecting the music will help to make the day all the more special.
Need a little inspiration? Here, let us help!
If your loved one was charismatic, My Way by Frank Sinatra would be an obvious choice. Though a comedy song, Eric Idle’s Always Look on the Bright Side of Life is another popular soundtrack that brings comfort to grieving mourners and makes the deceased’s final farewell more upbeat.
For something a bit more modern, perhaps Angels by Robbie Williams or Lewis Capaldi’s Someone You Loved?
Surprisingly, popular TV theme tunes – such as Only Fools and Horses and Match of the Day – are also amongst the top 20 songs played at funerals in the UK!
6. Customised memorials
After the funeral, you’ll want to think about creating a memorial.
There are several ways in which you can do so – from traditional plaques, memorial headstones, and vases to caskets, remembrance benches, memorial jewellery, and teddy bears made from an item of the deceased’s clothing.
Of course, how you choose to remember your loved one is entirely your decision and you can personalise the memorial in whatever way you see fit.
If you’d like to talk through your ideas with one of our funeral directors, you’re more than welcome to contact us or come and visit us at our funeral home in Westbury on Trym. We are here to support you every step of the way – even after the funeral has taken place.
Need Help Arranging A Funeral?
As you can see, there are lots of ways you can personalise a funeral to create a lasting memory of your loved one – but funerals can add to the stress and pressure of losing someone you love. That’s why our funeral directors will be more than happy to assist with every aspect.
At Brunel Funeral Directors, we refuse to rush our families. We understand that everyone grieves in their own way and time, so take as long as you need. When you’re ready, we can discuss the funeral arrangements over a nice cup of tea – ensuring that every detail is perfect for the deceased.