COVID-19 Information

How to Plan a Funeral

COVID-19 Information

Since the outbreak of Covid-19 we have been committed to looking after our families to the best of our ability.

We are working closely with the  government and the funeral sector to make sure we provide you with the best possible service under the current restrictions, whilst providing necessary protection to both you, your family and our staff.

The current message from the Government is that funerals should continue as far as possible, for now, but take into account all of the guidelines issued for minimising the risk of transmission. This includes the need to protect at-risk groups, to avoid large gatherings of people, for good hand hygiene and the avoiding of unnecessary physical contact.

We are taking steps to ensure all initial contact with the family (e.g. the arrangement meeting) is conducted remotely, for example, by telephone or email. So please do not feel offended if we ask to conduct the arrangements remotely as the current Government-advise is for everybody to stay at home. If you are calling us following the death of a loved one at home, you must tell us if the person has died of the Covid-19 Coronavirus or if you are showing symptoms of it. Again, please do not be offended by this, we may also ask you if this is the case; we need to ensure as far as possible the safety of you and our staff at all times. If you need to contact us about arranging a funeral and are already affected by the Covid-19 virus, rest assured, we will do our utmost to help you facilitate the funeral arrangement.

Whether you’re mourning the loss of a loved one or you’re planning ahead to save your family the heartbreak and expense, planning a funeral can be overwhelming. There is so much to think about – from arranging funeral transport to choosing a coffin, music and readings for the service. However, Brunel Funeral Directors is here to guide you through the process, every step of the way.

As independent funeral directors in Bristol, we are experts at handling paperwork, logistics and practical elements involved in arranging a funeral and ensure everything runs smoothly. But we always take into account the role you and your family want to play in planning the funeral and will never step on anyone’s toes.

Here we look at the process of how to plan a funeral, as you consider the most fitting way to mourn your loved one and celebrate their life:

1. Choose a type of service

The first step to planning a funeral is to consider what type of service the deceased would have wanted.

Funerals are often based on family traditions or religious beliefs and can include anything you feel appropriate. There are various types of funeral services to choose from, and the four most common include:

  • Traditional full-service burial
  • Direct burial
  • Full-service cremation
  • Direct cremation

We understand that planning a funeral isn’t easy – especially when your emotions are all over the place. That’s why our funeral directors can help plan the ceremony – whether it be a burial or cremation – and take care of all the arrangements on your behalf. If you’d like family or friends to be pallbearers, carrying the coffin from the hearse to where the service is being held, that’s no problem.

2. Pick a venue and date

The next thing to decide is where the funeral will be held. Will it be a crematorium chapel? A place of worship? Perhaps you’d prefer an alternative setting?

A funeral is held according to the family’s wishes. If it’s a religious service at a church or crematorium, the minister will guide you on what you can and can’t do.

Once you’ve decided where you then need to think about when the funeral will take place. This can depend on the funeral directors’ availability, religious beliefs and your family circumstances.

Already got a date in mind? Be sure to let us know and we’ll do everything we can to tailor our funeral services around what works best for you and your family at this sad time.

3. Decide what type of coffin you want

The coffin plays a huge part in the funeral service. It will not only be at the front of the congregation during the service but present from the funeral home to the hearse. Although an old tradition, you may choose to place personal items in the coffin, such as family photographs, letters and flowers, to connect the deceased with the living.

Here at Brunel Funeral Directors, we not only know how to plan a funeral, we offer an extensive range of coffins, including an assortment of colours, materials and sizes. We also provide the option to personalise the coffin with engraving.

4. Plan the order of service

On the day of the funeral, you might want to provide mourners with an order of service booklet or sheet – something for them to follow and to take home with them. These are also ideal for people who can’t attend the funeral and usually include:

  • hymns and songs
  • poems and readings
  • photographs

The good news is, if you’re planning a religious ceremony, most religions are flexible about what can be included in the funeral and will be more than happy to discuss your special requests in detail. This means you can tailor the order of service to create a personal, unique commemoration of your loved one’s life.

5. Select the music and readings

Readings and poems are a great way to personalise a funeral. The person leading the service can read these out for you. But, if they never met the deceased, be sure to provide them with some personal details (especially the name they were known by!).

The eulogy is a speech that honours the life of the person who has died and is often written and read by a close friend or family member. The tone and style of the eulogy can reflect the personality of your loved one, so be sure to choose someone confident enough to stand up and give a fitting tribute.

Another way to add a personal touch to the funeral is to have your loved one’s favourite piece of music playing in the background and, if they were religious, pick out their favourite hymns and Bible readings.

6. Consider flowers and charitable donations

When someone dies, people often send flowers and floral tributes to the church, funeral home or family home (depending on the family’s religion or personal preferences) – particularly carnations, chrysanthemums, gladioli, lilies and roses.

Ranging from a single flower to a heart-shaped posy, colourful floral letters and mixed bunches, we offer all kinds of floral tributes, here at Brunel Funeral Directors. We can also provide a large bespoke arrangement, incorporating the deceased’s favourite flowers and colours, if you wish.

Alternatively, you may choose an organisation or charity that helped and supported your family and ask for donations instead of flowers.

7. Organise funeral transport

On the day of the funeral, the hearse will take the coffin, from the funeral home, to the service. However, some families request that the coffin is taken to the family home so they can say one final goodbye to their loved one before they are buried or cremated. We have extensive knowledge in how to plan a funeral and will advise on things, such as bus routes and rush hour, to ensure every aspect runs as smoothly as possible.

Limousines usually follow the hearse and transport family and close friends to the ceremony. Chauffeured limousines save you the hassle of worrying about driving, finding a parking space and arriving at the service on time.

8. Organise a wake or funeral reception

Most funeral services conclude with a wake to allow friends and family to gather and remember a loved one in a more relaxed, informal environment. They often form part of an afternoon, or evening, and are dedicated to celebrating the life of the deceased.

Not sure how to plan a funeral reception? Rest assured, we can help.

You’ll need to choose a suitable venue – one that isn’t too far away from where the service was held. Try local hotels, pubs, village halls, function rooms. You may even decide to host a small gathering, strictly for family, at your home. Once you’ve chosen a venue, don’t forget the food and drink arrangements for guests who are attending!

Secure your family’s future and plan your funeral today

Increasingly more people are choosing to plan their own funeral. And, here at Brunel Funeral Directors, we offer a range of pre-paid funeral plans from Golden Leaves. But why pre-plan a funeral?

For starters, it saves your family the responsibility of planning a funeral, allowing them to grieve properly and  give you the perfect send-off. After all, you would have arranged every last detail. So, why not take the time to prepare every aspect of your funeral – from the type of service to the coffin, flower arrangements, music and biblical readings?

For more information about our pre-paid funeral plans, call 0117 374 2002 or email Or, if you prefer, come and visit our comfortable funeral home in Westbury on Trym to discuss your requirements with our team, over a cup of tea.

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