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Preparing A Simple Funeral

Preparing for Death

Funerals can vary greatly in cost and ceremony. While some may be more elaborate with no expense spared, many more people will prefer a modest funeral. Here we look at how to arrange a simple funeral and the steps you need to take.

Deciding on a funeral director

Even if you wanted a simple funeral, it often makes sense to use a funeral director. While this is true, there is no legal requirement to use one. Due to their expertise, however, using one can save you a lot of hassle and you can still have a simple funeral.

Perhaps the biggest convenience that they offer is the care and transportation of the body. This can be a logistical and emotional challenge. For example, a funeral director will use a private ambulance and a hearse to transport the body.

There is plenty of other aspects to organize too such as liaising with the burial/cremation site, completing the appropriate paperwork and purchasing a coffin. A funeral director can aid with their experience but you still may not wish to use one.

Organizing a funeral

If you don’t want to use a funeral director then it’s best to get as much help from friends and family as you can. This can be emotionally challenging as everything has to be organized quickly after someone has passed away.

Firstly you need to think about where the body will be kept. In warm conditions, it will decompose quickly which is why the majority of bodies are taken to a refrigerated funeral home. You can either use an air conditioning unit at home or arrange with a mortuary directly to look after the body.

One problem with organizing your own funeral is that certain places that will only deal with a funeral director. You may find that some coffin suppliers or crematoriums, for example, can be obstructive as they are not used to dealing with the family of the deceased directly.

Whether you are using a crematorium or burial plot, there are certificates and forms that you’ll need to complete before you can do so. You’ll need a cremation/burial certificate and also an application form. If you’re opting for a burial, you may also need to hire a gravedigger.

Essential steps

When preparing for a funeral, some things are essential while others can be seen as extras. Here is what you have to take care of.

Burial/cremation site – As mentioned, you want to secure this as soon as possible and complete all the required paperwork. There are crematoriums that offer unattended funerals and woodland burials that don't need a coffin or headstone.

Coffin/shroud – You need to be able to carry the body but for you don’t always need a coffin. For a woodland burial, for example, many people will use a shroud.

Caring for the body – You can keep the body at home as long as the funeral will come quickly enough and you have facilities to keep the body cold.

Transportation – A hearse is traditional but this can also be done with a van or estate car. You'll also need dedicated pallbearers to carry the coffin to the cremation/burial site.


Even if you’re looking for a simple funeral, there are some extras that you may need or want to organize.

Flowers – You can cuts costs by arranging flowers yourself

Notices – It’s less common now but you may wish to write an obituary or death notice

Embalming – If there is going to be significant time until the funeral, the body may need to be embalmed. There are other considerations such as how pacemakers need to be removed before cremation.

Memorial service – There are usually speakers at a funeral such as a vicar or a celebrant. You may wish to pay for this service or organize it yourself.

Catering – If there is a wake after the funeral, you may want to cater for any guests. This can easily be organized without using a catering company.

Funeral costs

Funeral costs can be a huge burden for a family after a loved one passes away. If you decide to arrange a funeral yourself, then these costs are going to be considerably reduced. Even simple funerals take a lot of organization and a funeral director will charge for their time.

If you don’t want the hassle of organizing funeral then you can still use a funeral director and have a simple funeral. They will have a range of basic options and you won’t have to pay for any extras if you don’t want to.

Should I use a funeral director?

The choice is up to you but it's important to know the hard work and organization that will be required for you to do it yourself. You also have to consider the large emotional stress you'll be under. However, some people may prefer to keep their minds busy.

It’s usually the best idea to work with a funeral director and use their expertise. They will be able to help with logistics, liaising with other services and sorting out the paperwork. Whatever step you decide to take, you can still make a simple service into a special send off.

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