Alternative Venues, Help for the Bereaved

How to plan a funeral service

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I need help with how to plan a funeral service. A family member has recently died and there are so many things to be sorted out.  My head is all over the place.  How can I make sure to plan a funeral service that is perfect for my loved one?


How to plan the perfect Funeral Service.  You don’t have to hold the Ceremony in a Crematorium or Church.   A Celebrant led Ceremony allows you much more choice.  The venue can also have a personal relevance to you and your loved one.  It can be indoor or outdoor and combined with the wake.  Consider what type of venue you want.   The funeral industry is changing.  Current generations are not so religious.  People now want more choice.  I am a Funeral Celebrant living in Stourbridge. I help families within a 20-mile radius of Stourbridge create an authentic Funeral Service for their loved one in a venue of their choice.

how to plan a funeral service

The automatic thought for a funeral service is to hold it at a church or a crematorium.  For obvious reasons the committal element is held in your local council crematorium or cemetery.  But did you know that you can hold the Ceremony element in a variety of different settings?  Most people are aware that a Wedding or Naming Ceremony can be held in a venue that they choose.  It’s also true for a Funeral Ceremony and Wake.  You can have the Ceremony at any suitable venue.  Think about it like this: if a venue is suitable for a wedding ceremony it will also be suitable for a Funeral Service or Celebration of Life Ceremony. You can plan your perfect Funeral Service according to your wishes.

any suitable venue

personal relevance of the venue choice

Think about the character and hobbies of your loved one and what was important to them.  You might wish to reflect this in your choice of venue.  Were they an avid football or rugby supporter – you may be able to hold the Ceremony at the Club of ‘their team.’  A member of a Golf Club?  What is a better venue for the ceremony than their own Club with their fellow members there.  It will be a true reflection of their passions.   Is a local restaurant or pub a more appropriate place?  It’s possible to hire a private room or even a whole restaurant for the afternoon or evening.  For a gardener what about a funeral service in your garden?  You can have professional caterers in to provide the refreshments.  A traditional barn in the countryside used for wedding ceremonies could be your way to plan the perfect funeral service.  The venue is only limited by your imagination.

a funeral service in your garden

celebrant led funeral service

A Celebrant led Ceremony is an opportunity for you to create an authentic Ceremony for your loved one in the venue of your choice.  You are not restricted to a 30 minute Crematorium Service.  A Celebrant talks to you in detail about your loved one and writes a ceremony which reflects their life and character.  You choose music, poetry, tributes, readings, and rituals that you want to include.  You are in charge.  Would you like to have a balloon release ritual?  No problem.  What about a Memories Tree?  Yes, you can have that too.  It is a more relaxed and personal goodbye to your loved one.

a balloon release ritual

indoor or outdoor funeral service

Where would you hold the Ceremony for someone who loved the outdoors and nature?  Imagine a peaceful place in nature with birds singing and the sound of bees.  Would this be the ideal venue for the Funeral or Celebration of Life Ceremony for your loved one?  Would you like a Ceremony in their favourite local nature area?   Combine it with a scattering of ashes ceremony if appropriate. (You may need to get permission)

It might depend on the season and the facilities provided. There would be some extra considerations regarding weather, accessibility and seating to think about, but it’s possible to do.

size of venue

Think about the number of people you expect to attend.  It isn’t always easy to know for a funeral as people are not normally invited in the normal sense.  They just turn up if they want to pay their respects.  However, if you can, speak to family members and friends of the deceased.  Finding out who is planning to come will help you a lot.  You can make sure the venue is an appropriate size.  You won’t over cater or under cater for the refreshments at the wake.  You need to make sure the room can hold the number of people that are expected.  It would be awful if friends and family weren’t all able to fit in.  The venue will advise you on this aspect and help you to plan the perfect funeral service.  On the other hand, if it’s going be to be a very small funeral for close family only, a room that is too large will feel too impersonal.

accessibility of the venue

Think about where most of the mourners live.  Will this have some influence on which venue you choose?  How far is it reasonable to travel?  Is the choice of venue accessible for those who might be less able-bodied?  Elderly friends and relatives may have problems accessing an outdoor venue for example.  What about seating?  Older people may need to sit down.  Is there any overhead cover if it rains?  Enough parking spaces?  It’s probably a good idea to visit the venue before you book it so that you can plan the perfect funeral service. 

it might depend on the season

ceremony and wake combined

You can have the Ceremony and the Wake at the same place.  I would recommend it where possible.  It avoids the need for everyone to move from place to place.  You can choose a place where food and drinks can be provided.  Or you can use an outside caterer.  There are many companies providing this service.  You can hire the venue for a full morning, afternoon or evening.   You will have a bespoke Ceremony without the usual time limits, spending time with family and friends at the wake afterwards.  This could be the perfect funeral service for your family.

personal choice and changing values

The funeral industry is changing.  What has been a very traditional profession is now moving with the times.   Families want something different.  Current generations have a different attitude to funerals.  Religion is becoming less important to many.  Personalised Ceremonies are now the popular choice.  Many are beginning to pre-plan their own Funeral, choosing venues, music and readings that they would like.  Those with a life limiting illness are even choosing to have a pre-death ceremony.  Celebrating with their loved ones.  Things will continue to change, and I am happy to accommodate peoples wishes.

Religion is becoming less important

Sharon Gordon Celebrant Stourbridge

Funeral Celebrant based in Stourbridge, West Midlands.  I help families to plan the perfect funeral service which celebrates the life of their loved ones.  I write bespoke ceremonies and officiate at the ceremony.  If you would like to talk to me about a ceremony for your loved one or any aspect of my services, then please do CONTACT ME via this platform. I will get back to you within 24 hours, usually sooner.

I write bespoke ceremonies to create the perfect funeral service

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