Alternative Venues

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
Alternative Venues

Where can I hold a Funeral Ceremony?

When a loved one dies there are so many questions and things to be sorted out.  You and your family want the funeral arrangements to be perfect.  I would like to answer some of the questions that you might have about the funeral ceremony.

frequent questions

  • Do I have to hold a funeral ceremony at the local crematorium?
  • Is it possible to hold the Ceremony in a more beautiful, peaceful venue?
  • Can I have a ceremony that lasts longer than 30 minutes?
  • Are there any special rituals that I could include as part of the ceremony?
  • How can I avoid travelling from the Ceremony venue to the Wake venue?

daisy chain

the venue

You don’t have to have a Crematorium based Funeral Ceremony.  These days more and more families are choosing to have a Celebration of Life Ceremony at an alternative venue.  Most people are familiar with this concept for Weddings, and the same choice applies to end of life ceremonies. 

alternative venues

The venue for the Ceremony can be somewhere that means something personally. Maybe your loved one was a golfer, the ceremony could be held at his own golf club with his fellow golfers at the ceremony. A football club would be the perfect place for a ceremony celebrating the life of a devout fan. If you have enough space you could hold a ceremony in your own garden (English weather permitting of course). If you want a ceremony in your local community you could use a community hall or a local hotel or pub which has a suitably sized private room. There are many different venues for wedding ceremonies that are also perfect for funeral ceremonies too.

the cremation

The cremation is at your local crematorium. It can be without any ceremony at all (direct cremation) or with just immediate family members for the committal.   The Ceremony takes place on the same day or shortly afterwards. At your choice of venue, on a day and time which suits you.

a local venue

choose your own venue

dunsley hall hotel

This beautiful venue is the perfect place to hold a unique Celebration of Life ceremony. Situated just off the A449 on the outskirts of Kinver and Stourton. Grade 2 Listed Timber Framed Building dating back to the 16th Century. Additions in the C17, C18 and C19. Set in beautiful, peaceful gardens and surrounded by countryside. Lovingly restored by Terry and Wilf Beardsmore it is now a first-class hotel and ceremony venue. The interior and exterior provide superior comfort and visual aesthetics, whilst keeping the original character of the buildings.

Some of the ceremony rooms have a terrace overlooking the lovely gardens and surrounds. A beautiful wood panelled sitting room provides a comfortable place to sit and chat after the ceremony. Tea, cakes and a buffet is served here or wherever you choose.

the ceremony

I will come and talk to you in the comfort of your own home. You can tell me what you would like to include in the ceremony. We will also discuss music, poetry and readings. I encourage you to get involved in the ceremony. Talk about your loved one or read a poem of your choice. Rituals such as a balloon release, a candle ceremony, or a memories tree are an option. You will have all the time you need for the Ceremony. The room is booked for you for the whole morning or afternoon. This allows you to include as many elements as you wish.  The ceremony will be all about your loved one, a celebration of their life and character. I will create a bespoke Celebration of Life Ceremony for you in a lovely room overlooking the terraces and gardens.

the wake

Following the ceremony a delicious buffet including tea and coffee will be provided for you and your guests. It is conveniently served in the same room or the room adjoining the ceremony area. You and your guests do not move off to another venue, everything is taken care of in one place. You can raise a glass to your loved one as you reflect on wonderful memories with your family and friends. Everything is organised for you, giving you less to worry about.

find out more

I am a professional funeral celebrant based in Stourbridge. I am dedicated to helping families have the ceremony they want. In a venue that suits them. I create bespoke Celebration of Life Ceremonies in beautiful venues.
Contact me through this web page, or call me to ask any questions or to appoint me as your Celebrant.
Mobile: 07722 203636

Dedicated to giving families like yours the Ceremony that you want