Help for the Bereaved

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
Help for the Bereaved

Moving through bereavement

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There are no right words, and there is no balm for this, but self-kindness and self-love is the greatest gift that you can give as you recover yourself fully.

Allow yourself to express and be however you need to be; this is the greatest kindness you can give to yourself, and any others you know who are grieving. Be with those you love and who support you, and don’t force yourself to meet unrealistic goals or to do things that aren’t necessary.

To read more click on the LINK


Awareness, Help for the Bereaved

It’s Good to Talk

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Overwhelming tiredness and exhaustion

Difficulty concentrating

Change in appetite

Aches and pains

Anxiety attacks

These are just some of the symptoms of grief.

If you are you struggling to deal with the loss of someone you were close to, then you might well benefit from Bereavement Counselling.

We have all lost someone close to us, be it from illness, old age, or an accident.   And loss and grief is also experienced everyday such as when someone leaves home, the loss of a pet or a job, or the end of a relationship. Grieving is a natural process, but some people might need additional specialist help to work through this.

Mason’s Counselling, Therapy and Bereavement Services specialise in bereavement counselling and have supported many individuals going through the bereavement process.  To find out more about the service they offer just follow the link above.

Awareness, Help for the Bereaved

How to support friends experiencing loss

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There are many types of loss, and loss doesn’t always mean that someone has lost a loved-one following their death.

living loss

Living loss such as divorce, retirement, a life-threatening illness, a debilitating injury or a life-altering condition like dementia or addiction can be extremely difficult to cope with. Support can make all the difference in helping friends summon the strength, faith and courage to fight their way back into life.

offer help and support

friends suffering from loss

You want to help your friends and relatives in their times of need but how can you support someone suffering from loss? 

You can start by offering them your condolences and giving them a simple hug.

Make sure that you keep in touch with them as they will need your continued help and support

Allow your grieving friend to shed tears and open up. It will help them to let their feelings out. A bereaved friend will want to talk about their loved one and you can help them by being open and honest and not being afraid to share stories about their loved one. Reminiscing about their special qualities.

it’s good to talk

Be kind, patient and compassionate. Your own feelings can take a back seat while you put your friend first. You can signpost them to professional services if they need extra help, and there are also a lot of bereavement and other types of support group online where they can talk to people who have gone through the same experience and who know what they are going through.

Ask them what help they need from you.

kindness and compassion

Sharon Gordon Celebrant Stourbridge

If you would like to appoint me as your Celebrant CONTACT ME here

Help for the Bereaved

In the Stars

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Sadly, 15 babies die before, during or shortly after birth every day in the UK.

In the Stars is a book written from first hand experience, to help you talk to children about the death of a sibling, pet or family member.

“Sam’s fabulous book is a beautifully illustrated exploration of how to remember a baby who has died using nature and our surroundings as inspiration. It’s primarily aimed at families with younger children, but is also helpful for children of any age to start a conversation.

“I would recommend the book to bereaved parents, their families and grandparents who need help in explaining the death of a baby to their children or grandchildren.”

In the Stars

– follow this link to find out more and purchase the book