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Things to think about

Welcome divider

When we sit down to arrange a funeral, we start with a blank page and we listen to what the family want from the event.  We ask a number of important questions in relation to the ceremony, and then we make that happen.

Things to Consider when organsing a funeral

When we sit down to arrange a funeral, we start with a blank page and we listen to what the family want from the event.  We ask a number of important questions in relation to the ceremony, and then we make that happen.  We never tell a family what they want, we simply listen and then guide.

With that in mind, we have written this guide of things that you may want to think about before we sit down and talk.

Will the funeral be a cremation or a burial?

These days most funerals are cremations and we usually use Birches Crematorium near Holmes Chapel. We can offer alternatives such as Macclesfield, Crewe, Bradwell, Carmount Side, Stockport, Vale Royal etc.  If you have a specific requirement then please let us know.

If the funeral is to be a burial, then will it be in an existing family grave, or will you require a new grave?  If it’s an existing grave you will need to provide the deeds to the existing grave before the cemetery will allow you to bury someone else in the same grave.

Will the service be a religious or non-religious service?

If the family want a religious service, then do you have a relationship with a particular church, or minister that we can approach on your behalf? If so do you have contact details that will help us?  Even if the service isn’t to be held in a church, ministers and clergy are often willing to officiate a ceremony at the crematorium. 

If the ceremony is non-religious then we work with a small number of celebrants and humanists. We can appoint the perfect person to represent your family and tell the story of your loved one. If you know someone that you would particularly like to take the service, then we welcome that too.

Will the funeral be a life celebration or a more traditional and sombre event?

It’s amazing how attitudes to funerals have changed in recent years. Families are frequently opting for a life celebration rather than a very dark sad event.  A life celebration celebrates the journey of someone we have loved.  Of course it’s still a sad event, but it allows for more uplifting music, the wearing of brighter clothes, and the occasional smile during the service.  They become memories that people smile about.  It’s still handled with the utmost care and respect, just with a smile too.

Of course some people are still very traditional and want everyone wearing black, and the event to be dark, sombre and sad.  We still pay great respect to the traditions that stem from the Victorians.

The important thing is that you have the choice.

Will it feature individually chosen music or traditional hymns?

A religious service will usually always contain a couple of hymns.  However whether it’s a church service or crematorium, music will always be an important factor within a funeral.   Usually there is a piece of music played when we are taking the coffin into the chapel to begin the service, and then another as we end the service and are leaving.  During a cremation service there is often a third piece of music played, called a reflective piece.  This piece allows family and friends to have a quiet moment of reflection to think about the person who has passed away.  So perhaps give some thought as to the music you think would be appropriate for your loved one, as you enter and leave the service.

So to summarise. 

For a church service think about your favourite hymns.

For a cremation, think about 3 or 4 pieces of music that represent your loved one.   These can be anything you want, From Sinatra’s My Way, to AC/DC’s High Way to Hell, we have heard some amazing tracks. There is no right or wrong!

Will the family want to help carrying of the coffin into the service?

We will always have all the staff neccessary to take the deceased from our Hearse, to their final resting place. However, the family carrying the coffin of a person who has died is often seen as the final act of respect.  If you have family members that want to carry the coffin then we can accommodate this.  There are some health and safety considerations that we will need to discuss but your family are always supported if they want to carry.  We give full instructions on the day of the funeral to anyone who wants to assist.

If the funeral is a cremation, what will happen with the ashes?

Following a cremation the ashes are usually available within a couple of days.  We can collect these on your behalf and return them to our funeral home ready for you to collect from us.  Alternatively they can be collected directly by the family from the crematorium.  Ashes can be scattered at the crematorium if required either in private, or with family in attendence. There are lots of options you can consider. We can also assist with burial of ashes in most local cemetaries.

Will the deceased be dressed in their own clothes?

You have the choice to have the deceased dressed in their own clothes as they rest in their coffin prior to the service.  If you want them dressed in their own clothes, then perhaps think about bringing the clothes with you when we go through the arrangements. One thing to remember though is that most people were underwear every day. You would be surprised how many people forget underwear!  Shoes can be worn while resting, however before a cremation we have to remove them due to the rubber soles being prohibited by cremation authorities.  If your loved one has a particular favourite perfume or aftershave then include it too.

Will the family want to visit the deceased in our funeral home?

Many families want to come spend time with their loved one at the funeral home, some definitely don’t.  The choice is yours entirely and we respect whatever you want to do. Our chapel of rest is air conditioned and we have taken steps to insulate it from outside sounds to give more privacy.

Donations in Lieu of Flowers?

Instead of people sending flowers, it's become more popular for people to request a donation to a charity, or charities in a memory of those who have passed. You may have a charity in mind, or you might want to think about a subject relevant to the person who has died.

Will you need a notice in the Newspaper?

If you require a notice placing in the newspaper then which newspaper's will you want your notice to run in? We have a great template which makes writing the perfect notice a little easier. It's only intended as a guide but it definitely helps. Expect to pay around £85 for a standard notice.

We can also place a notice on Funeral Notices. This can be shared accross social media and allows us to also collect donations on behalf of charities. And the best thing about this? There is no charge for it!

Anything else?

We are always happy when a family ask us for something a little out of the ordinary. If you want it, you can have it. It's a simple as that. No two people are the same and neither should their final journey. We like to do things differently to other funeral directors, so if you have an idea, we definitley welcome it!