Death is a sorrowful time but unfortunately, it also means there is a lot to take care of from the perspective of the loved ones of the deceased. From the obituary to the final wishes of the deceased, it’s a lot of responsibility. And, there will inevitably come a time when someone dies and nobody knows how to plan a funeral.

That’s why we’ve put together this guide for anybody preparing their final wishes or in the process of making funeral arrangements. Keep reading to learn more. 

How to Plan a Funeral or Memorial Service

One of the first things you should do before planning a funeral service is to find out if your loved one left behind any final arrangements. A pre-arranged funeral plan will specify the funeral service provider and any special wishes regarding the service. This may include an obituary and/or eulogy, open/closed casket wishes, cremation wishes, and other details surrounding their final disposition.

Final Disposition

The final disposition of the body will be left up to the immediate family of the deceased if there were no prior arrangements made. You will want to consider the faith of the deceased when making this decision. You may also need to consider the budget that you’re working with.


Cremation is the most cost-effective option for the final disposition. Many people are choosing this option because it allows friends and family to keep them close after they’re gone. They also choose cremation for the opportunity to have their ashes spread at the beach, over the mountains, and in other various locations that are close to their heart and soul.  

Traditional Burial

A traditional burial involves placing the deceased in a casket in a cemetery plot or mausoleum. You will be required to purchase a casket, a burial vault, cemetery plot, and grave marker or headstone. 

Green Burial

A green burial is also known as a natural burial. This burial method is quickly growing in popularity as people become more and more environmentally aware. Many cemeteries have created ‘green spaces’ specifically designed for green burials. You can also find specific green burial sites.


You’ll also need a budget to plan the funeral arrangements. The average cost for a basic funeral including burial, fees, casket, transporting remains, embalming, and other preparations is anywhere between $7,000 and $9,000. You’ll pay $6,000 to $7,000 for cremation.

Of course, there are some ways to save money. Embalming, for example, is not required by the Federal Trade Commission. Talk to your funeral director about alternative ways to preserve the body until the cremation or burial.

Choosing a Venue

There are many contemporary options for holding a funeral service outside of the typical funeral home or cemetery. The Garden Sanctuary is a good example. Of course, you may also want to hold the service at your church.

No matter which type of venue you select, there are few things to consider including the number of people that will be in attendance and whether or not the venue allows food and drinks, including alcohol. You should also ask if specific caterers must be used and don’t forget to be sure the venue is appropriate for the anticipated weather forecast.

Flowers or Donations

Traditionally, people send flowers as a sign of support and condolences to a funeral home to be displayed at the funeral. Some people, however, have opted to ask for donations to specific charities in memory of the deceased in lieu of flowers. It is not inappropriate to allow for both.

In order to express your wishes, you can list this information in the obituary or funeral announcement.

Photo Tributes

A growing trend in the UK is using photo tributes in more creative ways and giving the deceased a more heartfelt and tailored send-off. This can be done by making your favorite photo last longer at a funeral, for example, by printing it onto a funeral order of service template. Customizing your order of service template ensures that the memory is at the forefront of the day and can be kept as a lasting memory of the deceased.

Most funeral homes have a projector with an audio system in order to display a slideshow with pictures of the deceased. A photo tribute should consist of pictures and/or videos with a favorite song playing overhead. It should last anywhere from three to five minutes.


Any music performed or played at the service should be a tribute to the deceased. You may also want to consider a playlist of favorite songs of the deceased to be played overhead during the gathering part of the service. Generally, one or two songs will be played during the service.

Some people select hymns for a spiritual element while others choose songs special to the deceased.


A simple guest book and pen should be placed near the front of the funeral home entrance for guests to sign. You may also place an easel holding a framed photo of the deceased here. Otherwise, the funeral home director and staff will delicately display any flowers sent in throughout the funeral home.


Dove and lantern releases are very popular ways to say final goodbyes. For lantern releases, encourage guests to write something on the lantern before it releases. Be careful to only use biodegradable products.


You may also choose to hold a reception after the funeral service. You should provide a menu with foods based on the likes of the deceased and similar desserts with tea and coffee. Champagne is also a nice touch in order to hold a toast, especially if the deceased was particularly fond of celebrations. 

Final Thoughts

Funeral planning may seem like a lot when you’re grieving. Learning how to plan a funeral before your death will make things much easier on your family and friends once you’re gone. If you want to explore other options then you can check out The Living Urn and how you can cherish your loved ones in a different way.

You can also learn a lot from planning a loved one’s service. Keep these tips in mind as you journey through the process. Hopefully, they will give you some peace of mind. 

We hope you found this article helpful. Before you go, here is another post detailing a few successful ways to deal with anxiety. It could help you while planning a funeral. 

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