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How can I arrange a good funeral?

"Funerals have always been about what humans do rather than about what they buy when someone they love dies."

From 'The Good Funeral: Death, Grief and the Community of Care' by Thomas G. Long and Thomas Lynch 


The only legal requirement in the UK for funerals is that the death must be certified and registered, and the body must be disposed of.

('Disposal means disposal by burial, cremation or any other means, and 'disposed of' has a corresponding meaning' - source Births and Deaths Registration Act, 1926.)


You do not have to employ a funeral director

We hear regularly from families who have been told by a crematorium or cemetery office that they don't deal with the public, and that the funeral must be booked by a funeral director.

Please let us know if you are told this, and we will be more than happy to make contact on your behalf and correct the individual concerned!

Here are the facts, as stated by the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management in response to a query about a council that would only permit funeral directors registered with them to carry out funerals in their cemeteries:

"A local authority (or any other burial ground owner) can not insist that a bereaved person must employ a funeral director.

Provided that the Registrar's Certificate or Coroner's Order for Burial is delivered with an interment form prior to the burial, and the deceased is brought to the cemetery with enough people to carry and lower the coffin, it must be permitted."


Common Myths about Funerals


Practical advice

Comprehensive practical advice is available on The Good Funeral Guide website here

For straightforward information about the practicalities of what to do after a death has occurred, Teresa Evans, campaigner for the Rights for the Bereaved has created an information page here.


Keeping Funeral Costs Down

Family led and 'DIY' funerals

Recommended Funeral Directors

Funeral plans

Private Land Burial


Coffins, Shrouds, Urns & Memorials




The New Natural Death Handbook fifth edition is out now, this book is a must read for everyone. Completely revised and expanded into a boxed set of three books... Read more

Credit to Will Whipple (photographer)



Links and Resources