In this advice guide, we answer the frequently asked question – ’What type of funeral can I have at a Natural Burial Ground?’
To summarise, you have the freedom to arrange whatever funeral service you want to – whether that’s part of a traditional service or a completely alternative funeral with a band and picnic.
Below, we have outlined a few options for you, but if you have any other questions or queries, please contact us.
Hold the entire service at the burial ground
A funeral is an opportunity to celebrate a person’s life whilst also coming to terms with the person’s departure. The entire service can be held at the natural burial ground and you can celebrate with songs, music, poetry, an open-air picnic; wear bright colours or a favourite team’s strip; decorate the coffin yourselves; take favourite things – the dog, or even the horse; release doves, let yourself be creative and individual. Take as long as you need.
The final part of a traditional funeral
Natural burial can also be the final part of a traditional funeral after a religious service held at a church, chapel, temple or mosque with a group of family and friends coming to the committal at the natural burial ground.
You may wish to have a non-religious or celebrant service at the family home followed by a committal, or even have a simple committal first followed by a memorial service at the venue that you’re having the wake.
Use an officiant
Ministers, celebrants and humanists can provide a framework for the event. Someone to lead the service, to speak out and invite contributions and then to formally say farewell, giving leave to depart, which is usually the hardest thing to do.
This help can often put people at ease and they will also guide you to plan what is said, who will speak, the choice of music, and identify opportunities for children to be included. A minister, humanist or celebrant will take on this role. Alternatively, a close family member who is capable of performing such a role might come forward at the right time.
Whatever works for you
Natural burial grounds offer a blank canvas upon which you can design your own style of funeral. Whether a simple natural burial where the service and burial take place at the graveside in the meadow, a close family gathering for the interment of ashes after a direct cremation or a committal ceremony after a more traditional religious service at a church or chapel.
Sometimes, so much freedom can be daunting, especially at such a difficult time, so it is useful to hear about funerals that others have arranged before which have worked well. The personal touches that counted for a lot, the way they strayed from the normal way of doing things to make it special.
We have a collection of inspiring stories from families who have done their own thing at the natural burial grounds, which provide some great ideas.