We loved Emma Freud's 'How to do a funeral' in the Guardian this week which gives some helpful suggestions when planning a funeral. At the time of a funeral there is of course a huge amount to think about, so she breaks it down into a most-important-bits format, very-helpful-indeed.
Duly inspired, we've put together our own list on how to tackle the big day natural burial stylee to make the occasion one to remember, not a day to be endured.
Leedam Natural Heritage's
The funeral director
Or not. It is not imperative to have one, although if you need someone to do the bits in the background then of course they're there to help. Like Emma says, it's ok to 'shop around' until you find one that feels right. And remember, it's always ok to say no!
Order of service
We're all for making it memorable and the order of service is a perfect opportunity to personalise the day - so perhaps use a picture from their motorbiking days for the departed eccentric or a black and white portrait for the traditionalist. The day should be a balance of what the person who has died would have wanted, and how you'd like to remember them.
You'll be offered the fleet by your funeral director which may be exactly right for you. If it isn't, then you could drive yourself or have a friend take you, or even a regular taxi. But why not car share? It's a great way to be 'green' on the day and can help make the guests feel like they're really part of it. Separating off into different cars can make others feel distant on a day everyone should be together. Others have hired a coach too, getting all the family and friends on one vehicle, chatting, reminiscing and keeping the mood upbeat between the service, burial and wake. A bike and sidecar is an option as well - see the post below to see more.
Emma's article puts it perfectly, "if your loved one's favourite track actually was Elgar's Nimrod, then stick with it. But if they would have hated the muted organ tones as much as the rest of us, then do something different." A live rock band, solo saxophonist, Mum's favourite song barely audible from a tiny ipod dock - we've seen a variety of choices at our natural burial grounds, but importantly they've all been personal and effective. 'Oh but what would the cousins think?' Do not be polite! This is your day so play what is right for you.
You will undoubtedly be overcome with offers to help out, 'if there's anything I can do ...' etc etc. So with all the good intentions on standby, make the most of it and delegate. It will take things off your mind when there's too much going on, and help make those offering feel like they're being useful. Our recommendations would be to have Mrs Jones (who makes the most amazing apple pies) make you an apple pie, Mr Butcher bring you some bacon for the wake's sandwiches, or your breakfast, and get everyone to pitch in for the all important after party. Speaking of which ...
Again, Emma sums it up succinctly, "alcohol was virtually invented for funerals." You've had the service, the burial, the eulogy, now make the most of having all those nearest and dearest all in one place. This can really help it end on a happier note, after all, it is a time to celebrate the life of the person who has died. To get started early, some have given their guests a little 'strong one' as they arrive at the burial ground. Just an idea.
If you've got any good suggestion, we'd love to hear them - get in touch via the 'add comment' link below, and for more ideas and information, have a look at our Funeral Advice pages. You may also like Your Stories - a collection of families' experiences with us.
Stories and thoughts from the Leedam camp.
Family Led Funerals