What is a civil funeral?

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A civil funeral is all about your wishes and the wishes and beliefs of your loved one.

If you’ve never arranged a funeral, it can be really difficult to know where to start. I can guide you and answer your questions and concerns before you contact a funeral director.

There are three main types:

Civil funeral – is all about your loved one, his or her life and the people left behind; a loving ceremony that is as unique as the person who has died. It has as much or as little religious or spiritual content as you want; we can include prayers and hymns or, if you prefer, leave them out completely. Words, music and ritual come together to create a very personal time to say goodbye to someone special.

Faith led – assumes that you or the person who died has a faith. The ceremony will have prayers, hymns and other religious content and is usually led by a priest, vicar or other faith leader.

Humanist funeral – focuses on the person you have lost through words and music but allows no religious content, mention of afterlife or being reunited with those who have already died.

As you can see, a civil funeral is the one that allows you most options. You can even prepare it in advance. Planning ‘in advance of need’ gives you the comfort – even enjoyment – of putting your own mark on your last life event. It also spares your family the anxiety of guessing what you would want when the time comes.

A civil funeral usually has four main parts:

  • an introduction by the celebrant
  • a tribute (also known as a eulogy)
  • words of farewell to your loved one
  • closing words

Woven into this are music, poems and readings and symbolic or ritual actions, such as a candle-lighting. I can arrange the music on your behalf at no extra cost.

A civil celebrant will support you whether you want a traditional funeral, a themed funeral (yes, we’ve even done Star Wars and Lord of the Rings), a biker funeral, a celebratory funeral or any other kind.

A civil celebrant leads a funeral ceremony wherever you want it: in a chapel or cemetery, of course, but also at your home, a hotel, a theatre, a football stadium or other suitable venue of your choice.

If you’d like to find out more, contact me at susan.flipping@caring-ceremonies.com or call 07506239970