Organising a funeral: How to organise a funeral in the UK

There are a number of ways to organise a funeral in the UK. You can use a national funeral provider, a local funeral director or even organise the funeral yourself. Below we'll go into more detail and provide you with all the information you need to know.

Organising a funeral in the UK

With so many different things to consider, organising a funeral can be a stressful time, whether you're arranging your first funeral or you've organised a few.

But that's what funeral providers are there for. Though you can arrange a funeral yourself, things can get logistically complex and for many people that's the last thing they want when grieving.

Instead, a funeral provider like Distinct Cremations can take that organisational burden away from you. From here we can talk things through together and organise a funeral that suits you and your loved ones.

Call us today on 01543 211997 or read more below on the best ways to organise a funeral in the UK.

Organising a funeral articles & resources

Here are a number of resources that will be able to help with your funeral organisation and arrangements.

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Organising a funeral checklist

We understand organising a funeral can be difficult. To help ease things for you, here is a checklist of everything you need to consider when making funeral arrangements.

  • Notify loved ones: Inform family and friends of the deceased's death
  • Check the will and paperwork: The will may detail specific funeral requests or the deceased may have a prepaid funeral plan
  • See if the deceased is an organ donor: The deceased may have wishes to donate their body or organs
  • Set up a support system: A support system with friends and family will help you to deal with the emotional side of organising a funeral
  • Contact funeral provider: A funeral provider will be able to help with the arrangements, and if a loved one has died at home, they can take them into their care
  • Choose type of funeral: Select what type of funeral you'd like to have, burial or cremation, and choose a time and place most suitable
  • Personalise the funeral: For your funeral, you may like to include readings, arrange flowers and choose someone to lead the service. This can be arranged with the funeral provider
  • Complete legal paperwork: Ensure all necessary legal paperwork is in order, including the death certificate
  • Write an obituary: You may like to publish an obituary in the local newspaper or online
  • Plan a memorial service or wake: If you wish, you can organise a commemoration or celebration event at a time and place of your choosing
  • Prepare for the funeral: Gather photos and memorabilia to display at the service, organise transportation and speak to your funeral provider about what to expect

Want to plan ahead?

You can plan ahead by taking out a prepaid funeral plan. A funeral plan gives you and your family peace of mind knowing that funeral costs and the funeral arrangements are all taken care of in advance. That means no emotional strain or stress of organising a funeral when the time comes. Find out more about our funeral plans.

What to do when someone dies

Before someone dies, getting an understanding of what needs to be done and when, can help to ease the stress and confusion that you may face. Here's a handy checklist that will be of help with the legal requirements and the overall logistics for when the time comes.

Download a free checklist

Here at Distinct Cremations, we have created a free checklist for you to download which lets you know what you need to do when someone dies.

Download our checklist below or speak to our expert team on 01543 211997 today
Download free checklist

What is the process and how long does it take to organise a funeral?

  1. Fill in the paperwork
    You can begin to make tentative funeral arrangements before the death if your loved one is receiving end of life care. However, funeral arrangements can't begin in earnest until a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death has been provided by a doctor. In exceptional cases, the deceased may be referred to the coroner to establish the cause of death.

  2. Register the death
    Once the cause of death has been determined, you will then need to register the death within 5 days in England and Wales and within 8 days in Scotland. From here, you'll be issued a cremation or burial certificate to start making the funeral arrangements.

  3. Find a funeral provider
    Using the help of a funeral provider like Distinct Cremations, we can liaise with you to organise the cremation funeral that suits you and your loved ones. As we are professionals, we can speed up the organisation of a funeral and we can guide you through every step of the journey.

  4. Funeral timings
    With Distinct Cremations, it will take approximately 2-4 weeks to organise the funeral. This includes the collection of the deceased right through to the cremation itself.

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How does a cremation work with Distinct Cremations?

We take care of every step of the process, from collection right through to the simple funeral itself, providing peace of mind for you and the ones you love during the most difficult of times.


Get in touch

Want more information? We're happy to answer any questions you may have about our no fuss funerals over the phone, or you can request a free guide for details about what we offer.

Have a chat with us

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Want to talk through our options? If you have questions or would like some in-person support we’re just a call away.

Call us on 01543 211997

Get a free guide

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Need some time to digest the details? You can download a PDF of our guide online or get a printed copy posted out.

Get our guide

Organising a memorial service, celebration of life or wake

Once the funeral has taken place, many people like to have a memorial service, wake or celebration of life. This can take place at any time. Some people like to have it straight after the funeral, whereas others like to have it before or at a much later date.

The option is completely yours, as is the venue. You can have it somewhere traditional like a church hall or you can have it at the deceased's favourite pub. No venue is off limits, nor is the type of atmosphere you're looking for.

You can go for something upbeat, to celebrate the life of a loved one. Or you can go for something a little more low key. The option is entirely yours.

Here are a few things to bear in mind when arranging a memorial service.

The date & venue

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Focus on choosing a venue that suits the attendees and would've suited the deceased. No matter whether you want to go for something upbeat or something low key, a memorial service can be a cathartic experience where people come together to share love.

Ideas...

  • Renting a room at the local pub
  • At a family home with nearest and dearest
  • A buffet at a church or community hall
  • A picnic in the park or on the beach

Memorialisation

Funeral memorial book

To make a memorial service or wake special, you may like to add a few personal touches. This could be something formal like a eulogy, a guestbook for people to fill in or you may like to have a memorial table with a few mementos and photos of the deceased.

Ideas...

  • Eulogy or share memories in a speech
  • Memory table of photos and mementos
  • A slideshow or video of the deceased's life
  • Guestbook for attendees to share their memories

Comfort & support

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A memorial service can be a celebratory event, however it is a moment to lovingly share with others, while supporting each other after going through a difficult time. Making time and space for comfort can help ease people and perhaps bring them closure.

Ideas...

  • Set up an area for reflection
  • Invite a grief counsellor or support person
  • Open mic-sharing to share memories and emotions
  • Play comforting and meaningful music

Other helpful resources

Continue your funeral organisation with our resources below.

Arrange a funeral

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At Distinct Cremations, we provide funerals and direct cremations which are simple to arrange, affordable and delivered with care, dignity and respect.

Arrange a funeral

Funeral alternatives

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Know you don’t want to go down the traditional route, but not sure what you do want? Get to know the other options out there for your funeral arrangements.

Funeral alternatives

Funeral plans

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A Distinct Cremations funeral plan gives you peace of mind knowing that funeral costs are covered. Acceptance is guaranteed with no medical questions.

View our funeral plans

We offer the highest level of support, but don't take our word for it

Below are a selection of reviews from those who have arranged a funeral or purchased a funeral plan through Distinct Cremations.

"Smooth and straightforward purchase with plenty of contact and feedback."

“Easy to use and very helpful. Very easy to use their services and always called with updates. Sorry to say I've had to use their services twice now and I've already booked my own service. On both times I've used this service I've been kept informed by calls to everything going on. All my requests were made to feel like no trouble whatsoever, happy to help attitude made what was a very emotional time pass with no problems. Ty to all the teams involved"

"Quick and easy to arrange. Very good value. The information pack arrived days after I made my enquiry. It was so easy to arrange the plan that I wanted. The follow up call was very reassuring. I am very happy with the service provided."

"Already recommended to other family members. Easy to access and apply for a plan at a good price, and even better, in 20 years time there will be no additional cost. It's not a subject that anyone wants to think about but now I have it sorted it has given me peace of mind knowing my family won't have the worry or cost when that time comes, now I can forget it and enjoy many more years, highly recommended. Hassle free application that was completed in minutes but I'm not planning on using this plan anytime soon!!"

"I was very pleased with the prompt efficient service that I got, everything was explained to me, and the paperwork was easy to understand, and there was no pressure put on me for a decision. I would most certainly recommended this company for price and efficiency."

“Happy with everything. We were well pleased with the consultant Sarah Mills she was very helpful and made us feel very confident that we were doing the right thing about our funeral plan."

"Positive without being pushy. Easy to understand the scheme, helpful brochure and a realistic price. The staff I contacted were polite and professional. Great value. An ideal alternative for those of us who don't want a lot of fuss."

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