How to plan a funeral

Whether you’re in the midst of dealing with the passing of a loved one or are looking ahead and trying to put a plan in place for your own passing to ease the burden on your loved ones, everyone will need to know how to plan a funeral at some point in their lives. 

Planning a funeral involves several essential steps: 

  • Decide on the type of service (cremation, burial, or memorial). 
  • Inform immediate family and friends, 
  • Gather the necessary documentation
  • Determine a budget and be aware of associated costs and potential hidden charges
  • Choose a location that resonates with the deceased’s wishes or family preferences
  • Personalise the service with appropriate readings, music, and tributes, and consider any religious or cultural customs. 

Services like Simple Send Offs can guide you through the entire process, offering affordable and tailored funeral solutions as an alternative to traditional high street directors.

Call 0800 246 5292 or (0151) 630 0050 to Discuss your funeral options with our friendly team. 

Understanding Funeral Planning 

When the weight of loss presses down, the last thing you want to think about is the intricate decisions involved in funeral arrangements. Yet, the reality is that planning a funeral demands choices: from the type of service you’d prefer, to the ideal location, reaching out to friends and family, and of course, navigating the costs involved. 

At Simple send offs, based in Wirral and serving Bebington, Bromborough and the surrounding areas, we are reshaping the way funerals are approached. Our experienced and compassionate team offer invaluable personalised care and affordability as a refreshing alternative to the more traditional high street funeral directors. 

Read on for guidance on navigating the take of planning a funeral to ensure it’s as simple, meaningful and manageable a task as possible. 

Plan A Funeral – Step-By-Step Guide 

When grief mixes with the practicality required to plan a funeral, it can be hard to put one foot in front of the other, but this simple breakdown will help you to tackle the complexities of the funeral planning process one step at a time.

Understanding Your Options

Types of Services

Every life lived tells a unique story, and the way we choose to commemorate it should be just as unique. Whether it’s the age-old tradition of a burial, a cremation, or the reflective atmosphere of a memorial service, it’s about finding a fitting tribute to your loved one’s life and legacy. 

The Role of Funeral Directors

Funeral directors provide a steady helping hand throughout the process that follows after death. Their expertise spans logistical arrangements funeral transport, legal documentation, and most importantly, ensuring the wishes of the departed and their families are honoured.

Traditional High Street Versus Alternative Providers

The bustling high street funeral directors, with their established presence, have been a long-standing choice for many. However, alternative independent providers like our team here at Simple Send Offs can offer a more personalised touch. Away from the overheads and sometimes impersonal nature of most funeral director services from larger establishments, we offer a heartfelt and budget-friendly alternative.

Starting with the Basics: Initial Steps For Funeral Planning

Starting with the Basics Initial Steps For Funeral Planning

Informing Immediate Family and Friends

In times of grief, your family members and friends offer invaluable support. While it may feel heart-wrenching, it’s essential to relay the news to them. Not only can they provide emotional backing, but they might also assist in the upcoming practicalities.

Gathering Necessary Documentation

Paperwork, although seemingly mundane, is crucial. From the medical certificate detailing the cause of death to the deceased’s will, each document plays a part in ensuring the funeral and subsequent affairs run smoothly. It’s worth noting that some of these documents may be needed before funeral arrangements can progress, so gathering them early on is beneficial.

Deciding on Immediate Arrangements

The days immediately following a loss can feel like a whirlwind. Yet, some decisions, like where the body should rest before the funeral, need to be made promptly. Whether you opt for a funeral home, hospital mortuary, or home, ensure it aligns with the deceased’s wishes and is a space where family and friends can gather in comfort if they wish. 

Our family-run, Simple Send Offs funeral service will offer guidance during these early stages, easing some of the burdens.

Tailoring the Service: Making It Personal

Amidst the shared rituals and traditions, every funeral holds a space for the unique essence of the person who has died that it honours. Bringing together personal touches can make the ceremony resonate with the true spirit of the departed and turn it into a heartfelt celebration of their life.

Choosing a Location

Whether it’s a countryside chapel, the familiarity of a local church, or the intimacy of a family home, the location sets the tone for the service. It’s more than just a physical space; it’s where memories will be revisited, tears shed and smiles exchanged. Consider where your loved one would have felt most at peace, or where their presence was most strongly felt, and let that guide your choice.

Selecting Readings, Music, and Tributes

Words and melodies have a profound way of echoing the sentiments of the heart. Perhaps there’s a poem that encapsulates their spirit, a song that brings a flood of memories that would make lovely funeral music, or a heartfelt tribute penned by a dear friend. These personal touches, chosen with care and love, breathe life into the service, making it a personal and fitting tribute to a life well lived. 

Honouring Religious or Cultural Customs

Religion and culture influence our rites and rituals. If the departed held certain beliefs dear or followed specific cultural customs, this is likely to be honoured in the service. This could take the form of special prayers, music, burial traditions and more. This not only pays respect to their values but also offers solace to those who find comfort in these familiar rituals. If you’re uncertain about any aspects, reach out for guidance. Providers like Simple Send Offs have experience across various traditions and can assist in ensuring each need is respectfully observed.

Budgeting and Costs: Navigating the Financial Aspects

In the process of planning a funeral, the financial implications can often emerge as a significant concern. A compassionate approach, combined with informed decisions, can help you navigate these waters without compromising on the honour and respect your loved one deserves.

Typical Costs Associated with Funerals

From the costs of the funeral service planning the burial or cremation itself to charges for the funeral director’s services, the coffin or urn, venue hire, funeral transport, and even flowers and memorial stationery. Being aware of these standard costs can equip you to make well-informed decisions that align with your budget.

The Hidden Charges to Be Aware Of

Think about obituary notices, extra transportation, or potential fees for extended venue hire. It’s essential to inquire thoroughly, ensuring that the quoted funeral costs encompass all aspects, leaving no room for unexpected surprises.

How Simple Send Offs Trims Away Excess Costs, Making Funerals Affordable

Simple Send Offs focus on what truly matters. By eliminating unnecessary overheads, our team will craft a funeral that is both dignified and affordable. Our ethos revolves around transparency, ensuring families are always aware of where their money goes. In this approach, we not only bring peace to the hearts of the bereaved but also ensure that financial constraints don’t overshadow the ceremony’s essence. By trusting us with your or your loved one’s final journey, you will find a partner who understands the balance between compassion and cost-effectiveness.

Post-Funeral Considerations

As friends and family attempt to return to normal life following the passing of a loved one, for those who are tasked with funeral planning, there are still some additional steps to consider when it comes to post-funeral healing and reflection. 

Memorial Services

While the funeral provides an immediate space for grief and remembrance, the need to commemorate your loved one your own way might resurface over time. Memorial services, held weeks, months, or even years after the passing, provide another moment to celebrate their life. Whether it’s an intimate gathering or a larger event, it offers a chance for those who couldn’t attend the traditional funeral, or for new reflections to emerge.

Handling of Ashes or Grave Maintenance

The resting place of your loved one requires care and consideration. If you’ve chosen cremation, decide on a meaningful location or method to spread or store the ashes. This could be in a specially chosen urn, a memorial garden, or a place they loved. For burials, consider the upkeep of the grave, from headstone maintenance to the surrounding greenery. These acts, though simple, serve as an ongoing tribute to their memory.

Grieving and Support Services

The emotional aftermath of a loss can be profound and long-lasting. It’s vital to remember that it’s okay to seek support. From counselling services to local bereavement groups, there are plenty of avenues to explore. Sharing your grief, understanding its many faces, and being surrounded by those who truly get it can be immensely healing. 

Remember, you’re not alone in this journey. Whether it’s professional services or the compassionate ear of someone at Simple Send Offs, there’s a world of support out there, ready to help you navigate your grief.

Where Does A Wake Fit Into Funeral Planning?

Where Does A Wake Fit Into Funeral Planning

A wake or funeral reception is an important tradition in many cultures and religions. It’s essentially a gathering before, during, or after the funeral where friends and family come together to remember, mourn, and support one another following the death of a loved one.

In terms of funeral planning, here’s where a wake typically fits in:

Deciding on Holding a Wake: Before anything else, it’s crucial to determine whether a wake will be held. This decision often rests on religious or cultural customs, personal preferences, or the deceased’s wishes if known.

Timing: The wake usually takes place in the days leading up to the funeral, but it can also occur immediately after the funeral service itself. In some traditions, it might last for several days with specific rituals observed on each day.

Location: Wakes can be held in various places, including:

  • The family home: A traditional setting where the deceased might be displayed in a coffin.
  • Funeral home: Many funeral directors have rooms specifically designed for wakes.
  • Community centres or a village hall: Especially if a large number of attendees is expected.
  • Religious places of worship: Some religions have specific areas or halls designated for this purpose.

Invitations: Decide who you’d like to invite. This could be an open invitation to the community, or it could be more private, reserved for close friends and family.

Atmosphere and Decor: Some wakes are solemn affairs, while others are more celebratory, focusing on the life of the deceased rather than their death. Consider having photos, mementoes, or music that was significant to the deceased.

Refreshments: It’s common to offer some form of refreshment, whether it’s just tea and coffee or a full spread of food and drink.

Etiquette: Inform attendees of any specific customs, etiquettes, or rituals that might be observed during the wake, especially if they come from different cultural or religious backgrounds.

Duration: Decide on the length and order of service for the wake. Some might last for several hours, allowing attendees to come and go, while others might have a more specific start and end time.

Incorporation into Pre-Paid Funeral Plans: If you’re planning your funeral in advance, consider including your wishes for a wake in your pre-paid funeral plan. This can cover the associated costs and provide guidelines on how you’d like the event to be conducted.

In the grand scheme of funeral planning, the wake provides a space for communal grieving, allowing loved ones to share stories, offer comfort, and begin the healing process together.

How To Plan Your Own Funeral With Pre-paid Plans?

How To Plan Your Own Funeral With Pre-paid Plans

Planning your own funeral with pre-paid plans involves a thoughtful and detailed approach. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you:

  1. Self-Reflection: Start by thinking about how you want to be remembered. Do you prefer a traditional ceremony or something more contemporary? Consider religious or cultural rituals, types of music, readings, or any specific wishes you want to be part of the service.
  2. Research Pre-Paid Funeral Plans: There are numerous providers in the market, each offering different packages. Some cover basic funeral director services, while others might include more comprehensive options like a choice of funeral vehicles or types of coffins.
  3. Budgeting: Determine a budget. Pre-paid plans can vary significantly in cost, so establish what you’re willing to spend and what elements are most important to you.
  4. Meeting Providers: Arrange consultations with a few funeral plan providers. Discuss your wishes, understand their offerings, and get a sense of which one aligns best with your expectations.
  5. Check the Fine Print: Some plans might not cover certain costs, like burial fees or headstones. Make sure you understand what’s included and what might be additional expenses.
  6. Payment Options: Depending on the provider, you might have the option to pay in a lump sum or through instalments. Choose the method that’s most suitable for your financial situation.
  7. Inform Loved Ones: Once you’ve purchased a plan, inform your close family and friends. This will ensure they’re aware of your wishes and know which provider to contact when the time comes.
  8. Regularly Review the Plan: Over time, your wishes might change, or there could be new offerings in the market. It’s advisable to review your plan every few years to ensure it still aligns with your wishes.
  9. Legal Documentation: Consider incorporating details of your pre-paid funeral plan in your will or any other legal document. This will provide an additional layer of assurance that your wishes are carried out.
  10. Peace of Mind: By taking these steps, you provide not only clarity and guidance for your loved ones but also ensure financial peace of mind, knowing that the costs are already covered.

Remember, planning your own funeral is a deeply personal decision, and there’s no right or wrong way to do it. It’s about ensuring that your final send-off resonates with your life’s journey and provides comfort and closure to those you leave behind.

Further Insights Into The Funeral Planning Process

Further Insights Into The Funeral Planning Process

How Soon After a Death Should a Funeral Be Held?

The timeline for a funeral often depends on various factors, from religious beliefs to logistical considerations. Typically, in the UK, funerals are held between one and three weeks after the passing. It is however essential to take into account any wishes left by the deceased, the schedules of close family members and friends, and any legal or procedural delays, such as obtaining a death certificate or post-mortem examinations.

Can Funeral Services Be Eco-Friendly?

In an age where environmental concerns are high on the agenda, the desire for green funerals is on the rise. Green burials take place in natural burial grounds, where biodegradable coffins or shrouds are used, allowing the body to decompose naturally. Similarly, eco-cremations focus on reducing emissions and environmental impact. Choosing such options not only pays tribute to your loved one but also to the earth that nurtured them.

What Does A Funeral Director Do?

Funeral directors take on responsibilities from paperwork to orchestrating the ceremony. Their role encompasses logistical planning, liaising with various service providers, offering counsel on decisions, and ensuring the funeral aligns with the other family member’s wishes and the deceased’s preferences. In essence, they bring both expertise and empathy to the table, making the process more manageable.

Why Consider Alternative Funeral Service Providers like Simple Send Offs?

Affordable alternatives like Simple Send Offs stand as a testament to the fact that dignified farewells don’t always come with hefty price tags. Our philosophy of trimming unnecessary costs and funeral bill without compromising on the essence of the ceremony resonates deeply with loved ones and ensures a fitting and dignified farewell without the burden of exorbitant funeral costs.


The journey of saying a final goodbye is full of emotions and decisions and planning a funeral can often seem overwhelming, especially when confronted with choices that have both emotional and financial implications. We hope that this guide has simplified some of the options available to provide clarity as you work through the process of funeral planning. 

In the end, it’s imperative to remember that the real value of a funeral lies not in its grandeur or expense, or order of service, but in its capacity to reflect the life, memories, and spirit of the departed. A well-planned funeral becomes a celebration of the stories, moments, and essence of a loved one to offer solace to those left behind during an emotional time.