A guide to planning a non-religious funeral service

If you’re organising a funeral but don’t want it to be religious, you’ll find plenty of options for the service you want. In fact, more and more people in the UK are choosing to have a non-religious funeral. We’ve put together this guide to help you understand your choices.

What is a non-religious funeral?

A non-religious funeral, sometimes called a secular funeral, is a type of funeral service without any religious elements. The service doesn’t  include any scripture readings or hymns, and it won’t take place in a church, mosque or other religious building. Instead, you’ll have the opportunity to share special memories, music, poems and readings, which make the ceremony completely centred around the person who has died.

A non-religious funeral can take place anywhere and be conducted by anyone too. As there are so many options to choose from, you may find it helpful to talk to a local funeral director about all your ideas, so they can help to arrange the service you want.

Types of non-religious funeral

In the UK, there are several different types of non-religious funeral, depending on your beliefs and the type of service you’d like. You can learn more about them by clicking the links below:

Ideas for planning a non-religious funeral service

With so many ways to personalise a non-religious funeral for your loved one, it can be hard to know where to begin with planning some ideas. We’ve collated some inspiration below for music, readings and poems which could be included in a non-religious ceremony. However, we encourage you to think about the person you have lost and what they loved, such as their favourite song or poem, to make sure the service you are planning is meaningful to them.

Non-religious funeral music

Songs have a unique way of evoking a certain time in our lives, or memories with loved ones. Choosing a song which has fond memories of your loved one attached to it is a wonderful way to celebrate their life at a funeral. Some popular choices of songs for secular funeral music include:

Non-religious funeral readings

An extract from your loved one’s favourite book is another wonderful way to celebrate them when you’re struggling to find the words to say how you feel. These are some examples of excerpts from novels which you could read during the service.

Non-religious funeral poems

Similar to readings from novels, poems can help you to put into words the complex emotions that come with losing someone. You could of course write your own, or read one of your loved one’s favourite poems. If you’re struggling to know where to begin with finding a suitable poem, these are some of our recommendations.


Are you planning a non-religious funeral and looking for the support of a funeral director local to you? Our free search tool allows you to compare prices and contact funeral directors easily. For more advice on organising a ceremony, you can find more useful insights on funeral planning here.