An introduction to humanist and non-religious funeral ceremonies

By celebrating the life and legacy of a departed person, while ensuring a dignified farewell, a non-religious funeral can offer family and friends the opportunity to create a unique and personal ceremony. Here are some of the key areas to understand when making a decision:

Where are humanist or non-religious funeral ceremonies held?

A humanist or non-religious funeral is a very personal ceremony held to remember the person who has passed away and say a final goodbye. You can hold the ceremony anywhere you like, although most are conducted at cemeteries, crematoriums or outdoor burial sites.

Who conducts a humanist or non-religious funeral ceremony?

A celebrant, who will work closely with you to create a personal ceremony. During meetings with key family members, a celebrant will find out about the person who has died and the kind of funeral they wished to have. This will enable the celebrant to write a script that is crafted to the individual. Talk to one of our funeral directors who will help you find a qualified celebrant who is available in your area.

What happens at a humanist or non-religious funeral ceremony?

As a personal alternative to a religious or faith-based ceremony, perhaps the most important part of a humanist ceremony is where the celebrant and/or family members and friends pay tribute to the deceased. This is followed by time for reflection before the committal – where the curtains are closed or the coffin lowered – and final words of thanks as the funeral comes to a close.

The ceremony can include music, poetry and readings that have been chosen by family and friends. Humanist funerals will generally not include hymns or prayers, or readings referring to religion, but this can be discussed in more detail with the celebrant. You might already have something in mind, or you can ask your celebrant to make suggestions.

Do you have to be a humanist to have a non-religious funeral ceremony?

No. Your loved one might have described themselves as ‘humanist’, but in fact non-religious funeral ceremonies are for anyone who lived their lives without religion. The deceased might not have believed in God, and could therefore feel that a religious service would be inappropriate. In addition, you might feel that a non-religious ceremony more accurately reflects the outlook of the person.

In addition, people of all faiths are welcome at a non-religious funeral ceremony. The emphasis is on celebrating a person’s life, and the celebrant will always ensure that everyone present feels comfortable.

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Funeral Director fees

The price quoted contains the Funeral Director fees for a simple funeral. This includes:

  • Funeral Director fees for meetings, paperwork and running the funeral
  • Collection of the deceased and care prior to funeral
  • Hearse or appropriate vehicle for transport to the funeral
  • Basic coffin

The Funeral Director fees quoted do not include third party costs (often called disbursements). The Funeral Director will guide you through your options. These costs are:

  • Cremation or burial fees
  • Medical certificate for cremation
  • Clergy or officiant fee for conducting the ceremony

In addition to the disbursements you may want to discuss optional costs with your Funeral Director - these could include:

  • Funeral flowers
  • Memorial (venue hire, catering etc)
  • Memorial headstone
  • Orders of service

What is a Direct Cremation?

A Direct Cremation is an alternative to the traditional funeral. This involves the cremation of the deceased without a funeral service. A Direct Cremation is generally the most economic option because costs of the coffin, preparation of the body, funeral service and expensive transportation are not included. However, many people choose Direct Cremations for reasons other than expense, for example:

  • - Wanting to have a memorial at a different time to the cremation
  • - Expressed desire from the deceased to not have a ceremony
  • - Individuals with relatives who face big physical or geographical challenges in coming together for a ceremony

The prices quoted for Direct Cremations include:

  • All charges, meetings and paperwork for the cremation
  • Collection of deceased and care prior to cremation
  • A simple coffin and urn for the ashes
  • Cremation fees and delivery of ashes to the family

Why is this price Estimated?

We work hard to ensure the Funeral Director Fees we display are accurate and up to date. However, unlike with our partners, we cannot guarantee this price is correct today.


Funeral Choice charity donation

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