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Arranging a funeral can be a big job, but once you’ve made those arrangements it’s important to let friends and family know when and where the service will be held. As well as whether you plan to hold a wake afterwards.

These things often happen at relatively short notice. And it’s common for people to live a long way from the area where the funeral will be held. This means it’s important to share funeral details as soon as you have them. This will give people a chance to make their own travel arrangements and accommodation bookings if necessary.

If you’re wondering how to announce funeral arrangements or you’re looking for the answer to the question “how do you write a funeral notice?”, read on.

What is a funeral notice?

A funeral notice is a notice, or notification, that a funeral will take place. Usually, you’ll have shared the news of your loved one’s death beforehand. So a funeral notice tends to be a follow up message, giving details of the funeral arrangements once they’ve been made.

Do you need a funeral notice, death notice or obituary?

There are a number of different ways to share information with friends and family when a loved one dies. The one, or ones, you choose will depend on what you want your message to be.

death notice is a short statement letting people know that a person has passed away. It tends to be shared fairly quickly after the event, and to provide only basic information, for example full name, date and place of birth, date and place of death. It might also mention surviving family members. Where details of the funeral are known, they may be included in the death notice, but it is more common to put out a funeral notice separately once arrangements have been made.

An obituary, tends to be longer and more personal. It can have stories and details about the person who’s died. That could include particular roles they held while they were alive or anything that happened to them that is worth a special mention. It can often be used as a way to celebrate the life of a loved one and share how proud you were of them and how loved they were. Again, a funeral notice can be included as part of an obituary if details are known at the time you wish to publish it.

How to write a funeral notice in the UK

When it comes to how to word a funeral announcement or funeral notice, there is a pattern that’s usually followed.

You should make sure your funeral notice includes the name of the person, usually along with their dates of birth and death.

Depending on whether you’ve already published a death notice or obituary, you may also wish to include a brief explanation of their cause of death. Often, people choose to use the phrase, “passed away after a short illness,” or “died at home after bravely fighting a long-term illness” if appropriate. How much or how little you wish to share is completely up to you and will often depend on the circumstances surrounding the death.

Next, include details of the funeral you’ve arranged. Where will it take place? Will you hold a service followed by a committal at a crematorium? Or have you arranged a church service followed by a burial? Explain whether the funeral is open to close family and friends or if everyone is welcome.

Finish with details of the wake if you’ve decided to have one, and let guests know whether you’ll be accepting gifts and flowers or if donations are preferred. It’s very common these days for the family to say, “family flowers only please, donations to X charity,” and then choose a charity that either helped their loved one, or that they were particularly close to during their life.

In summary, make sure you cover these 4 points in your funeral announcement:

  • Full name of the person who has died
  • Where and when the funeral will be held
  • Explain whether the funeral is limited to close friends and family only or if all guests are welcome
  • Let people know whether you are accepting flowers and gifts or if charity donations are preferred.

Funeral notice example

Don’t worry too much about how to write a funeral notice for your loved one. It can be as simple and straightforward as this:

"In Loving Memory

[Full name]
[date of birth] - [date of death]

Please join us in remembering and honouring the life of [name]. A service will be held at [location] on [date] at [time]. Followed by a reception at [location]. Family flowers only please."

How to announce a funeral so people see it

There are lots of options when it comes to sharing your funeral notice. Traditionally you would place your notice in a local newspaper. In fact, many people still do. If you find the website of the paper in your loved one’s local area, you’ll be able to search for details on how to upload and pay for your notice.

Nowadays it’s also common to share your message on social media or on a dedicated website in the hope that family and friends will see it and pass word amongst themselves.

How do you write a funeral announcement if there’s someone you don’t want to invite?

Can you really stop someone attending a funeral? It can be awkward to send out a funeral notice when there’s someone you really don’t want to attend. As funerals are conducted in public places there’s really no legal way to stop someone attending if they know of the arrangements, particularly if they’re published in the press.

If you’re aware that your loved one didn’t want someone, or a number of people, to attend, there are several ways you can approach the situation.

Depending on the circumstances, it may be easier to choose not to publish a funeral notice. Legally there’s no need to. You can instead invite those who your loved one wanted to be there, individually. The risk here is that someone is missed or left out.

If you wish to publish a death notice or obituary in this case, consider saying “funeral by invitation only.” This will give those who may not be known to you the opportunity to get in touch if they wish to attend but fear they may miss out on an invite.

Most importantly, make sure your chosen funeral director is aware of what’s going on so they can help you to manage it discretely and professionally.

We have lots more advice on how to handle stopping someone attending a funeral in our guide.

Ask your funeral director for support if you need it

If working out how to announce the funeral details feels simply too much, ask your local funeral director to help you. They have experience in writing funeral notices. And will know how to approach local newspapers for publication in local media. They’ll quickly be able to offer advice about how to word a funeral announcement, as well as where to publish it to make sure the details get to as many people as possible who’d want to attend.

Either way, don’t worry too much. The wording of your funeral notice is not the most important thing, as long as you make sure the details are correct.

Photo by MART PRODUCTION on Pexels.