What is a funeral cortège?

A funeral procession taking place.

What is a funeral cortège? How do you organise one? Learn more about funeral cortèges including traditional processions and modern alternatives.

What is a cortège?

A funeral cortège, also known as a funeral procession, is when a group of people or line of vehicles follows a coffin in a hearse. The procession will usually start at the funeral home or the home of the person who died and end at the venue where their funeral service is taking place.

Sometimes a funeral cortège will also go from the funeral service venue to the location of the burial or cremation, if this is different. So it’s possible to have more than one procession for one funeral.

Funeral processions explained

A funeral cortège can be on foot or in vehicles. Or both. Traditionally the procession would take place on foot and the coffin would be carried to its final resting place. But now it’s more likely that the coffin is carried in a hearse and a procession of cars or limousines follows. But the approach you take is up to you. See how you can adapt a funeral procession below to make it more fitting for the person who’s passed away.

A traditional cortège

If the cortège is more traditional and some of the family decide to go on foot the funeral director will usually lead the procession. They’ll do this to make sure that a slow pace is kept by the family as well as the hearse and any other cars that follow. It’s a sign of respect and can be a good way to say goodbye to someone who valued tradition.

A modern cortège

This is likely to be a coffin that’s carried in a hearse and followed by family members and friends in limousines and cars. But you can pare this back if the person who died didn’t want any fuss. It’s up to you whether you include limousines. And a hearse isn’t entirely necessary either. You can decide what’s important and how you want to pay your respects when arranging the funeral.

A personalised cortège

Did you know you can personalise a funeral procession? There’s no need to choose a traditional hearse. You could have a personalised vehicle leading the procession. This could be a motorbike or a classic car. And if the person who died had an interest in classic cars for example, perhaps friends with the same interest could follow the procession in their classic cars too. A funeral cortège can be a personalised tribute to someone with a unique interest.

Are there any traffic laws for funeral processions?

No, there aren’t. But if you do opt for an unusual vehicle to carry the coffin or a procession that’ll significantly slow down traffic you may want to inform the local council or police. Your funeral director should be able to help you with this.

Who’s in the procession at a funeral?

This is up to you. Traditionally the immediate family follow the hearse and other family and friends follow after. But this may change depending on who’s invited and who the immediate family ask to be part of the procession. There’s no right or wrong answer. It’s simply what you think is the right option for your loved one.

Do you have to have a funeral cortège?

No. You don’t have to have one. And there’s no need for a hearse or limousines if that’s not what you want either. Transport and the length of the procession route can add a lot to the total cost of a funeral so you might want to look at this option if you’re working with a budget.

Instead you can ask your funeral director to organise for the coffin to be taken to the funeral service venue ahead of time. This might also be more suitable for someone who didn’t want a lot of fuss at their funeral. Or it might be that you’d rather spend the budget you have for the funeral on flowers, a memorial, or other tributes instead.

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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
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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
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Attended funeral

This is Funeral Choice’s best estimate of this Funeral Director’s fees for an Attended Funeral, which is where family and friends have a ceremony or service for the deceased person at the same time as they attend their burial or cremation.

This price includes the following:

  • Taking care of all necessary legal and administrative arrangements
  • Collecting and transporting the deceased person from the place of death (normally within 15 miles of the funeral director’s premises) into the funeral director’s care
  • Care of the deceased person before the funeral in appropriate facilities.
  • Providing a suitable coffin
  • Optional viewing of the deceased person for family and friends, by appointment with the funeral director
  • At a date and time you agree with the funeral director, taking the deceased person direct to the agreed cemetery or crematorium (normally within 20 miles of the funeral director’s premises) in a hearse or other appropriate vehicle

In addition to the Funeral Director’s fee, there will be third party costs to consider (sometimes called disbursements) to cover the other aspects of a funeral (such as the crematorium or burial fees). Your chosen Funeral Director will be able to provide these for you.

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Unattended funeral

This is Funeral Choice’s best estimate of this Funeral Director’s fees and the crematorium fee for an Unattended Funeral, which is where family and friends may choose to have a ceremony, event or service for the deceased person, but they do not attend the burial or cremation itself. This is also known as a Direct Cremation.

This price includes the following:

  • Funeral Director's fees
  • Crematorium fee (for an unattended funeral) as selected by the Funeral Director

In addition to this fee, there might be additional third party costs to consider (sometimes called disbursements). Your chosen Funeral Director will be able to explain these for you.

If you wish to attend the funeral, you should view the “Attended Funeral” price instead.

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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 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
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Funeral Choice charity donation

To redeem the £20 charity donation all you have to do is select the charity from the dropdown list in the Make Contact form. Once you have confirmed arrangements with that funeral director send us an email to info@yourfuneralchoice.com confirming the service has been arranged. After we receive this email we will make the donation to the chosen charity and confirm back to you.

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