Pre-planning Your Own Funeral

funerals: planning your own humanist funeral

As we are becoming more willing to talk about death and more open about the process of dying, many of us are pre-planning our own funeral ceremony. It might be that you know that the end of your life is in sight. Maybe it’s just something that you are thinking of for the future. Perhaps you don’t know where to start. Or do you already have some ideas but would like an experienced celebrant to help you to pull them together?  I can help with all these aspects of pre-planning your humanist funeral.

I can support you by:

  • Helping you to think about what is important to you. What are the values and principles that you hope will influence the way people remember you after your death?
  • Advising you on how to put together your ceremony, who to inform, how this links into the funeral arrangements etc;
  • Drafting your ceremony script in full if you want.  Or I can you plan the structure; or just documenting the things that you want to be included.  This might include specific poems or music.  Perhaps you want to specify who to involve in telling the story of your life directly, through anecdotes or recollections or tributes
  • Helping you to have discussions with your friends and family, or other people important to you, about your wishes
  • Helping you to think about other preparations you might want to make: such as Advanced Wishes, Power of Attorney or Wills

Humanists UK has a repository in which scripts can be stored, so they can be made available when needed, even if I am no longer around.

Things I am not able to do:

I’m not able to commit to being available to conduct your funeral when the time comes. This may seem self-evident, but is worth clarifying from the outset. Obviously, if you know you are dying, then you can insist the ceremony is arranged around my availability. Otherwise, neither of us know when you will need my services, so we won’t know whether I will be available (or even alive myself). However, by documenting your wishes, whoever does take over the responsibility of conducting your ceremony will have this information about your choices to work from.

I’m not able to arrange the whole funeral. This will need to be done by your family and/or friends: either independently, or with the assistance of a Funeral Director (if your family decide to use one). What I can and do offer is to help you make the ceremony part of the funeral the best, most appropriate and most personal that we can create.

I’m not able to guarantee that your funeral ceremony wishes will be carried out. This will be in the hands of the family members and/or friends who are in charge of arranging your funeral.

How much will I charge you?

For people who know they are approaching the end of their life and want me to conduct their ceremony, then I will not charge for the pre-preparation, but will simply charge my usual ceremony fee at the time of the funeral.

Otherwise, the fee for pre-planning your humanist funeral ceremony will depend on what support you would like from me. Examples of what I may charge are below but these are negotiable:

  • Having an initial discussion about the service I offer – free of charge
  • A single visit with me taking notes which I then share with you – £50
  • Writing a draft ceremony – £125 (or £75 if I have already charged you for a note-taking session)
  • Delivering the funeral from the above script – £125

Depending on your location, I may have to add travel costs to the above.

More information

You might also want to look at the page on pre-planned funerals on the Humanists UK website:

What they said:

“Felicity is kind, caring, professional and knowledgeable. She met with my sister before her death and took great care to reflect my sister’s life according to her beliefs. She was also able to capture an essence of my sister’s personality portrayed her life in an engaging and heartfelt manner. I will certainly contact Felicity again in future.” (Suzie’s Ceremony, Eridge, Kent)