The Different Types of Funeral Services and Burials

Planning a funeral for a loved one can be a difficult time. You want them to be honoured in a way that reflects their life, which means you’ll need to find the right kind of service that best suits them. Fortunately, there are so many different types of funeral service in this day and age, that suit different people, from all walks of life.

We spoke to leading funeral directors in Southend-on-Sea, Stibbards & Sons, about all the different kinds of funeral services that are available. In this post, we’ll explain the different kinds of services available, so you can find the right service for your loved one. From sea burials to green funerals, there’s so many ways you can honour your departed in death, that mirrors their life and experience.

Here are some beautiful service ideas to consider.

  1. Religious

One of the oldest traditions in the UK, under the Church of England, religious services are for those that wish for their service to be within Christian practice. These kinds of services involve blessings, hymns, readings and prayer – in order to honour their passing into eternal life under the eyes of their God. However, Christian ceremonies aren’t the only services available in England.

With Britain being so diverse of different cultures and beliefs, many funeral directors have branched into offering services for other religions and cultures too. In every religion, passing into the afterlife is celebrated and honoured in different ways, and most funeral directors will provide a service that is in line with both religious and cultural beliefs of the deceased and the family. The burial can be within a church’s cemetery, as it is a religious service. If your loved one’s faith was important in their life, consider giving them a religious service.

  1. Humanist

For those that weren’t followers of a faith, there’s Humanist funeral services. This type of service puts no emphasis on any religious aspect associated with ‘traditional’ funeral services. The idea behind this service is the honour the life of the deceased, and celebrate their person, accomplishments and bring everyone in their life together.

These are sometimes referred to as life celebrations, as opposed to funerals, as the emphasis is on celebrating the life of the deceased – rather than their passing into the afterlife. Whilst these aren’t religious ceremonies, the deceased may still be able to be buried in church graveyards and cemeteries, under some conditions. To celebrate the life of a loved one, without the service feeling too religious like, maybe a humanist service is right for your loved one.

  1. Sea Burials

One of the least known types of services, Sea Burials involve the deceased being buried at sea. There are 3 locations across the UK where loved ones can be buried – including Tynemouth (North-East), East Sussex Coast and West of the Isle of Wight. There are two locations off the West Coast of Scotland too.

This burial and service is ideal for loved ones with a passion for the sea. Maybe they served in the Navy or enjoyed sailing, whatever the case, it may be fitting to have their final resting place in the waters they loved. There are government conditions and laws when it comes to sea burials, you can find UK government guidelines here.

  1. Cremation

The service for a cremation can be for both a religious or a humanist funeral and is largely dependent on the wishes of the deceased. It is estimated that 70% of funerals in the UK are cremations, as opposed to burials. Some find that they may wish to have the deceased ashes given to them in an urn, in order for them to be scattered in a location of their choosing. Whilst there have been a few occasions where family and friends have used ashes in creative ways. Such as being turned into tattoo ink, being placed in fireworks and even being turned into jewellery. There are many companies that can take your loved ones remains and turn them into something special.

  1. Green Funerals and Burials

For those that are or were environmentally conscious, you may find that a green or woodland funeral may be ideal for your loved one’s remains. These natural sites solve the issues of cemeteries that are full and avoid the carbon emissions associated with cremation. These burials are slightly different, as the deceased are placed in a biodegradable coffin or shroud, closer to the surface of the ground rather than the standard depth.

This type of burial can be included within a religious or humanist service, which means you can give your loved one the send-off they want, whilst thinking of the environment as well.

Hopefully, this has given you an insight into the many possibilities available for ceremonies and funerals for your departed loved ones. Whilst this is a difficult time, it’s a perfect way to honour them in a way you feel represented their life best.


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