Explore the most commonly asked questions about funerals: how much they cost, the different types of funeral, and what's the process of arranging a funeral.

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“The following are a selection of the most commonly asked questions asked here at Memoria Funerals. While these won’t cover everything, it’s a useful starting point and should provide some help to those that need it.”

Written by Kirsty Lowther, Operations Director, Memoria Funerals

How much is a funeral and what’s included?


‘Unattended’ funerals – sometimes known as a ‘Direct Cremation’ – start from around £1,000. ‘Attended’ funerals – some people call them ‘Traditional’ or ‘Standard’ funerals – can start from somewhere in the region of £1,500 and above. 

Those are just rough figures, as a funeral can be anything in between – and more – so it’s important to ask the funeral director as many questions as possible, to help you create the most appropriate and fitting funeral for your loved one.

What are the different types of funeral?


Direct Cremation and a Standard funeral are two distinct options for caring for your loved one. There are some key differences, listed below.

Direct cremations

  • these involve the immediate cremation of the deceased without a funeral service or viewing. The body is typically cremated shortly after death, often within five to seven days, and without any formal ceremony or anyone attending the crematorium.
  • generally less expensive than a Standard funeral because it eliminates many of the traditional funeral-related costs, such as embalming, a coffin, funeral service fees, and cemetery expenses.
  • don’t include a formal funeral service, but families may choose to hold a separate memorial service or celebration of life at a later time.
  • can be arranged relatively quickly after death since they don’t involve the planning and coordination of a traditional funeral service.
  • while there's typically no formal funeral service, families have the option to personalise the memorialisation process through a separate memorial service or celebration of life event.

Standard funerals

  • these typically involve embalming the body, a viewing or visitation for family and friends to pay their respects, a funeral service (which may be religious or secular), and then burial or cremation after the service.
  • can be more costly due to the additional services involved, such as embalming, a coffin, funeral home fees, transportation, cemetery fees, and other related expenses.
  • often include a formal funeral service with opportunities for family and friends to share memories and pay tribute to the deceased. The burial or placement of the cremated remains may also involve a formal ceremony.
  • usually require more time to plan and coordinate, as it involves various elements such as embalming, viewing, funeral service, and burial or cremation arrangements. Sometimes, it can take up to two weeks to arrange a date, or longer at busy times such as Christmas and New Year. 
  • provide more opportunities for personalisation, including the selection of a coffin, music, readings, eulogies, and other elements of the funeral service.

Ultimately, the choice between a ‘Direct’ cremation and a ‘Standard’ funeral often depends on personal preferences, cultural or religious beliefs, budget, and the wishes of the deceased and their family.

Who would we deal with at the funeral directors?


While in smaller funeral businesses you might liaise with the same person throughout the process, typically you’re more likely to deal with number of specific professionals who are trained to take care of key parts of the funeral. 

Initially, you will have a designated point of contact when discussing your requirements. They would agree with you what is possible with the budget you wish to spend. 

Once the invoice has been issued and settled, you will be assigned to a dedicated Funeral Arranger. They will oversee all arrangements from that point onward. This Arranger will remain available to assist you not only during the funeral preparations but also afterwards, providing continued support and guidance on such things a bereavement support and how to go about settling the deceased’s estate.

Can we choose our own music at the funeral?


Absolutely. Your funeral director can help you by ordering your chosen music for you – you’d just need to provide them with the artist and title of the songs you want to include in the service.

Who looks after the body of the person who's died?


No matter which funeral directors you use, the deceased is always attended to with the highest level of dignity and reverence.

Where will the deceased be kept until the funeral?


The deceased individual is cared for by the funeral directors, or in the case of Memoria, sometimes their partners – depending on where the deceased is located. This information is consistently communicated to the family throughout the process.

What is embalming? Does it always happen?


Embalming is a process that involves the preservation of a deceased person's body through the use of chemicals and techniques to slow down mother nature. Embalming can also involve cosmetic procedures to restore a natural appearance. 

It’s important to note that embalming is not mandatory and doesn't happen in all cases. It depends on various factors, including cultural or religious beliefs, legal requirements, the preferences of the deceased or their family, and the type of funeral or memorial service planned. 

In some cases, embalming is required by law, such as when transporting a body internationally, or when there's a significant delay between death and the funeral or viewing. 

However, in many cases, embalming is optional, and families can choose alternatives such as refrigeration or Direct cremation without embalming.

Where and when can we come to visit?


You would usually be given the option for visitation when you choose an attended service. This can be arranged after the funeral directors have taken your loved one into our care and received all necessary paperwork. 

Visitation typically takes place in a chapel of rest, and the details can be discussed during the arrangement process.

What is an obituary notice and what is included?


Most, if not all, funeral directors include an obituary service to their clients. It might include a personalised tribute, either online, or print, created and managed by your Arranger on your behalf. 

This tribute allows your extended family and friends to share messages of condolence, light virtual candles in memory, provide details of the service location if applicable, and contribute photos and videos.

Can we look after our loved one's body at home?


It's understandable that you may wish to consider this option during such a sensitive time. In many cultures and traditions, keeping the deceased at home until the funeral can offer a sense of comfort and connection for loved ones.

If you’d prefer to keep your loved one at home, talk to your funeral director or the Arranger who is helping with the arrangements. They will be able to provide guidance on the feasibility and practicality of keeping the deceased at home until the funeral, taking into account factors such as local regulations, cultural practices, and logistical considerations.

Ultimately, the decision to keep the deceased at home until the funeral will depend on various factors, including personal preferences, cultural norms, and practical considerations. The funeral director or Arranger will work closely with you to understand your wishes and provide support and guidance throughout the process.

Can I ask for an estimate of the costs?


Of course - and this should be standard procedure for funeral directors. Once they have your requirements, they should promptly prepare a detailed estimate of the costs involved. It's usually good practice to get more than one quote, to compare services and prices.

Can we have a specific time for Direct Cremation?


It’s usually not possible to offer a precise time for a Direct cremation. However, the funeral directors can typically give you a date and a general time frame, which often falls between 8am to 11am.

Can our family and friends carry the coffin?


Yes they can. However, funeral directors do have a team available on the day of the funeral. Emotions can be intense, so you’ll be supported to ensure everything proceeds smoothly.

Find more information on Memoria Funerals on their website.

Memoria Funerals' commonly asked questions about arranging a funeral

Memoria's mission: to provide exceptional standards of service, facility and products to bereaved families.