Advice Funeral Planning How to Have a Non-Religious Funeral

How to Have a Non-Religious Funeral

A non-religious funeral allows you to celebrate a person’s life according to their beliefs, whilst also giving those mourning the opportunity to express their emotions in a supported environment. People can come together as a group, support one another, share grief, and find meaning and solace as a group. 

Suitable non-religious funeral venues:

  • Crematorium
  • Outdoors, in a field or woodland area
  • Community spaces
  • Historical buildings
  • Woodland burial sites

Usually it is best to start with the crematorium or burial site, and then to locate a nearby venue. Often local village halls may be able to provide space.

The service

The content of your loved one’s service is up to you - or if your loved one left funeral wishes you may want to follow them for guidance. You might want to pick music that fits the tone of the ceremony and that would represent them. Including readings and quotes from their favourite books or poetry is also a good idea. Asking family members or friends to participate with readings or sharing memories is a great way of making the service more personal to the deceased and their life. 

It is important to note that not all cemeteries are of one faith - some burial grounds serve the community and cater to all faiths and beliefs. Additionally, woodland burial plots are not typically for a specific religion and are special places to visit to remember your beloved. If you are going to go for a woodland burial be sure to check for any coffin type restrictions - often you must use ones made from biodegradable materials.

What is the alternative to a vicar or priest?

Celebrants conduct religious and non-religious funerals and you should research different celebrants to find the one who will be able to best represent the life of the recently passed away. Humanist celebrants are able to conduct secular funerals. They will be able to guide you in choosing poems, songs and readings to use that have no religious leanings. In humanist ceremonies, there is more time put aside for talking about the deceased, their life and it is encouraged that people share their memories. These funerals can be personal and can directly reflect the wishes of your loved one. 

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