How to Choose a Funeral Venue

Posted: 06/11/2017

Planning a funeral can be a lengthy, painful process, full of sensitive decision-making. One of the larger decisions to be made, other than form of disposition, guest-list, and speech-writing, is where to hold the funeral. Venues have to be both appropriate and accessible, and are generally desired to have some meaning to the deceased. This can be a hard balance to achieve, especially if you are on a tight budget, but finding the right place for a perfect send-off is totally feasible with the right planning behind it.

The Service

Like weddings, funerals generally comprise of two venues; the venue of the service itself, and the venue of the reception. For religious families, the service will usually be held in a church or another place of worship. For non-religious funerals, the service may be held in an outdoor space (field, wood); a crematorium; a burial site; a private space (one’s home); or rented sites and buildings.

What to Consider When Booking a Service Venue:

  • Is the place meaningful/recognizable to the deceased?
  • Is it easy for friends and family members to get to?
  • Is it relatively private?
  • Is it appropriate for any weather conditions?
  • How much will it cost?

The Reception

Funeral receptions have the scope to be far less formal and more personalized than the service. The purpose of the funeral reception is usually to celebrate the life of the deceased, often hosting food, drinks and music to the guests. Some will opt to host a reception in a more formal setting such as a hotel function room, or a more casual environment like a pub or a bar. Alternatively, you could cut costs and host a reception at home; consider putting up a gazebo in the garden to optimize floor space.

What to Consider When Planning a Funeral Reception:

  • How many guests you are hosting
  • What food and drink you will be providing
  • Music
  • A quiet space for mourners
  • Transport links to and from the place

Number of Guests

Hotel reception rooms are fit for larger parties; whereas smaller groups will be easily accommodated within pub, bar or restaurant function rooms. The size of your group must be the first place to start when planning a funeral reception.

Food and Drink

When it comes to catering, it is easiest to provide canapes and snacks for larger groups rather than a full sit-down meal. A buffet-format is optimal for organizers. Remember to cater for all diets; get guests to RSVP with any requirements before ordering. You can order-in canape dishes here straight to your door, just 48 hours in advance. When it comes to drink, the providing of alcohol is at your discretion, and is usually dependent on the type of funeral you are hosting (often religion-dependent). If you are providing booze, wine is an easy-pleaser; cans of beer may be a little too casual.

Music

Nobody wants to attend a silent funeral reception; the event has the propensity to be uncomfortable enough as it is. Whether or not you are hiring a DJ, make sure you come up with a suitable playlist or music list for the event. If possible, compile a list of the deceased’s favourite songs, or of notable songs released during their life-span, and enlist the help of other guests. This can make for a lovely memory-sharing reception.

A Quiet Space

It is important that there is room for the more-emotional attendees to get some time-out from what can be a very overwhelming experience. Be there an outside bench or small room with chairs away from the bulk of the crowd; it is essential that you optimize guest-comfort by having an area of quiet solace.

Transport Links

It is vital that the reception space is easily accessible for guests. Hire in taxis or minibuses to take the people from the service to the reception as a group. For the guests only joining at the reception, make sure you provide detail as to where they are going (with a map). Make sure the place you choose has good transport links (ideally by train, bus, and taxi), and that all guests are provided with a taxi number should they need it.

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When up-to-scratch on all of the practicalities of choosing the right funeral venue, the whole process should become a lot easier. If you decide to go with a funeral director, they will support you through all of this. With all the fundamentals in place, you can begin to consider the subtleties of the day, such as whether you want to put up photos, play a video, allow for guests to share memories in a memory book, and the like. Throughout the process, if you continually ask yourself, ‘is this decision right for the deceased?’ the actual day will be as good as it can be, ultimately uniting your guests in celebration of their loved one.

The funeral venue is one of the many expenses involved in arranging a funeral which can start to cost thousands of pounds before you know it. We are pleased to offer a variety of prepaid funeral plans to help you offset the cost as early as possible.