Pre-planned ceremonies and prepaid funeral plans

If you’ve been thinking about getting your affairs in order, you may have been looking into prepaid funeral plans. But did you know that they don’t include recording your wishes as to the content of the ceremony you would like to have? For that, you need a pre-planned funeral ceremony service.

Let’s take a look at the differences between the prepaid funeral plans offered by many funeral directors and the pre-planned funeral ceremony service our celebrants  offer. 

Two women discussing funeral plans

Prepaid funeral plans

A prepaid funeral plan is a way to pay for funeral director’s services in advance. It ensures that relatives don’t need to pay for your funeral.

There are a range of prepaid funeral packages available. Most include:

  • Advice about the certification and registration of the death
  • Collection and transportation of the body to the funeral home
  • Taking care of the body prior to the burial or cremation
  • The coffin chosen by you
  • Arranging a burial, green burial, or cremation as per your instructions

They do not include planning what is said at the ceremony. Planning and delivering non-religious ceremonies is the work of celebrants rather than funeral directors.

Pre-Planned Funeral Ceremony Service

The pre-planned funeral ceremony service allows you to discuss your wishes for your humanist funeral ceremony with a celebrant who will talk you through each aspect of the ceremony and help you decide what you want to include.

In the same way that paying for your funeral in advance removes the stress of costs for your relatives, pre-planning your ceremony service removes the stress of family members trying to guess what you would have wanted in terms of your ceremony.

When someone has left no plans, it becomes the responsibility of close relatives or friends to ‘best guess’ what you would have wanted.

According to the funeral industry journal, Funeral Service Times:

‘Over 382,000 funerals take place each year in the UK where family and friends have guessed at what their loved one would have wanted.’ 

What is a humanist funeral?

Humanist funerals are non-religious ceremonies that are about the person who has died, the life they led, and the relationships they forged. They are based on the humanist values that every life is individual and valuable.

Ceremonies are conducted by humanist celebrants and they are both a celebration of a life and a dignified, personal farewell. They’re the perfect option for people who want a sincere, personal reflection of their life.

Pre-planning discussion

During a discussion about a pre-planned ceremony, our funeral celebrants will talk to you about the format and content of the ceremony you would like to have.

Choose your favourite readings and poems

The discussion will include:

  • Your life story and anecdotes you would like to share
  • Which poems or readings (if any) should be read
  • What music should be played (if any)
  • Who you would like to be involved
  • Dress code (if any)
  • Symbolic acts – such as a tree-planting or the scattering of your ashes

Your wishes will be recorded and securely stored. Any notes or scripts that the celebrant has written will be kept in a secure repository.

The fee the celebrant will charge will reflect the level of service you require, be it an enquiry (free of charge), consultation only, script writing, or if you are looking for a full ceremony delivery.

If the celebrant who worked with you is no longer available to take the ceremony, it can be delivered in exact accordance with your wishes by another member of the Humanist Ceremonies network.

Further information about humanist funerals

Please visit our frequently asked questions page or watch this short video:  A humanist funeral.

Find a celebrant near you

You can find a funeral celebrant who offers the pre-planned service via our map.

Funeral guides

We hope our guides will help you with the funeral planning process — and give you ideas about what you might like to include in a ceremony.

Non-religious funerals

A humanist funeral ceremony is a celebration of life and a personal goodbye.

Unique ceremonies

We're all different and our funerals should be too. Find interesting ways to create a unique ceremony.

Find a funeral celebrant

Your humanist celebrant will write a unique script to honour the life of your loved one.