Where can I hold a funeral service?

Lots of people think they have to go to a crematorium to hold their loved ones funeral service….but do they? 

In 2023 The Old Chapel Etruria, Bespoke funeral venue opened in Stoke on Trent as an alternative to the traditional crematorium chapel.

 

We give families more flexibility and importantly the TIME they need to say goodbye to a loved one.

Outside of The Old Chapel Etruria

But where can you hold a funeral? There is an easy answer to this, pretty much anywhere!

Having been a celebrant for three years, I understand the importance of taking your time and not feeling rushed on the day of your loved ones service. The Old Chapel gives an hour time slot as standard with this being able to be extended at no extra cost. Allowing you to celebrate the life of your loved ones without worrying that the next funeral is waiting outside. This is the first of its kind in the UK that is totally independent. Bring choirs, dogs, guitars, anything you like to celebrate the life of the person you love. As a non-denominal space we welcome all beliefs, religions or people that do not have any beliefs at all. 

However, your person LOVED their garden, why not have the service there? Were they the chairman of the local golf club / motorcycle club / bowling green? Ask them if you can use their space! There is something really special about having a service somewhere meaningful. 

This stops any time barriers you may have at a crematorium chapel. Stafford Crematorium as well as Carmountside and Bradwell Crematorium in Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire, have either a 30 minute or 40 minute ‘slot’ as standard.

Of course this can be extended but there is an additional charge.

This coffin is made using 100% wool that is expertly woven in Yorkshire, from Natural Legacy.

As long as you have permission from the owner of the land/venue and work with your funeral director this can be achieved. It allows you more time, more capacity if you need it for a larger gathering and time if people want to get up, tell a story or share a memory they hold. You can take your time. I once officiated a service at a yoga retreat, the ladies’ coffin was made of wool and it was just beautiful, the sliding doors were opened and the view across the Cheshire Plain was spectacular. During the service there was music, dancing and a champagne toast raised to a life well lived.

Can I have a service at the Funeral Directors premises?

When you watch a tv show or a film, a lot of Funeral Directors in America have a large chapel and their own crematory on site, not something that happens here in the UK. But local Funeral Directors can usually accommodate a small service of a few people in their chapel of rest for a more informal affair, with or without an officiant if this is what you wish.

However some Funeral Directors will have a space dedicated with seating and media installed for music and pictures that you can use to hold a service. The person would usually then be taken for an unattended cremation afterwards

Stuart Love from Love’s Independent Funeral Directors in Stafford has ‘The Woodland Chapel’ on his premises. This can be used as an alternative option to the crematorium and is perfect for smaller services. And over in Congleton, Jo at Three Shires has the ‘Beartown Chapel’ 

Love's Funeral Directors, Stafford
Three Shires Funeral Directors, Congleton

What happens after the funeral if it doesn't take place at the Crematorium?

Well, there will still need to be a cremation or burial of course! With most families deciding on cremation there are a few different options. The family can go to a local crematorium for what’s called a committal. This is a very short service, usually a couple of pieces of music and words of committal spoken by the officiant or family member. This is usually charged at the full price of a service. 

 

Another option is that the person who has died is taken for a direct or unattended cremation after the service. (Some people know this as Pure Cremation, i’ll do another blog on that!) This means there is no family present. 

 

At first this might sound a bit weird, but it is becoming more and more common. Families that I have worked with feel they have said everything they need to say during the service. With the services held at The Old Chapel the family can opt to have teas and coffees while their person is still resting there, if they want to, some write in sharpies on their coffin, draw pictures or leave them a note. When everyone has gone they will then be transported to the crematorium. 

 

Another option is after the service has finished, we take the person back to the hearse outside, everyone gathers round and we give them a round of applause as we wave them off on their final journey. This is a really lovely way of saying goodbye, and the family then go off to the venue for the wake afterwards. 

There are of course some exceptions!

Only a few, firstly you MUST have permission from where you are going and tell them what you’re planning. If you are using the golf club for example, remember to tell them that your person will be brought there in their coffin for the service. They might just think it’s a memorial service and be surprised when a hearse arrives! Same with a beach for example, you would need to speak to the council and check the tides!

Think logistics…

If the venue has a million flights of stairs, or only access to the room is via a small lift, that might not be possible! Also check the width of any doors that may need to be gone through! Is the capacity big enough for the number of people you are expecting and how would you arrange the room for the service? 

 

Ideas of where you can hold a funeral or celebration of life service

  • Golf Club
  • Favourite pub 
  • At home or in the garden 
  • The Theatre
  • Community space 
  • Bowling Club
  • Their favourite place, The Beach, The Park, any outdoor space they loved (remember the top of a mountain may not be the best idea logistically!) 

The funeral service is changing. Funeral Directors and your celebrant are more than happy to help accommodate any requests you may have to make the day go smoothly and be really special. You always have a choice, so chat with your Funeral Director on what you would like for your loved one and they will always try to make it happen for you. 

Kate x