Most funeral directors will be happy to take on the organisation of a civil service, leaving you to invite friends and other members of your family to join you and help celebrate a life well lived.
If you are the organiser of the funeral, make an appointment with a local funeral director so you can discuss funeral service preferences with them. Take notes, pic up some brochures, and then go home and discuss your options with your family. Remember, you do not have to go with the first funeral director you visit, or the most local - it is your choice.
Once a date has been set for the funeral, you need to inform as many people as possible. In the past, the accepted practice was to post formal invitations, but today most people email details including date, time, full location address and postcode, dress code if unusual, and details of where to park and any charges should be included. For those without email, you can send a simple form letter giving the details, which saves on the cost of printing invites. You may want to put an announcement in a local newspaper too so colleagues and acquaintances not known to you can come if they wish.
If you want a floral tribute on the coffin and a display at the funeral, your funeral director will be able to arrange this for you. You'll probably need to book this quickly, as florists can get very busy over the summer months for weddings, for example.
Civil funerals can include religious hymns if you wish, although most services include favourite songs either sung live by singers such as our soloists, or played on cd. If speeches and eulogies are to be made by friends and family, make sure details of who is speaking are sent to both the celebrant and the funeral director. An order of service is technically optional, but in our view, every funeral service should have one, as it helps everyone understand and follow the structure of the service, and what's expected of them.
Always bear in mind that a funeral is as much for those left behind as for the deceased. In our minds, it's a celebration of a life that is often both tearful and joyful but never regretful, regardless of your faith or beliefs.