What to expect at a funeral arrangement

Lavender potted plants in a funeral home.

If you’ve never arranged a funeral before, having your first appointment at the funeral home may feel daunting. We want to make you feel as comfortable as possible when meeting with us to make the funeral arrangements.

Although lockdown restrictions have eased, we still need to follow social distancing guidelines to keep you and our colleagues safe in our funeral homes. We can only allow 2 clients inside the funeral home at any one time, both for appointments and visits to the chapel of rest. We may ask you to wait outside if there are already 2 people in the funeral home.

So that we can limit the number of people visiting our funeral homes at any one time, please call or email your local funeral home to book an appointment.

When you book your appointment, you’ll be given a date and time, as well as the name of who you’ll be meeting with.

If you choose to meet with us in one of our funeral homes, you’ll be welcomed by one of our funeral arrangers or funeral directors. We want you to feel as comfortable as possible, so feel free to bring along a family member or a friend if you’d like.

There is no such thing as a normal funeral arrangement, you can take as much or as little time as you need, and don’t worry if you can’t make all of the decisions straight away, your funeral director will be able to guide you through everything you’ll need to think about, decide and do.

What will I need to bring with me?

If you have registered the death you'll need to bring to your funeral appointment the Certificate for Burial or Cremation, or in Scotland, a white Certificate of Registration of Death that you were given by the local registrar. If you haven’t registered the death before your appointment, don’t worry, the funeral director will guide you through what to do.

If you know you want your loved one to be wearing certain items of clothing, then you can bring these with you.

If the person who has died held a funeral plan with us, you can bring the funeral plan certificate with you. If you can’t find it, don’t worry, we’ll get in touch with our funeral plan office who’ll be able to locate this for you.

What will happen in the funeral arrangement?

In the funeral arrangement your funeral director or arranger will want to know what your loved one was like, what their interests were, so that we can make suggestions on how to make the funeral most fitting to the life they lived. We understand that people grieve in different ways, so it's normal to go through a range of emotions in the arrangement.

We’ll talk you through your options such as what flowers you’d like, eulogies, order of service or what music you want to be played during the service.

We’ll be caring for your loved one either at the funeral home or at one of our specialist facilities where they’ll receive the best possible care. If you choose to visit your loved one before the funeral, we can talk you through when is best and what to expect.

At the end of the arrangement you’ll receive an estimate of how much your chosen funeral will cost, but cost will be discussed throughout the appointment. If you feel like things are getting too expensive, we can tailor the funeral to keep costs down. We have a responsibility to be transparent with our prices, including third party costs, and have open and honest conversations with families about money and affordable options.

During the arrangement you may wish to discuss memorials; headstones, urns and keepsakes and memorial jewellery.

Will I have to pay anything upfront?

You will need to pay a minimum of 50% of the total estimated funeral cost within 48 hours of making the funeral arrangements. You can pay at the funeral home, at a bank or the post office, by cash, credit or debit card. For a Direct Cremation or Direct Burial you’ll need to pay in full within two working days from making the arrangement.

Will I have to know everything I need for the funeral before the arrangement?

It’s good to know what sort of funeral your loved one would have wanted, and if you have a budget in mind. Your funeral director can talk you through what options are available to suit your needs and your budget. Read more about our funeral services.

You don’t have to make all the decisions on all aspects on the funeral at the arrangement, your funeral director will give you time and guide you through when decisions need to be made.

We’ll work with you and the other people involved in the funeral (church/crematorium, ministers etc) to ensure the service is held at a date and time suited to your needs. Kindly note that the Essential Funeral has some restrictions so if you choose this option you won’t have any choice in date or time of the funeral. Your funeral director will discuss this with you in more detail.