DIY Funerals Planning Guide + 6 Funeral Arrangement Ideas

In this post we hope to provide you with some do it yourself Funeral Arrangement Ideas; and our Guide To Planning DIY Funerals in the UK. Wondering if you can make your own funeral arrangements without a funeral director? Yes you can! Read on to find out how…

In the UK there is no legal requirement to use a funeral director to plan a funeral. You are the funeral director! Though many funerals are planned and arranged by using a funeral director; arranging a DIY funeral is possible yourself (with the help of this ‘how to’ guide).

Guide To Planning DIY Funerals in the UK

We have put together this free guide to making your own Do It Yourself funeral arrangements; which also includes a few great funeral arrangement ideas and tips on what you need to buy a coffin. After reading this post, you should have a good idea about how you can plan and organise; everything you need for a funeral in the UK.

6 DIY Funeral Arrangement Ideas + Guide To Planning Your Own Do It Yourself Funerals In The UK

Taking Care of a Loved One After Death

If a person dies in a hospital or hospice, they will keep and take care of the body; for a reasonable amount of time. They will also usually help to arrange a medical certificate with the cause of death.

Funeral Care Using A Funeral Director

If a person dies at home, don’t feel rushed to call a funeral director. Take time to review your options and choices.

You may decide that you want the funeral directors full services; or a good professional will be happy to simply transport and care for the deceased. Leaving you the space to make funeral arrangements and plans yourself.

DIY Funeral Care Without Funeral Directors

As long as the death has not been referred to the coroner; you can care for a loved one’s body at home. However, you must call a doctor or ambulance in order to get a medical certificate.

Providing you keep the body cool, a loved one can be kept at home for around a week. Reusable gel ice packs are a common way to do this with minimal expense. To ‘lay out the body‘, some specific procedures are needed; you may wish to get some professional help or advice.

Registering A Person’s Death

Next you must register the death within 5 days. Besides arranging a coffin, it is not possible to make further arrangements until you have the death certificate.

Once you have registered the death, you will receive a certificate for burial or cremation; known as a “Green Form”. You will need this to book a crematorium or cemetery.

Choosing The Perfect Coffin For DIY Funerals

The next thing to do is purchase a coffin. Using a coffin is not a legal requirement; in theory a basic (or fancy) coffin or shroud is sufficient. However, the latter is fairly uncommon in the UK.

Order The Right Size Coffin

Your maker / supplier will need the measurements of the body, in order to size the coffin correctly. If the deceased were being cared for at a hospital or hospice mortuary, you can ask the staff for measurements; this is common practice and they are used to doing it. If a loved one is at home you can take the measurements yourself; while liaising with your coffin supplier and getting the coffin sizing right.

Ordering A Coffin Online

Online suppliers are usually a deal cheaper than a funeral director; though you should beware of sub-standard, imported products. English made natural willow coffins and wicker basket caskets are generally of excellent quality; they are also highly recommended as a safe choice.

Organisations such as the Good Funeral Guide (Guild) and the Natural Death Centre; have lists of recommended suppliers (including Sussex Willow Coffins).

Be aware that many crematoria will require certified coffins; by either the FFMA or CCSA to conform with their cremation process.

DIY Funerals: Cremation Options

When it comes to cremation, there are two options; to have a ceremony at the crematorium or you may choose a direct cremation.

How To Book A Cremation

To book a cremation you will need to fill in a form at the crematorium or send it remotely. This form is generally known as the ‘Authority for the disposal of cremated remains’; you will also be asked to fill in a ‘Funeral Instructions Form’. This will specify the details of the person who has died and your preferred timings.

What is Direct Cremation?

At a direct cremation no ceremony is held at the crematorium; and the body is passed straight to the back of the crematorium. You may be able to witness the charging process by arrangement with the crematorium. After a direct cremation you may wish hold a ceremony with the ashes; at a time and location of your choice.

This would also be the option to choose, if you wish to have a cremation without a funeral service. Incidentally this could be the cheapest funeral available in the UK.

DIY Funerals: Burial Options

If you wish to arrange a burial, the first thing to consider is where to be buried. Would you prefer a churchyard, traditional cemetery or a woodland (green) burial? Each have their own merits. Your choice will likely be influenced by your loved ones beliefs and lifestyle; and your own values. Read this other post for some help in deciding over a traditional funeral, natural burial or cremation.

Regardless of your choice and options; you will need to give the burial ground some specifics about your funeral plans. These are as follows:

  • a copy of the death certificate
  • a plot application form
  • your preferences for time and date of the burial
  • the external dimensions of the coffin.

TOP TIP: Arranging a memorial / headstone can be done at a later date; and is not a prerequisite for arranging the burial.

Planning A DIY Funeral Memorial Ceremony

Whether at the crematorium, burial ground or at your own choice of location; you will need to plan the ceremony if you wish to have one. Of great help in these matters are Independent Funeral Celebrants.

These are funeral professionals, who are not tied to any particular funeral directors; their job it is to help guide you through making a meaningful ceremony. An authoritative directory of celebrants can be found at the Association of Independent Celebrants.

6 DIY Funeral Arrangement Ideas

You should also think about other aspects of your memorial service. Here are a few funeral arrangement ideas, of things you can do yourself for the funeral ceremony:

  1. DIY Funeral Flowers
  2. Order of Service
  3. DIY Prayer Cards
  4. Flower Keepsakes
  5. Guest Book
  6. DIY Funeral Favours

DIY Funeral Flower Arrangement Ideas

Take a look at our gallery page to get some ideas and inspiration; on your DIY flower arrangements for funerals.

Here is a selection of videos showing some ideas for DIY funeral flowers:

Can You Transport A Deceased Body Yourself?

You will need to arrange transport of the body to the crematorium or cemetery. You do not need a hearse to transport a body, any vehicle with sufficient space in it can be used.

Often an estate car is sufficient or a van. It is important that the coffin will fit easily in the vehicle; so do check the external measurements of the coffin with your supplier or maker.

Guide To Planning DIY Funerals & Funeral Arrangement Ideas

We hope this short guide has been helpful in outlining the process of planning a funeral; and given you some useful funeral arrangement ideas and ways to reduce your funeral cost. We can tell you, as coffin makers; that arranging the funeral for your loved one can be a hugely rewarding task.

We have supported many families through the process; and been honoured to supply a Natural Willow Coffin or Wicker Basket Casket. To add something special to the occasion.

Download Guide To Planning DIY Funerals

DIY Funeral Planning GuideDOWNLOAD FREE GUIDE: Here is where you can get our free guide as a PDF. Keep and refer back to it when you need some funeral arrangement ideas; if you are planning and arranging a family organised funeral in the UK.

In our DIY funerals planning guide you will find useful advice and information about:

  • Do It Yourself Funeral Care
  • Registering A Person’s Death
  • Ordering The Right Size Coffin
  • Funeral Arrangement Ideas
  • Cremation & Burial Options
  • Transporting The Body

…and much more.