Saying goodbye in your own special way
You are free to choose a venue for a wedding, so why can’t you do the same for a funeral? Actually, you can, and exercising that choice can make for a truly special and intimate day.
While most funerals are currently held in religious places or cemeteries and crematoriums, you can push the boat out – quite literally in the case of sea-going ceremonies – and hold a service with the body present just about anywhere.
There are no legal restrictions on where a funeral can be held (as long as you have the permission of the owner of the site) but you do have to bear a few practical considerations in mind.
It should be somewhere private, where the public won’t barge in unexpectedly, and also open-minded, so you’ll receive a warm and friendly welcome. A place where the coffin can be safely carried, and which is suited to hosting guests.
It could be a home, garden, a grand building, or a room in a favourite pub. It could be on water, at a beauty spot or in a forest. These inspirational venues will show you that really anything is possible.
Burial at Sea
The sea means so much to so many different people, from sailing fanatics to those who enjoy the meditative joy of a coastal walk. So it is no wonder that the appeal of being buried at sea is growing. Based in Hampshire, Burials at sea pledges to handle every aspect of a maritime farewell. The boat departs from the south coast for the burial site three miles south of The Needles, off the Isle of Wight.
Natural Burial Grounds
From woodland sites to farm land, there are more than 270 natural burial sites in the UK, according to the Natural Death Centre, whose members are bound by a code of conduct. One of our West Country favourites is Atlantic Rest close to the Cornish coast near Bude, where the burial field is at the top of a beautiful South-facing valley with a glimpse of the sea. Personal preference may take you elsewhere – a bluebell wood perhaps, a sunny glade or deep in a whispering wood.
A Stunning Venue
Wedding venues aren’t just for marriage celebrations – they can also be the perfect backdrop to celebrations of a life wonderfully lived. Take Le Gothique on London’s Wandsworth Common. This beautiful building is perhaps more commonly used to hosting marriages – and that makes it the fitting choice for a stylish farewell. Amid its high-gothic Victorian splendour, its own celebrant conducts ceremonies, and liaises with local crematoriums. For other venues more traditionally used for weddings, you can enquire about funerals, checking firstly that they’d be open to having the body brought into the building.
Down to Earth
For something different, simple, serene and intimate, a service at a stone barrow may fit. Sacred Stones (see main image) have two sites where the ashes of loved ones are kept in individual niches in a beautiful round or long barrow. Personalised services can be held at the barrows, from an intimate family picnic to something more formal.
Home Sweet Home
The right choice for some is to hold the funeral at their home. Within their own four walls, where lives have been lived and memories created, is the ‘just right’ way to do things. Surrounded by familiar objects and family photographs, a funeral takes on an intimate and special feeling. A gazebo or marquee in the garden can provide extra space and protection from the weather. Companies like Inside Outside not only supply the marquee but will also liaise with other suppliers to take some of the pressure off you. A funeral director can help you navigate the process and discuss the burial or cremation that follows.
In a Yurt
To take a natural burial to the next level, the farewell service can be held with only a sturdy layer of canvas between guests and the outside world – a fitting funeral perhaps for those who’ve loved the outdoor life. One company, Dorset-based Full Circle Yurts, is an extension of a long-established willow coffin company, Cradle to Grave.
And if you’ve come across any interesting or unusual funeral locations, we would love to hear from you. Please email us at [email protected]