Non-religious funerals are important for those who didn’t conform to a certain religion or who identified as atheists. If you are planning your own funeral or the funeral of a family member and you don’t want it to be religious, there are many ways you can celebrate life without it being based on a particular religion or belief. It is essential for many families to feel like they are honouring the beliefs and wishes of a loved one and non-religious services are a vital part of this for many people. If you are looking for ways to hold a non-religious funeral service, we’re here to help. Here is our guide to non-religious funeral services.
In most religions, there are many ways to honour the deceased and certain rituals that allow you to grieve and remember them. However, these are not applicable to people who do not hold religious beliefs and they can be disrespectful. It’s important to find a fitting way to remember a loved one who has passed and say goodbye in a way they would have liked. A non-religious funeral is simply a way to hold a funeral service that is not tied to traditions, rituals or beliefs of any particular religion. It can use many of the same elements such as eulogies and non-religious funeral readings. It is the best way for those mourning to express their grief and offer condolences to the family.
Attending a non-religious funeral isn’t hugely different to attending a religious one. While the service may differ from many other funerals, the feelings are still the same. Guests should still arrive wearing respectful clothing, typically black but may differ depending on the dress code chosen by the family. Some non-religious funerals may take a more celebratory nature where the deceased person’s life is remembered with joy and fondness. It can play music that the loved one used to enjoy which can often be non-traditional.
There is a typical format that a non-religious funeral may choose to follow. This may involve an opening statement, stories from friends and family, a eulogy from a respected member of the community, a moment of silence or meditation and some music. Most non-religious funerals will involve readings to offer friends and family a way to remember their loved ones and talk about what they remember about them. Overall, funerals are simply a way to allow loved ones to mourn and comfort others, a time to come together and share their love for the passed friend or family member. Non-religious readings may come from famous works of prose or poetry or something they have written themselves. All these aspects will bring everyone together. If the deceased person didn’t follow a particular religion, there are no set guidelines about cremation, autopsies and embalming so this is completely down to the individual and their family. If you are attending a non-religious funeral you can expect a wide range of possibilities including an open casket, closed casket, ashes or a burial.
Many non-religious funerals opt for a kind of burial that is different to religious funerals. This could be something such as a green burial. This is a great way to celebrate someone who has passed and give them an appropriate send-off if they aren’t religious. There are also called eco-burials and natural burials which involve using a biodegradable coffin and a quick burial. This often means that the funeral needs to be soon after the death – within 24 to 48 hours because they skip the embalming process.
Donations to a charity are a great thing to involve in a non-religious funeral. It still gives the family and friends the feeling that the funeral is offering some sort of funeral tribute and a memory of the one that has passed. Some families may want to collect donations for a charity that is close to their hearts such as a hospice that helped them. If it is a green burial, the family might appreciate potted plants as gifts as cut flowers rely on resource-heavy flower farming which doesn’t align with sustainable principles. Locally sourced, organic flowers are a great way to show sympathy to the family.
For non-religious funeral arrangements, the funeral celebrant could be anyone that the family deems suitable. You can choose a family member, a friend or a respected member of the community. Your funeral directors can help you find a suitable celebrant if you are unsure who you would like to do it. The funeral directors can also help you prepare a fitting funeral service and what format it will take. You can also choose to hold your funeral anywhere you would like such as a parish hall, hotel, natural burial site or even a chapel of a religious community if that suits the family. You can personalise the ceremony in many ways, make it a simple ceremony or a fully-fledged ceremony.
Humanist funeral services are conducted by humanist celebrants which are a celebration of a life and a dignified and distinctive farewell. They are great for families that want a sincere and personal reflection of the life of their loved one. If the person wasn’t religious or they identified as a humanist during their life. The funeral service will be led by a celebrant rather than a religious official and offers a testament to a unique life. It avoids religious rituals and focuses on the individual and their life. During a humanist, atheist or non-religious funeral, you can replace religious songs, hymns or readings with non-religious ones that are still able to offer comfort and meaning to those who are grieving.
Arranging a funeral is hard for many people. When you are grieving and often in shock, it can be extremely difficult to plan ahead and arrange lots of different aspects. You want to try and respect your loved ones wishes and you may not know the best way to approach this. If the person was not religious in their lifetime, it is quite likely they would appreciate a service that continues their way of life. Non-religious funerals are often a great way to celebrate many people’s lives without focusing on aspects of death that don’t relate to their way of living their lives.
Your funeral directors will be more than happy to accommodate your wishes and the wishes of your loved one in any shape that may take. Funeral directors or professionals who have helped families plan hundreds of funerals of all different types. So the best thing to do is to speak to them about what you want and they can help you with the rest. You can also choose to arrange a funeral without a funeral director with the support of your local council or organisations. However, it is much easier to let funeral directors guide you through the process and create a funeral tribute that is respectful.
All funerals are unique and each ceremony is written specifically for the occasion. A non-religious funeral service will tell the story of the person who has died, recognising the person they were when they lived.
At T & I Stockman Ltd, we help you create beautiful funeral tributes for your loved one. No matter whether they are religious or not, we aim to help every family honour their loved one in a way that respects their wishes. We will help you with all funeral arrangements for a non-religious funeral. From respectful celebrations of life to natural burial grounds. To learn more, get in touch with our team today.