I want horses wearing plumes at my funeral
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Have you had that conversation yet? Do your friends and family know what you want to happen at your funeral? Do you know what they want at their funeral? It's time to talk.
Cremation or burial? Horses, flowers, hymns, musicians, pall bearers and a huge celebration of life at the best hotel in town, or a simple ceremony with a quiet gathering afterwards at home?
Ensuring your loved ones know what kind of funeral you want saves them a lot of heartache later.
So have the conversation with them, or write down your wishes and ensure at least two people know where to find that information.
Knowing exactly what the deceased wanted makes planning a funeral so much more straightforward at a time when it can be difficult to think straight. With death certificates to organise, organisations to inform, finances to sort through, wills to find, possibly pets to look after, let alone the grief to live with – knowing funeral wishes can be a great relief.
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Age UK offers a whole series of useful information leaflets, including how to gently approach the topic of your, or someone else's, funeral.
Age UK Norwich suggests making clear requests to include:
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? Where you would like your funeral to be
? Whether you want a burial or cremation
? Whether you want a religious service or not
? Who you would like to be invited
? What songs or readings you would like
? Whether you want flowers
? What clothes you would like to wear
? What you would like your guests to wear
Do you want a family led or humanist funeral? A woodland burial, a shroud or a coffin made from cardboard or wicker?
Are you imagining mourners wearing black or your favourite colour? Do you want donations for a favourite charity, or flowers to be laid somewhere particular afterwards?
Are you happy for family members to be pall bearers if they wish, or to do readings?
It is a lot to think about, but easier now than your relatives having to second guess your wishes after your death.
Include ideas for your wake too, whether a big party with non stop Cliff Richard hits or afternoon tea at your home – people will want somewhere to go after the funeral to share happy memories of your life.
Perhaps you want to donate your body to medical science; ensure you have told your family and GP and completed the appropriate consent forms. Your body can be returned to your family for later cremation or burial – so it is still important to make a funeral plan.
You may wish to organise pre-payment of your funeral, and include a line in your notes that states you fully understand that some of your wishes may not be possible.
If your wishes change, such as your choice of music, update your funeral notes – and tell your friends and relatives.
To find a funeral director, contact the National Association of Funeral Directors at www.nafd.org.uk. They can also provide you with information about funeral pre-payment plans. Check which services are included in the price as this can vary.
A cremation usually costs less than a burial, and an early morning or midweek cremation can be cheaper options.
For information, visit Age UK Norwich, 60 London Street, Norwich, NR2 1JX or call 01603 496333.