Guide to different types of funerals – Open Prepaid Funeral Plans

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Funerals are intended to celebrate and honour the life of a loved one, and to provide an opportunity for family and friends to say their final goodbyes. However, there is no one way of conducting a funeral – a person may wish for a non-conventional funeral, while some may want their attendees to wear bright colours instead of black.

There are various ways to conduct a funeral service – which is why our helpful guide discusses the various types of funerals to help you decide which is right for you.

What are the different types of funeral services?

Although there are a number of different types of funerals, traditionally, most funerals follow a similar set structure:

  • Funeral service – the service may take place in a place of worship or funeral home. This is when eulogies are read, songs/hymns are sung, and the religious ceremony (if applicable) takes place.
  • Committal service – this could either be a graveside ritual where a person is committed to their final resting place or, if the deceased is cremated, this may take place when scattering the ashes.
  • Wake/funeral reception – a wake is an informal gathering where the deceased’s close family and friends are in the deceased’s one home or other location. This is usually done with the casket or urn in the room, which some families may opt not to do. However, some families may wish to host a more intimate memorial service at home.

Though this typical funeral order may refer to a more traditional or religious funeral, this is not how all funerals are conducted. There are plenty of other ways to celebrate the end of someone’s life.

Humanist celebration

Humanist funerals are non-religious ceremonies that contain all the elements of a traditional funeral without the central focus of religion or faith. A humanist celebration will tend to focus on the type of life the person led – they may have a humanist celebrant instead of a vicar or religious person leading the service.

Instead of being in a place of worship, a humanist funeral service may take place in a crematorium, cemetery, woodland burial site – or some other potential locations include village halls, gardens, and hotels. There are no set rules for a humanist funeral - while it is still most likely to be a sombre affair, some families may ask you to wear brighter colours to celebrate the deceased’s personality.

Scattering the ashes ceremony

Your loved one may not wish to be buried - instead, you may want to scatter your loved one’s ashes in a location they loved dearly – this is a good way to honour the deceased’s memory. There are many meaningful ways to scatter ashes – for instance, families may want to plant their loved one’s ashes with a tree to create an everlasting symbol of them. Some may go to sea to spread their family members’ ashes to celebrate their life at sea, or the love of travel.

Atheist funerals

Similar to humanist funerals, atheist services focus on celebrating a person life, without a central focus on religion. At atheist funerals, music and readings are still common – however, this will be mainly inspired by the person's life rather than a secular religion.


Eco burials are the environmentally friendly alternative to traditional funerals – if your loved one passionately cared about protecting the planet, they may wish for their funerals to be as earth-friendly as possible. An eco-burial may differ from a traditional funeral by having biodegradable urns, tree pod burials, eco-friendly coffins or woodland burial sites.

Planning a funeral can be stressful for a bereaved family – so having a prepaid funeral plan laid out can alleviate emotional stress for your loved ones. Find out more about how funeral plans work from our guide, and learn about the different types of prepaid funeral plans we have here at Open Prepaid Funerals.

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