Planning a funeral: 7 key things to add to your checklist

Grieving family attending a funeral service for a loved one, organised by Arthur E.Davey & Sons in Nailsea

"There's no right way to plan a funeral. It's about celebrating your loved one's life and saying goodbye in the way you want." - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

During this difficult time, it's hard to remember everything that you need to do or know where to start.

“It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of organising a funeral when you’ve experienced a loss,” shares Nicola Davey, owner of Arthur E. Davey & Sons Funeral Directors in Somerset.

To make life easier for families, Nicola has compiled a list of seven steps you can take to plan a service to celebrate your loved one's life.

1. Register the death

“Most often it’s a family member that takes on this responsibility, as unfortunately it’s not something we’re able to do on your behalf,” Nicola explains. “This will need to be done within five days of someone’s passing. We can explain where you’ll need to go and what documentation will be required.”

Arthur E. Davey & Sons funeral planning services in Nailsea

For over 60 years, Arthur E. Davey & Sons has helped families organise funerals, offering support and reassurance during challenging times. - Credit: Mark Atherton

2. Choose a funeral director

It’s important to find a director that you trust, who’s compassionate and will get to know your family. “As a local, independent company, we’re able to deliver a flexible and personal service, allowing you to customise arrangements and create a bespoke funeral ceremony that reflects your loved one's personality,” Nicola says.

3. Speak to family members about the service

Asking relatives and friends if they want to read a poem, make a eulogy or share a story during the service is another way you can honour your loved one’s memory.

Eulogies, keepsakes at special memories shared during a funeral service.

Sharing eulogies and stories from friends and relatives during the funeral is a good way to celebrate the amazing life your loved one led. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

It’s also important to consider what you wish to do with the ashes. “Some relatives like to store them in a necklace as a keepsake,” Nicola says. “Alternatively, you can spread them in a place special to your family. 

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“It’s good to make this decision together so everyone feels included and for preparations to be made ahead of time.”

4. Consider what clothes you want your loved one to be dressed in

On their final journey, it can be nice to pick a favourite outfit that your loved one enjoyed wearing.

“Families often prefer seeing the departed dressed in their own clothes. It can help to picture them as they were and cherish the precious times they spent together,” Nicola says.

“You can also decide to have us dress them in an Ivory gown. It’s not always a simple decision to make, however, it is something you’ll need to consider before the service.”

Funeral tribute and floral wreath created by Arthur E.Davey & Sons funeral directors in Nailsea

You can create floral tributes from your loved one's favourite type or colour of flower. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

5. Select favourite music and photos to be included

“Pick a song your loved one adored or treasured family photos from a special occasion to include at the funeral. It’s a great way to celebrate all the good times you had,” Nicola says.

You may decide to print leaflets, create a slideshow or display large posters. “We can take care of any ordering and printing, so you don’t need to worry about it,” she adds.

6. Create a floral tribute made from their favourite flowers

“We can arrange floral tributes to be made using your loved one’s favourite type or colour of flower,” Nicola says. “They make elegant and bespoke decorations.”

7. Decide what type of funeral service you want

First, check if any funeral arrangements have already been made. “It’s increasingly common for people to have a pre-paid funeral plan, organise funeral arrangements themselves and use monthly payments to cover costs,” Nicola says.

If no prior arrangements are in place, you’ll need to decide if you want a burial or cremation. You can then choose to host a private personal service with limited guests or a more traditional affair that everyone can attend.

“Depending on your family’s beliefs, we can help you arrange a religious ceremony,” Nicola adds. “You may also decide not to have a funeral. Few people realise we can host unattended services as well.

“The important thing to remember is there is no such thing as a right way to hold a funeral. It’s about getting to say goodbye in the way you want, which is why we’re dedicated to helping families in any way we can find peace and comfort in their time of need.”

For more information about making funeral arrangements, visit or call 01275 852307.