Do you have to have a funeral?

memorial service

Why do people have funerals?

Funerals have been held for centuries as a way of coming to terms with the death of a loved one. They are a way to say a final goodbye and to be consoled by others. The ceremony is also an important step in the transformation of our relationship with the person who has passed. When a funeral is held it gives us a chance to express all the thoughts and feelings, we have about the person who has died and allows us a safe space in which to express all the emotions we feel. Funerals are a place to cry and talk, share memories and celebrate the life of a loved one. A funeral ceremony can also help us to reflect on the meaning of life and death, it can be filled with a complex of beliefs and rituals associated with a particular faith, which can help with the feelings of loss.  Funerals can remind us of the preciousness of life and the love we have for each other. They are one final, precious memory we can take away as we move into the future. 

Can you have a funeral if you aren’t religious?

Yes. Not everyone is religious or wants a funeral service that follows tradition. Non-religious funerals, which are often referred to as celebrations of life, can be just as meaningful and respectful as those which involve hymns and prayers. There can be music, readings of favourite poems, and shared memories of the loved one who has passed away. 

Do you have to have a funeral when someone dies?

Do you have to have a funeral? The answer is no. In fact, there is no requirement in law that a funeral has to take place however the Births and Deaths registration Act of 1953 states that you must ‘dispose of the body of the person who has died by burial, cremation or any other means’

Why might someone not want a funeral?

There are many reasons why someone might not want a funeral to take place. Maybe they don’t have any close family, or don’t want people to mourn them. Perhaps they would prefer a memorial service to be held in their honour, or it may be that they don’t want to place a financial burden on their loved ones. There is no reason to have a funeral if you don’t want to have one.

What can you do instead of having a traditional funeral service?

There are many things you can do to celebrate the life of a loved one if you don’t want to go down the traditional route. Here are just a few of them:

Hold a service on the beach

You don’t have to have the service in a church or crematorium, it can be literally anywhere, a forest, a beach, in the home of the deceased.

Create a family ritual

This could be an annual dinner or a trip to the deceased’s favourite spot, to enable everyone to remember and to grieve together.

Hold a memorial

A memorial ceremony is a way of putting some distance between the death and the celebration of a person’s life Sometimes we just don’t want to face people following the passing of someone dear to us.

Have a graveside ceremony

If you are burying the deceased, then you can take the opportunity to hold a graveside ceremony instead of one in a church.

Make a shrine

Create an area in the house and fill it with objects, pictures and anything else that means something in memory of the person who has died.

At Middleton’s Funeral Services we understand that organising a funeral service is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do but we are here to guide you along every step of the way. Get in touch with us today by phoning 0161 204 7884 or email us at

3 thoughts on “Do you have to have a funeral?”

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