For some the traditional style of funeral, in the church or crematorium, is the right one. You can have a traditional looking non-religious funeral, or with religion. It can be comforting in its familiarity, quietly dignified for someone who liked tradition, held formal religious belief, or who would not have wanted a fuss made over them. It can also be made into a grand occasion with the black horses and carriage, beautiful flowers, high church service.
The hallmarks of a traditional funeral are the black hearse and limousine, wooden coffin, black clad funeral staff and bearers, familiar liturgy, a hymn or other well-known song. Small touches can make a traditional funeral more personal through family involvement, a heartfelt eulogy by a family member, a picture of the person who has died on the coffin, a personal reading or piece of music.
We undertake funerals in all the churches in the area, Anglican, Methodist, Catholic and other churches.
A contemporary funeral is for those who want a funeral to be a more personal and individual expression of the life, values and character of the person who has died. These funerals are often less formal, with a higher level of participation by family and friends. The funeral might be for someone younger, perhaps a babyboomer born after 1940.
Perhaps an informal hearse like the VW Camper or motorcycle hearse, a coffin that makes a statement, a ceremony that reflects individual beliefs, music from their era, as likely to be Pink Floyd as Pachelbel. At these funerals, a few touches can make all the difference, or you can be wildly unconventional.
At Heart & Soul Funerals we start with a clean sheet of paper, listen to exactly what you want the funeral to be like and help you to bring that to fruition. Because we are not only funeral directors, but also funeral celebrants, we can integrate the two roles so that they match each other, not just the words and music, but also the flowers, coffin, cars and venue. We find that, as long as the funeral reflects the character of the person who has died, everyone is fine with even quite unconventional elements – in fact the usual feedback from those who have not been to this type of funeral before is “That’s the best funeral I have ever been to. I didn’t know it could be like one. That’s what I want!”
This may be a traditional funeral in a church, with a comforting and familiar religious service. Churches are often inspiring places which give a sense of the sacred and the liturgy, with its beautiful words honed over the centuries, gives a sense of funerals having been held over time for those who have gone before.
The funeral may be something individual and contemporary, that weaves together the colourful threads of a life into a rich tapestry and reflects the beauty of a unique life. An independent celebrant will create a ceremony pertinent to the person who has died. Funerals do not have to take place in the crematorium or in church, but can be held in many different settings, which gives the opportunity to choose one that best suits the life, values and beliefs of the person who has died. We have a beautiful stone barn, Riverstone, right by the River Dart which can be decorated as you wish. People bring coloured cloths, photos, memorabilia, flowers and plants and make the space their own. We have also held funerals at home, in gardens, in village halls, pubs and hotels, in rooms at Dartington Hall – the possibilities are many.
Or a green funeral, which may have traditional or contemporary elements. A green funeral, often held outside at a natural burial ground or on private land, gives scope for lots of participation by family and friends and often includes the choice of biodegradable coffins made from low impact materials such as willow and cardboard
You can choose whichever feels right for the person who has died.