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Traditional Funerals

Most funerals taking place in the UK would be considered as traditional. A traditional funeral service can either be held in a local church or a crematorium and then either followed by a burial in the church yard or cremation. Broadly speaking, a traditional funeral service will be a religious service taken by either a Church of England vicar, a Catholic father, a Methodist minister or any other religious denomination.

This is a very brief outline of proceedings on the day of the funeral…

Traditionally, the family gathers at the home of the deceased, it is perfectly acceptable and becoming more common to gather at the house of another member of the family, as this is often more convenient. Another option, which again is becoming more common is for the cortege to meet the family at the venue for the service, if for example family members are traveling a longer distance to attend the funeral. If the cortege leaves from the home, the hearse will arrive beautifully presented with the coffin and flowers and any limousines required will be following.  Any additional flowers or any other memorial items will be gathered from the home at this point and the family will have the opportunity to briefly view the flowers in the hearse. 

When the cortege is ready to leave, the funeral director will ask everyone to make their way to their cars. Traditionally, the funeral director will then walk in a dignified manor in front of the hearse for a short distance. This is a mark of respect to the deceased and also gives any following cars an opportunity to join the cortege.

Most funeral services are held either at a local church of the family’s choice or at the crematorium chapel. Here the coffin is led by the vicar, followed by the funeral director and bearers carrying the coffin, and then followed by the family. The coffin bearers traditionally would be either family members or close friends, however Robert Harrison & Sons can of course provide coffin bearers if requested. For a church service or at the crematorium, the mourners would go into church before the family arrive.

Many families choose to have an order of service, which would include a photography on the front of the deceased. This helps mourners follow proceedings and saves having to find hymns in separate books. They also provide a keepsake for people or for anyone who was unable to attend the service. A funeral service generally will include a welcome and introduction, prayers, one or two hymns or a piece of music which the family have chosen, a eulogy which can either be delivered by a family member, a close friend or the vicar and a piece of reflective music for friends and family to remember their loved one. The vicar will have met the family before the funeral to discuss the content and also to gather information about the deceased and their life. This gives the family the opportunity to share memories about their loved one.

The committal directly follows the funeral service, if the service is at the crematorium, this takes place with out moving. During a church service followed by a burial in the church yard or cemetery, the congregation would follow the coffin procession to the graveside for the committal. For a church service followed by cremation, the family would traditionally follow the funeral cortege to the crematorium for a short committal service. Families can decide to not attend committal and let the funeral cortege proceed to the crematorium. The family can then spend more time at the funeral reception with friends and family. This is becoming more common, especially locally where travel time from the church to the crematorium and back can be up to two hours or more.


Many families hold a reception after the funeral either at a local village hall, a pub or a restaurant . This gives an opportunity for family and friends to join together and remember the deceased, and often have some refreshments a drink in their memory.

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