Humanist & Civil Funerals with Coles

Sometimes known as a ‘civil’, humanist funerals are essentially non-religious funerals. The tend to be highly personalised ceremonies led by a member of the family, friend or a celebrant. All the music and readings are chosen to perfectly reflect the life of your loved one.

More often than not, a humanist funeral service is held at a crematorium, cemetery or natural burial site. However, you can hold a humanist ceremony just about anywhere – with village halls and gardens being popular choices.

What happens at a Humanist Funeral?

Whilst there is no right or wrong format for a humanist funeral as its entirely down to the personal wishes of your loved one, this is a useful starting point…

  • Music is played as guests arrive
  • Guests are welcomed by the celebrant or family member/friend, and the tone is set on what it means to celebrate a life and say goodbye
  • A tribute (or eulogy) is read by the celebrant or family member/friend – sharing highlights and stories about the person who has died
  • Friends and family stand up to give readings
  • A favourite piece of music might be played (either live or a recording)
  • There is a moment’s silence as guests are invited to remember the life lived
  • The coffin/casket (if there is one) is taken from view
  • Some closing thoughts are shared and guests are thanked for their attendance
  • Music plays as guests walk out

Often, guests will leave the service and gather again at an alternative venue for the ‘wake’ or ‘reception’ to carry on remembering and sharing stories about the the dearly departed.

Music & Readings

Humanist funerals do not often include funeral hymns or prayers, though readings from loved ones are still popular. The music and readings you choose do not need to be funeral-themed (or even sad). They can simply include your loved one’s favourites. If you are looking for inspiration, tell us about your loved one’s likes and dislikes and we’ll happily suggest a repertoire of songs for your consideration, as well as a library of readings that might be of interest to you.

Alternatively, this recent article from Stylist magazine suggests some popular choices >