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Humanist walking in the woods

What is a humanist funeral?

Humanist walking in the woods

A humanist funeral is simply a non-religious funeral. They are customarily led by a celebrant who provides a dignified farewell and sincere celebration of a person’s life, without mentioning religion. 


Humanist funerals are not necessarily just for humanists. Instead, they are appropriate for any person without religious beliefs. The focus is therefore on the life of the person, with readings, music and a eulogy, but no reference to faith. 


Where are humanist funerals held? 


Willow Lake offers humanist funerals at all of our locations, available here. You can choose your humanist celebrant from our friendly and professional team to conduct the service. 


To begin arranging a humanist funeral with Willow Lake, simply call us on 0800 464 7277 or send an email to [email protected]


Who conducts the service?


A humanist celebrant conducts the service. Willow Lake has a team of experienced and compassionate humanist celebrants for you to choose from. Their role is to support you with the funeral arrangements. They also usually lead the service, though you may opt to do so yourself.


Your chosen celebrant will meet with you in person and work with you, family members and close friends to create a personalised tribute. To closely tailor the service to the person who has died, they will also take time to find out their history, personality and preferences. Willow Lake celebrants use this information to help you to plan all aspects of the funeral, including music, readings and time for reflection. 


What happens during a humanist funeral?


On the day of the funeral, your celebrant will welcome you and your guests. Depending on your preferences, they may also conduct the entire service for you. This involves delivering readings and the tribute.


Humanist services are open to interpretation. As the organiser, you can choose how to remember and celebrate the life of the deceased. Many people follow the structure of a traditional religious ceremony, only leaving out any acts of worship. 


The personal tribute or eulogy


In general, the main part of a humanist funeral is the personal tribute or eulogy. Either the celebrant, a family member or close friend will read this out. Again, the format is up to you, but it typically covers the life, character and attributes of the deceased. Those close to the person normally contribute to this section with memories, stories, and other remembrances.


It is not uncommon, however, to include some religious content such as readings, music or hymns. Some people also incorporate time for silent reflection on the life of the deceased at the end of the service. It may be observed with music or in silence. This gives attendees with religious beliefs the opportunity to pray. 


The committal


Following the tribute or time for reflection is the committal. The committal marks the end of the service by closing the curtains. This is entirely optional and the coffin can remain in place if you prefer. The ceremony typically concludes after this with words of thanks.


What to wear to a humanist funeral


Like most aspects of a humanist funeral, the dress code is up to the organisers. It will frequently imitate a traditional funeral so smart dark clothing is best. But, some families prefer their guests to wear bright colours in reflection of the life and personality of the individual who has passed away.


What is the cost of a humanist funeral?


At Willow Lake, all of our funerals, including humanist services, cost £1,995. This set price covers all costs with no hidden or upfront fees. 


Call us on 0800 464 7277 to find out more or to begin planning a humanist funeral.

Contact us

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us.

Call us on 0800 464 7277 or send an email to [email protected]

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