Funeral rules and regulations

Flourishes and dramatic gestures at funerals used to be the preserve of the rich and famous.

No more. There are no rules limiting how you ‘do’ a funeral. It’s all about personalisation and choice.

Different endings may need different goodbyes. At Final Fling, we respect tradition and promote creativity. Mostly, we’re fans of individual expression and choice. Let’s do it with spirit, respect, love, colour and imagination. Put ‘rich’ back into ‘ritual’.


See more in funeral ideas and understand what a traditional funeral looks like.

You can also organise a funeral yourself – from taking care of the body, to burying it or taking it to the crematorium.

Go to our directory or Marketplace to find help from professionals.

Here are some pointers:

Funeral – you don’t have to have a funeral service at all. You are free to have whatever sort of ceremony you want.
Burial or cremation – you must have the body buried or cremated. You can scatter ashes in your garden, on public land or in rivers. You can be buried at sea. You can use friends and family as coffin bearers. Women can be coffin bearers. You can bury your pets and your family in your garden without planning permission so long as you own the land and tell the Registrar the date and place of burial. See here for advice. (A grave in the garden may affect the value of your home.) You can use a crematorium for a service even if a burial is planned – sometimes they can accommodate more people. You don’t have to have a ceremony at the burial or cremation.
Notice – you can but don’t have to put a notice in the paper. You can also share details of plans on Notices & Tributes in Final Fling.
Coffin – there is no law saying you need a coffin but check with the burial ground or crematorium for restrictions.
Flowers are optional. You can tell people you don’t want flowers if it goes against your green ethics.
Collection plate – this practice comes from the church tradition of passing round a collection plate. Some funeral directors will ask who donations are to go to. You don’t have to have a collection plate at the service or you can donate to a charity, hospice, cause.
Crematorium – you can ask for crosses to be taken down and move flexible seating.
Ceremony – anyone can lead the ceremony, organise or speak at a funeral, including you. There are no rules about the format of a ceremony, or where it’s held; there’s only common practice. You can have a ceremony separate from the burial or cremation.
Organiser – you can hand all or some of the arrangements to professionals: funeral director, celebrant or funeral planner.
Burial clothing – you can be buried naked – as you came into the world – or in a favourite outfit or in a shroud.
Ashes – you can have your ashes made into fireworks or a diamond.
Transport – anyone can move the body in any vehicle (a hire van or estate car). You can transport a body across the country without permission but need consent to cross national boundaries (England/Wales is treated as one).
Caring for the body – you can keep the body at home until the burial or cremation. You can ask to help prepare the body at the funeral parlour.
Music and words – you can play disco, pop, rock or classical music or sing songs together at the ceremony. You can write and read your own words.
Webcasting – you can broadcast the funeral over the internet from some crematoria – very helpful for family abroad.

See what folks in the street thought about the sort of send off they’d like.