family under a tree

What is a humanist funeral?

A humanist funeral is a non-religious ceremony celebrating the life of someone who has died. This kind of service may be led by a celebrant, or you could simply arrange your own memorial with your loved one’s ashes present.

Contents
  1. What is a humanist funeral?
  2. Where can you hold a humanist funeral?
  3. What happens at a humanist funeral?
  4. Who conducts a humanist funeral?
  5. How much does a humanist funeral cost?
  6. What to wear to a humanist funeral
  7. How to arrange a humanist funeral

What is a humanist funeral?

A humanist funeral is a ceremony celebrating the life of someone who has died without mentioning a religion or god. This kind of service is often led by a celebrant, who guides guests through any readings and music.

More broadly, a humanist funeral is any kind of non-religious memorial service. If you would prefer not to have a guided ceremony with a celebrant, you could wait until you have your loved one’s ashes and then arrange a simple memorial service.

Where can you hold a humanist funeral?

Humanist funeral ceremonies are usually held in a crematorium, cemetery or natural burial site. However, if you choose to arrange a direct cremation, you could host your own memorial service with your loved one’s ashes present.

Here are just a few of the places you could have a memorial service:

  • Town hall
  • Hotel event space
  • Your home
  • Garden
  • Public park
  • Pub
  • Restaurant

What happens at a humanist funeral?

What happens at a humanist funeral really depends on the person who died and the people organising the funeral.

If the person who died wasn’t religious but was still fairly traditional, you could follow the format set out by Humanism UK:

  • Music plays as the service begins
  • The celebrant welcomes the guests and sets the tone with a reflection on what it means to celebrate a life and say goodbye
  • The celebrant or a close family member reads the tribute – this is essentially the same as a eulogy and covers the life and character of your loved one
  • Friends and family stand up to give readings
  • The celebrant calls for a moment’s silence for thought
  • The coffin is taken from view
  • The celebrant shares some closing thousands and thanks guests for their attendance
  • Music plays as guests leave

If the person who died wasn’t religious and was more of a freespirit, you could arrange a direct cremation and have a more informal memorial service at their favourite park, beach or beauty spot. You may even choose to scatter their ashes with friends and family present.

If your loved one left a will, it’s also worth checking to see if they left specific wishes about their funeral.

Who conducts a humanist funeral?

A humanist funeral is usually conducted by a celebrant. They are responsible for leading the ceremony while helping your family and friends to pay their respects to your loved one.

You can visit Humanism UK to find a funeral celebrant here.

Alternatively, if you’re hosting a simpler memorial service with your loved one’s ashes present, you could carry out the ceremony yourself. This could include things like:

  • Saying a few words to thank everyone for attending
  • Placing your loved one’s ashes somewhere so everyone can pay their respects
  • Playing songs that remind everyone of your loved one
  • Inviting friends and family members to say something

How much does a humanist funeral cost?

The cost of a humanist funeral can range from £1,000 to around £10,000 depending on the kind of service you want. This is usually broken down into three specific costs: the funeral, the send-off and the celebrant’s fees.

Funeral costs

The average funeral in the UK costs around £4,800. This covers all the basics for a humanist funeral, including a simple ceremony, a wooden coffin, the transportation of your loved one and the cremation or burial.

If you would prefer to have a ceremony or service after receiving your loved one’s ashes, you could instead get a direct cremation from just £980. Simply call Farewill today on 0333 259 9213 for a free quote.

Send-off fees

As well as paying for the burial or cremation, there are also additional fees to consider for things like a memorial, flowers, catering and transportation. Together, these costs average around £2,300, but you may be able to create a memorial for less by arranging things yourself.

Celebrant fees

If you want a celebrant to lead the ceremony, this will cost somewhere between £150 and £280 depending on what’s involved and where you are in the country.

What to wear to a humanist funeral

Every humanist funeral is different, so it’s always best to speak to the person organising it if you’re unsure what to wear.

If it’s a fairly formal affair, something smart and understated would be a safe bet. However, many people now specify that guests should wear bright colours to help make the occasion feel less morbid and more like a celebration.

If your loved one left a will, they may have included wishes stating what they want people to wear. This is something we see regularly with people writing a will online with Farewill.

How to arrange a humanist funeral

You can arrange a humanist funeral today by calling Farewill on 0333 259 0952. We can take care of your loved one’s cremation from just £980. Then, once we’ve returned the ashes to you, you can arrange a simple memorial service that’s perfect for you and your family.

Article reviewed

Arrange a cremation

Our friendly team can help you arrange a cremation over the phone and answer any questions you may have.

0333 271 5882
Related articles
  1. How much does a funeral cost?
  2. How to arrange a funeral
  3. What can you do with the ashes after a cremation?