Most funerals taking place in Britain would be considered as traditional. Broadly speaking on the day of the funeral it would involve family gathering at the deceased’s house to await the cortege, a religious funeral service and a committal.
This is a very brief outline of proceedings on the day of the funeral –
Although tradition is to gather at the house of the deceased, it is perfectly acceptable to gather at the house of another member of the family, as this is often more convenient, or to meet the cortege at the venue for the service. If the cortege leaves from the house, the hearse will arrive already loaded with the coffin and flowers and any limousines requested will be following. Any additional flowers will be gathered from the house 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. The funeral director will then walk in front of the hearse for a short distance. This is a mark of respect to the deceased and also gives following cars an opportunity to join the cortege.
Most funeral services are held either at the church of the family’s choice, or as is more frequently the case, at the crematorium chapel. Here the coffin is lead by the minister, followed by the funeral director and bearers carrying the coffin, and followed by the family. It is usual at church for friends and other mourners to go into church before the family arrive. At the crematorium all the mourners follow the coffin in. Many families choose to provide an order of service. This helps mourners follow proceedings and saves having to find hymns in separate books. They also provide keep sake for people. A funeral service generally will include a welcome and introduction, prayers, one or two hymns and a eulogy. The minister will have met the family before the funeral to discuss the content and also to gather information about the deceased and their lives. This gives the family the opportunity to share memories about their loved one.
The committal directly follows the funeral service. Obviously if the service has taken place in the crematorium chapel this takes place without moving. If the service has taken place in church, the congregation generally travels on to the crematorium or cemetery where a brief committal service takes place.
Many families hold a reception after the funeral. This gives an opportunity for family and friends to join together and remember the deceased, and often have a drink in their memory. If the family have used limousines, they will travel in them to the reception.