Skip to main content

Arranging a funeral

You may think that you can’t arrange a funeral without a funeral director, but this is not the case. Funeral directors are there to give support and advice to people during one of the most difficult times of their lives and to help you with important decisions that you may not have thought about.
Some people may also find it too hard to deal with the more personal issues they will have to face such as cleaning, dressing and transporting the deceased. For this reason, we advise seeking help from a funeral director, but you don’t have to.

DIY funerals can be very rewarding and are much more intimate and personal. There are a lot of things to consider, but it is all possible and it may help with the grieving process for some people. We would suggest contacting the Bereavement Services Team at Taunton Crematorium to get advice on the processes and any legal documents required.

Make an appointment with the registry office to register the death. Check the website to find where your local office is. You will need to register the death ideally within 5 days, unless the cause of death was unexpected or not known. In this case it will be referred to the coroner. The registrar will issue you with a green form, known as Part B, which you must keep safe and pass to either the Crematorium or the burial authority.

You will need to decide whether to have a burial or cremation. For more information regarding what is involved, please see the links for Cremation Arrangements or Burials.


If the deceased was religious, you may wish to contact their local place of worship to discuss their options. Alternatively, a crematorium offers non-denominational burial grounds which are suitable for all religious beliefs. Please visit the Burials page for more information.


You can check online for our cremation fees under Price Information. Consider the facilities we offer, and the distance family and friends would need to travel. A church service may be more fitting followed by a committal at the crematorium so you would also need to check with the church what their availability is. Please visit the Cremation Arrangements page for more information.

Contact the burial authority or Crematorium to arrange a suitable date and time for the funeral. Please see the information about the paperwork you will need to complete before the burial or cremation can take place.

Here are some things you may wish to consider for the service arrangements:

Think about what time of day the service should be.

If people are travelling from far away it may be more practical to hold the service nearer the weekend or in the afternoon.

Think about close family and friends’ working hours and what time would be easier for most to attend. You’ll also need to think about the length of the service which will depend on the number of people you are expecting to attend, the amount of music you would like to play and the number/timings of readings you wish to have.

Services are every 30 minutes from 9am through to 4.30pm, but time slots can be extended every 30 minutes if required.

Take time to decide on the music you would like for the funeral as this is incredibly personal. It could be your loved one’s favourite song, or one that always makes you think of them.

You’ll need to think about the music you’d like for entry into the chapel, perhaps a reflection piece along with any hymns, and music for exit from the chapel as everyone is leaving. The music will also set the tone of the service. You may see this as a time for quiet reflection, or as a time for celebrating the life of your loved one.

Remember that the music played will always make you think of them, long after the funeral has taken place. This may help you make your decision. If you’d like hymns, the Crematorium Chapel has a pipe organ if you wish to invite an organist. Hymns can be played with an accompanying choir, which encourages attendees to sing, through our music system, Obitus.

Finding the right person to conduct the service can be a difficult choice if you do not already have someone in mind.

Most funeral directors can make suggestions depending on religion and cultural beliefs. These will be trusted officiants who have worked with both us and the funeral directors before.

Some funeral directors also offer this service themselves. Alternatively, a family member or friend is most welcome to officiate the service.

You don’t need any training or qualification to do this.

The Chapel has a voile curtain that can be closed at committal. A set of deep purple curtains can be closed following the final piece of music at the end of the service that will conceal your view of the coffin. It is entirely up to you if you wish to have either of these or at what time.

It may be that the curtains are too final, and you may not wish to have these, or this may make it easier for you to be able to leave the chapel.

Bear in mind your feelings towards both options, but you can always change your mind on the day of the service, just let your Funeral Director know.

Only you will know what can be done to truly personalise a service for your loved one.

Please speak to your funeral director or the Bereavement Services team at Taunton Crematorium if you have any special requests.
Some additional things to think about:

  • the colour of the lights around the catafalque – the platform where the coffin is held in the Chapel - can be changed to their favourite colour
  • the Chapel screens can display different pictures such as woodlands, candles, football team emblems etc.
  • personalised items can be laid out on the altar. We also have easels if you have any framed items to display
  • live music, bagpipers, family members or friends who would like to sing or perform

Whatever you decide to do, your funeral director and the team at Taunton Crematorium are here to help you. We welcome any ideas you may have to remember your loved one and make the day memorable.

Photo tributes

You can choose to display the life of a loved one through pictures on our chapel screens. You can choose any or all of the following:

  • a single photo shown throughout the service
  • a simple slideshow played throughout the service on a loop or once at your preferred time
  • a professional photo tribute set to music played once at your preferred time, created by professional video editors
  • a family-supplied video played once at your preferred time

Copies of the tribute either on DVD or USB can also be supplied upon request.

Please talk to your funeral director to arrange this. You’ll need to provide photos at least 48 hours before the service.


You can watch high-quality live coverage of the service through a webcast if requested by the family. It can be viewed as the service is taking place or a further 28 day watch again option is also available.

Your funeral director will be able to arrange this for you and can provide you with a username and password to pass onto friends and relatives.

Anyone with a modern computer, tablet or smartphone with a good internet connection will be able to watch.


You can ask for a high-quality recording of the service produced by professional editors, available on DVD, Blue-ray, USB or as a download.

Please talk to your funeral director if you wish to receive this.

All options listed here are provided to our Crematorium from Obitus.