Arranging a Funeral

If you have never arranged a funeral before it can be difficult to know where to start, especially at such a difficult time. Having an understanding of what is involved can help.

Your loved one may have left instructions about the type of funeral and burial they wanted, but if they haven’t your funeral director can help talk you through the options.

  • Usually the first thing to do is to contact a funeral director. Choosing a funeral director is often done locally, or through recommendation but if you are struggling the National Association of Funeral Directors (of which HSS are members) are a good source to find one: . If you choose not to go through a funeral director, please feel free to contact us directly on or call 0300 302 0682. You may also find this information useful:
  • Choosing what type of service you would like is very important. If a Humanist non-religious ceremony is right for you and your loved one, ask your funeral director for a Humanist Society Scotland Celebrant.  Your funeral director will often know, and can recommend, our celebrants in your local area and will support you throughout the process.  They will be able to advise you on their suitability and availability for the ceremony.  


The Ceremony

Your Celebrant will support you in the creation of your ceremony. They will call you to arrange a suitable time for a visit (usually at your home or a place suitable to you). They will ask lots of questions about your loved one’s life to get as much information about them as possible to create a personal and meaningful ceremony. Often family members and friends would like to share their memories too, and it is good to get them to write something down/share it with you prior to this visit so that it can be included in the ceremony. If there is anyone who would like to speak at the ceremony the celebrant will also need to see what they are reading prior to the ceremony, whether it is a reading or their memories of the deceased. You may also wish to consider what music you would like to include. Your celebrant will then write the ceremony after the visit, and you will get to see it in advance of the ceremony. They will support you and your family on the day.

For more information please see our Funeral Leaflet  –HumanistSocietyScotlandFuneralLeaflet


*If you are planning your own funeral please see our advanced wishes section