Civil funerals

Information on what a civil funeral is, who can have one, where can they be held, who conducts the ceremony, how is it created, what is the cost and is there assistance, how to arrange a ceremony, do you need a funeral director and can you have a scattering of ashes ceremony.

What is a civil funeral?

A civil funeral ceremony is a unique, dignified and meaningful ceremony which is a 
celebration of someone's life. Civil funerals are offered by the East Riding registration and celebratory services as an alternative to a religious ceremony, and although they may include some religious content, the focus is on a tribute celebrating the life of the person who has died.

Unlike some unregulated independent celebrants our ceremonies are delivered by highly trained professional staff whose performance is monitored and regularly assessed. Our professional team have been accredited with a number of national awards and aim to deliver a quality bespoke service.

Who can have a ceremony?

Anyone can request a civil funeral ceremony.

Where can we hold our ceremony?

The ceremony can be held in a wide variety of places, however, a civil funeral ceremony may not be held in churches or buildings that have any religious connection. The East Riding of Yorkshire has a number of suitable buildings and the celebrant will be able to help you with your choice. 

Who will conduct the ceremony?

A professionally trained celebrant will conduct the ceremony. The celebrant may also be a registrar but will not be working as a registrar when they conduct a civil funeral ceremony.

How is the ceremony created?

You will be able to create your very own unique ceremony with the help and advice of the celebrant. A celebrant will arrange to meet you and anyone else you would like to be there too. This will be a discussion about the person who has died and the kind of ceremony that you would like.

Everyone has different wishes; your choices may be influenced by religious and cultural traditions or perhaps by the final wishes of the person who has died. You may like to include family and friends, special pieces of music, poems or readings.  You may wish to make the ceremony a tribute to the person who has died and a celebration of their life. 

Once the draft ceremony is written you will have the opportunity to read it through to make any changes if you want to. Whatever the circumstances, together we will help you to creating a unique ceremony for your loved one.

How much will a ceremony cost?

The cost of this service is £175 and includes the following:

  • initial interviews (including a home visit if required)
  • preparation of the tribute/script
  • ongoing communication
  • expert advice on funeral arrangements and other relevant services/bereavement issues
  • all of the celebrants time and travel expenses
  • delivery of the tribute.

Most funeral directors will include the fee in their invoice and pass on the payment.

Will I be able to get assistance with funeral costs?

If you or your partner are getting a low income benefit and need help towards the cost of a funeral, you may be able to get a funeral payment.

The DirectGov website provides information on help with funeral costs:

DirectGov - funeral payments (external website) 

How do I arrange a ceremony?

As funerals are often needed to be planned very quickly, we have a direct contact which you would need to use to organise a funeral. You can contact a registrar on the below.

Tel: (01482) 393600 

Mob: 07876444759 (outside registrar hours)

You may wish to ask your funeral director, friend or relative to contact us on your behalf.

A celebrant will contact you to arrange a meeting, this could be at your home, or if you prefer at your local registration office.

At this meeting you will be asked to provide as much information as possible about the person who has died. You may find it comforting to have a relative or a friend with you at this time. The celebrant will assist you as much as possible so that your instructions will be carried out during the ceremony. 

Do I need to use the services of a funeral director?

You can arrange a funeral without the help of a funeral director. You can get help and information from the natural death centre.

The natural death centre - arranging a funeral (external website)

Is is possible to have a scattering of ashes ceremony?

Yes, the fee for a scattering of ashes ceremony is £50 which includes the attendance of the celebrant and a short ceremony.