Arranging a burial

Arranging a burial

Arranging a burial service mostly involves choosing where the service will be held and a burial plot. Burials are generally a little more expensive than cremation, due to the demand for plots, the maintenance involved and the extra fees for a church, funeral directors and decorative extras along the way.

Burial is one of the oldest ritual practices, emerging with the first Homo sapiens. So, you’ll know that burial’s got a good customer satisfaction rate. Here’s what to expect and what costs are involved when arranging a burial service.

Choosing the service

Funerals that include a burial are still quite traditional, and many follow established religious funeral  practices. However, there’s also a lot of opportunity to get creative. Though, if you do want the service in a church, it’s best to check beforehand whether any of your preferences are likely to be refused.

What to start thinking about when arranging a burial service

  • Which church you want the service to take place in
  • If you don’t want your burial service in a church, what venue you’d like the service in
  • Your own choice of readings, poems, songs or hymns
  • Whether or not you want pallbearers and who they might be
  • You may want to use a celebrant if you aren’t having a religious service, or even a family member who’ll conduct things
  • There’s no requirement to have an additional formal graveside service which is held before the coffin is lowered into the ground
  • You can choose the graveside service to be the main service, which is usually a small, personal gathering with chairs set up around the grave. You might want to bear in mind temperamental weather. Though, who says a bit of thunder and lightning doesn’t add a sense of atmosphere?

Choosing a grave

You’ll need to think about where you want to be buried. Grave space is always subject to availability.

If you want to be buried in a new grave

You’ll take on the right to use a plot. In some cases, graves can be pre-purchased or reserved. Though, this isn’t necessary – you can state in your will where you’d prefer to be buried, then the funeral director will sort it out for you.

It may be that your local council will allow you to reserve a plot next to the one you want, too.

If you want to be buried in an existing grave

You’ll need to know the details surrounding the deeds of the grave – for example, who’s the named owner and whether it’s alright to transfer ownership. This can usually be done if the person stated in their will that transferral of the rights would be permitted.

The costs involved in a burial

Fees for a new grave

Buying a plot for a grave usually means your getting what’s known as exclusive burial rights. This is where no more burials can take place in your plot without your permission. If you want to be able to put up a memorial, paying for this right may be the only option available. The fee for a plot can vary, depending on where the site is, how in demand graves are and whether the plot is in a pleasant part of the cemetery. You could be looking at a fee between £800 and £7,000.

If your tired of your local council and want to be buried in an area you don’t live remotely near, the fee is likely to be more than the standard.

Charge for reopening an existing grave

A charge for reopening a standard grave can vary between £400 and up to £1,000.

Choosing a coffin

You’ll need to factor in the cost of a coffin if you’re opting for a burial. Though, you may want to look into alternatives to a coffin, such as one made from wicker or cardboard. Perhaps even a simple shroud.

Depending on the size and material, a coffin can cost from anything up to several thousand pounds. See our page dedicated to coffins here.

Headstones and memorials

Headstones aren’t a requirement. It can take up to 12 weeks after ordering a headstone for it to be ready. In any case, headstones can’t be placed until the soil has settled – this usually takes around 6 months. Headstones can be basic, elaborate or even naturally occurring and can cost anything from £100 to £5,000.

Overall, there’s lots of opportunity for creativity when it comes to burial. From the funeral service itself, to the burial plot and the finer decorative details, there’s many ways to make a burial personal to you or the person who’s died. Though, arranging a burial can quickly become expensive. If you want a clearer look at the general costs of a standard funeral, and the ways in which to pay them, take a look at our quick articles on funeral costs. 

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