Many elements make up a funeral ceremony. Here are a few things to consider.
Music is a vital part of the ceremony, offering people time to gather, reflect and celebrate.
We can help advise on popular and traditional music, hymns and other styles of music, as well as explore ways of weaving the favourite songs and music of the deceased into the order of service at the ceremony.
We have a portable docking station that enables music and other recordings to be taken to woodland sites and other outside settings.
For a truly memorable funeral ARKA Original Funerals has a wide range of professionals that can be hired – from a New Orleans jazz band to a harpist, gospel singers to a Scottish piper to name but a few. Maybe you have someone in the family or a friend who will sing or play live? These are all options that will enhance and make the funeral more personal and special for those that attend.
Taking Your Loved One to the Funeral
How to transport your loved one on the day of the funeral is a very personal decision. Some people would want a traditional approach using a black hearse and limousine, others would want a horse drawn hearse and some people would want to take their loved one in their own vehicle.
All of these options are absolutely fine, and we would encourage people to do exactly what felt right for them and their families and friends.
We have listed here some popular options, but of course there is no right or wrong way, so if you have something else in mind then please let us know:
Our ARKA vehicles
We have two smart dark blue estate cars that can be used as hearses. On the day of the funeral we place silk underneath the coffin in the back of the car and place flowers around.
The traditional hearse comes in a variety of colours, black, white or even pink! We can provide from the classic Daimler or Rolls Royce hearse to more modern versions. Please note classic cars are significantly more expensive than their modern equivalents.
We work closely with a lovely company who provide horses for this purpose. These are working horses, but are well treated and cared for. We can provide black or white Gelderlanders with a matching carriage, or the traditional heavier Shire horses. The carriage can be a flatbed textile dray, brewery dray or a glass hearse. The horses will arrive looking magnificent with matching plumage.
We can also provide a much-loved working VW Campervan to act as a hearse. VW campers can be a popular choice for families who typically remember happy times shared in these iconic vehicles.
Citroen H Van
Gi Gi, the French Citroen type H van has been sympathetically prepared to transport your loved one to their final resting place. She has loads of character and is truly unique.
The motorcycle hearse is gaining popularity especially amongst the biker community. There are different bikes available including the classic Triumph through to a more modern Suzuki Hayabusa and a Harley Davidson.
Flowers and Donations
Flowers are traditionally brought to the funeral in memory of the deceased, and are an important opportunity for creating a personal message. They can also unfortunately add a significant cost and, as we know, can be quickly discarded at crematoria once the ceremony is over. The plastic wrappings and oasis of most traditional tributes are not recycled and pass directly to landfill.
At ARKA Original Funerals we help you to create the most meaningful and appropriate way for everyone to help contribute to the ceremony by exploring many other poignant alternatives.
We make sure that, before the ceremony, all flowers are brought into the chapel and are placed around the coffin, instead of being left outside which sadly is so often the case. We then carry the flowers out for everyone to see, and where they can be shared, taken home and enjoyed for their beauty and significance.
Alternatively, those attending the ceremony can each be asked to bring a single stemmed flower (possibly from their own garden) to be placed on the coffin with a personal message, or to be used to create a single large tribute.
Instead of flowers families often ask for donations to be made to a particular charity, or towards a particular gift or memorial that has a more lasting or personal memory.
On your behalf, ARKA Original Funerals can collate and acknowledge all donations and inform you of how much has been raised. We can also set up a Just Giving page in memory of the person where people can donate directly.
We do not work with florists on a commission basis but rather that we value their flair and beautiful flowers. We know some lovely florists that we have worked with for a number of years and can pass their details onto you.
We have met with a lovely florist who works with paper to create wonderful floral tributes that don’t cost the earth and will last a long time. Please see their website here http://www.pageandbloom.com/
Filming or Taking Photos of the Funeral Ceremony
If somebody close to the person who has died can’t attend the funeral or if there are children who just won’t be able to remember this important time in the family’s history then you may want to record the ceremony, or part of it in film or still photography. You may well have someone in your family or friendship group who can do this for you, if not we know some talented, discreet photographers and videographers who would meet with you and discuss how you want them to record the ceremony. Another option which is very popular and useful (during Covid times) is the use of Zoom or using livestreaming systems that have been set up by a lot of funeral venues, your Arka Funerals arranger will be able to advise you on where this is available and costs.
One thing to remember is that the group of people gathered to say goodbye to the person who has died may never be together again so it may be something that you want to document in this way.
Most crematoria are now offering an opportunity to ‘webcast’ the funeral, so if this is possible it will be mentioned to you when we discuss funeral arrangements with you.
Audio Recording of the Ceremony
We regularly record ceremonies for families where someone in the family lives a long way away and can’t attend. The sound quality is very clear and we can transfer the sound file onto a memory stick or share it through the internet using Dropbox for instance.
We offer you the time and space to think about the best way to inform people of the death and the funeral arrangements. This may be by placing an obituary in a local or national newspaper, or other relevant publication. One useful medium these days is Facebook where more and more people are using this to give information about funeral arrangements and also to set up online memorials. Obituaries are helpful for informing people of the death, giving details of the funeral, where flowers or donations should be sent, and details of any other information that may be relevant. Local papers can range in price on average from £60 – £120 whereas national papers can cost £200 – £400 for the same amount of words.