Non-religious funerals

Natural Endings can arrange a non-religious funeral with you that reflects your person’s unique personality and life.

You might already have someone in mind to lead the service. If not we will take some time to understand what’s important to you and suggest someone. We work with a number of different non-religious funeral leaders.

They vary a lot in approach and character; we pride ourselves in finding the right fit for you. Sometimes we meet families that do not feel a need for a funeral leader. We have a lot of experience of supporting families to lead a more informal funeral in their own way.

Non-religious funeral leaders are often referred to as a civil celebrants or humanist celebrants. A humanist celebrant feels strongly that there is no god and is very unlikely to include prayers, hymns or religious references. Most civil celebrants are more flexible and will lead funerals with prayers or religious references if you wish.

The great thing about non-religious funerals is that there is no set way that things have to be done. So rituals can be created that are meaningful for  you. Being involved in co-creating these kind of farewells has always been the most interesting and engaging part of our work. We look forward to seeing what you bring.


Finding a leader for a non-religious (civil or humanist) funeral

We work with a few different non-religious funeral leaders (known as a humanist) and once we have found out a bit about you we will pair you with the most appropriate person.

When planning a funeral the humanist officiant will speak to you and your family about the person that has died. Usually they’ll visit you at home.

It is helpful for the officiant to learn as much as possible about the person who has died, so that the funeral tribute really captures their life and personality.

These types of funeral concentrate very much on the person that has died, their life, their achievements, their interests and passions and their relationships.

A funeral can be a very spiritual occasion even if there is no particular named faith.

Incorporating your values and beliefs 

Some families might not attend church often but might want an element of a faith such as a prayer. We also work with some ministers who are very helpful and who are willing to include as much or as little faith as is needed. They derive the funeral by the wishes, values and beliefs of the deceased and their family.

Other individuals may feel very in tune with a faith but do not practice it. We have included Pagan, Buddhist, Quaker and Hindu references in funeral services.

Other people might feel that there are cultural links that are integral to an individual’s identity. There are always ways of including these things within a ceremony.

We are also happy to advise and support families that would like to lead their own ceremonies or write a eulogy or tribute.


Elements of a non-religious funeral ceremony

Whatever your choices the ceremony will be unique and reflect an individual’s personality and celebrate and reflect upon the time that you have had together.

A funeral ceremony can contain any of the following elements:

  • Music – Live or pre-recorded.
  • Tributes – These can either be written by the funeral leader after meeting with you and finding out about the person that has died. Or they can be written by friends and family and read out by
    those people or by the funeral leader.
  • Funeral Poems and Readings – We have lots of lovely poems and readings that we can suggest. Or you might know of something yourselves.
  • Silence – Silent reflection for personal thoughts or for a silent prayer for those with a faith.
  • Small rituals – like flower laying (or individual flowers, candle lighting, lantern lighting, or dove or balloon releases or other little rituals that are personal to your family).
  • Or you might have some ideas yourself. There are no rules.

Ceremony venue choices

Non-religious funerals (also known as a civil or humanist funeral), can be held in a number of locations. Many are held in crematoriums, cemetery burial chapels or beside the grave.

There are other options too. We have arranged ceremonies with the coffin present in many different locations: families’ own homes and gardens, barns, a youth hostel, an artist’s studio, an art deco cinema, a Victorian Theatre, a football stadium, marquees, hotel function rooms and even a pub.

Alternatively you might have somewhere in mind yourself that is appropriate because you have had happy times there with your family member/friend.

Now we are pleased to offer our own ceremony space as well at our new funeral home in Todmorden.


A simple tribute

Some families that we have worked with have felt no need to have a formal ceremony at all. They have simply wanted to sit and listen to music, to share memories in a very informal way or even to have their own memories in silence.

We are here to help and can arrange whatever you want.


If you have had a bereavement and would like to talk to someone about funeral arrangements,
please call our 24 hour numbers –

0161 969 6690 for South Manchester and Cheshire

01706 941757for Todmorden, Calderdale and South Lancashire

We are happy to discuss your requirements and provide you with a no-commitment estimate of costs.

Contact us