As with a church led service, there are options as to whether the body can be cremated or buried, but obviously the burial will not be in a church yard. If burial is the preference, then a woodland or natural burial site is normally preferable where the body can be interred properly in a coffin following the service. We can go through all the options open to you in the area you require.
It will be important if you opt for a natural burial that you understand the rules that govern the site of your choosing beforehand, such as whether a memorial stone or feature can be placed on the site (a lot don't allow this), opening times etc.
If the body is going to be cremated then the service typically takes place at the crematorium. If they are to be buried, then it will take place at the graveside in the natural burial place chosen.
A typical Humanist service consists of all or some of the following elements:-
-> Introductory music (not hymns). This can either be live (such as a violinist or suitable band) or pre-recorded.
-> Welcoming speech or words from the celebrant or the person leading the service. This may include general thoughts on life and death but will not refer to anything religious throughout.
-> The tribute itself - this will include reflection on the life of the person who has died, their personality, likes and dislikes, and can be tailored to be as solemn or more cheerful as you'd like. Some people who know they are going to die write their own tribute to be read out at the service.
-> Family and friends can now be given the option to step up and read poetry and prose if they would like to, or to recount personal memories.
This is then followed by a period of reflection, where all present can sit to think their own thoughts about the deceased. Some choose to play music at this point.
-> The committal of the body is next - either the coffin is moved through the curtains to begin the incineration process, or lowered into the ground if being buried.
Closing words are now said by the celebrant and the final music is played as the mourners leave.
-> You may also like to include Ritual actions such as Candle lighting, a collage of photographic memories, some crematorium chapels offer the facility of a slide show of your loved ones life.