Planning the funeral

You may have begun to think about your child's funeral before they died. If you have religious or other requirements that may affect the timing of your child's funeral it's important to talk to the team caring for your child. Try and talk to your family and others about the funeral. It is important that you are not rushed when planning the funeral.

Funeral services can be arranged in a number of different settings, for example in a place of worship or at a cemetery or crematorium. Your funeral director can give you advice.

  • You can have a religious service
  • You can have a non-religious or humanist service
  • You can decide not to have any service at all and to arrange your own ceremony or special occasion.
Organising the funeral did probably keep me going because I knew exactly what I wanted.


If you decide on a burial for your child it is important that you visit local cemeteries and choose the one that is most suitable. You will need to pay for both the plot and the headstone. It is also worth checking with the funeral directors and cemetery officials the cemetery rules about the types of headstones that are accepted.

If your child is to be buried, you have some choices:

  • A burial can form a part of the service with everybody attending
  • You can arrange for this part of the service to be private or for close family only.


If your child is to be cremated, you can plan the service in a number of ways:

  • You can ask for the committal (the withdrawing of the coffin) to be during the service
  • You can ask for the coffin to remain in view until after you have left the service
  • You can ask for the coffin to be out of sight for the entire service.

You will be able to choose what will happen to your child's ashes:

  • You can arrange to have the ashes buried at the crematorium
  • You can arrange to have the ashes scattered in the garden of rest
  • You can arrange to collect the ashes to bury or scatter yourself.

Some parents like to scatter their child's ashes in a place that is special to them. Others choose to keep the ashes with them at home. Whatever you choose has to be right for you and your family. All of these decisions can be discussed with your funeral director.

The funeral

Reviewed July 2014, next planned review 2017