Breaking Down Funeral Discretionary Costs

A basic funeral cost, on average, £4,078 across the United Kingdom. While this cost is quite high, some families are paying more and often over £6,000 when they choose to include funeral discretionary costs that are not part of a basic or simple funeral service.

Discretionary services are services and purchases that are outside of what is offered in a basic service. It is a choice some families make to add on to their loved one’s funeral to celebrate their life after they have passed.

Here are some of the most common additional costs that you may encounter when planning for a funeral, either your own or for a loved one:

COFFINS – A basic funeral will include a plain lined coffin as a standard. The additional costs come in when the family chooses a coffin that is more expensive and may have other fittings.

TRANSPORTATION – The cost of hiring a hearse and limousine may vary depending on whether you will be using the services of a Funeral Director or hiring the transportation options yourself. While there is no legal requirement to transport a loved one’s remain using a hearse, most families feel that this service is a normal part of funeral costs.

FLOWERS – Flowers have long been part of funerals. The amount spent on flower, on the other hand, is purely in the discretion of the family. You can spend anywhere between £30 – £250 for flowers depending on what you would like to have, from the smaller wreath to a custom tribute set. You may also consider delivery charges on top of the actual amount you pay for flowers.

OFFICIANT or CELEBRANT – The officiant or celebrant is someone who facilitates the funeral service by planning a bespoke service and following an order of service and is normally based on the type of funeral chosen by the family. Religious services often use a religious leader to conduct funeral services. Other families choose to celebrate their loved one’s life using a Civil or Humanist celebrant. It is also good to note that you can take this cost away by choosing to lead the service yourself or splitting the role and responsibilities between several family members.

You can find a mixture of religious or non-religious celebrants through the following links:

Humanist Celebrants
Independent Celebrants
Civil Celebrants

ORGANIST/SINGER – A more traditional part of a Religious service but often also used in non-religious services. It is a family’s choice of what music or hymn they would like and often choose a singer or organist as part of their service.

ANNOUNCEMENTS (Newspapers) – A common practice when someone passes away is announcing, in print, their death to notify friends and the public of their passing. If the services of a Funeral Director is used the cost is normally classed as part of their ‘disbursement’ for third-party costs. You can choose to look for a cheaper option or publication.

HEADSTONES/GRAVESTONES – The options can vary as there are quite a few sources where you can purchase a headstone or gravestone. The price is dependent on the style, size, material, design, text, or customization. You may spend anywhere between £25 to over £1000. You also have various options of where to purchase them, with some people choosing to get them from online retailers such as eBay and Amazon.

PRINTED ORDER OF SERVICE – An Order of Service is a funeral program and is often printed and provided to the attendees as a guide of how the service will be ordered. Some families choose to order their printed Order of Service from printing companies so attendees can also use the document as a funeral keepsake.

VENUE – Some families may choose to hold a reception or wake after the funeral service. Hiring their venue may come at an additional cost to the family.

CATERING – When a family chooses to hold a reception or wake after a funeral service they often offer food for family and friends. Some people choose to do the buffet themselves and most families tend to go for a caterer as the day will be busy and overwhelming for them.

Many families want the best send-off for their loved one but often struggle with the financial responsibilities of doing so. It is good to remember that planning ahead and sharing details for your own funeral will help cut the costs down because your family will know what your preferences are and they can stick to that plan.


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