Modern living and a multitude of belief systems prevalent in our society have caused a trend shift in the way funerals are held.  Over the last century, funerals and the attitudes towards them have changed from a sombre period of mourning, to a celebration of life.  This change in attitude has somewhat reinvented the traditional funeral to meaningfully commemorate the life of a person.  Because of this many people are now planning how they would like their own funeral arranged.

Do it your way

Planning your own funeral has so many benefits for both you and your family.  Firstly, you are able to create the most meaningful send-off for you. From the choice of music played, sung or performed to your chosen flowers, to what you may wish to take with you in your coffin.  Joanna Lumley has spoken out about the importance of planning your own funeral and her own wish to be buried in a cardboard box.  Her coffin, she hopes, will be painted and filled with books, ‘some I haven’t finished or haven’t read’ and ‘some feathers and nice bits and pieces, the odd note. Just on the journey for the next bit.’

In addition to having your own wishes for your final send-off, having already made these choices leaves your family with little to organise, deliberate on and no difficult decisions to make at an already tough time.  Stating your ‘Expression of Wishes’ is a complimentary and completely confidential service from Beckfords.

You simply fill out a form which guides you through everything you need to consider and just leave it filed with them or with your personal documents such as wills until the time comes.  This is a free service and the Expression of Wishes for your funeral can be changed at any time.

But what kind of funeral do you want?

Whilst it’s viewed as refreshing to have so many different options available, it can be a little daunting figuring out how your own beliefs fit into a funeral type.  Here’s a quick guide to the options available.


A traditional funeral is based on Christian beliefs with the choice of readings and hymns to accompany the ceremony and can incorporate at your request, a life-centred element. This type of ceremony would normally be carried out in a church or chapel.


A funeral usually conducted by a civil celebrant which can be life-centred and include non-religious and religious material.  Sometimes held in parish halls, community centres or Le Foulon Chapel and smaller funerals can be held at some funeral homes.


A humanist funeral ceremony celebrates a life without employing religious rituals and

is conducted by a humanist celebrant. As humanists are atheist, they are unwilling to include religious hymns or words. They are life-centred funerals with tailored personal touches. Much the same as a traditional funeral, time is taken for poems, music and reflection.


It is also possible to incorporate elements of different funeral types for a completely bespoke service.

All faiths

Each faith including Jewish, Hindu, Muslim and Baha’i has many different funeral rituals and all requirements are accommodated by Beckfords Funeral Services.

Beckfords Funeral Services are Guernsey’s longest established funeral directors, renowned for their experienced and professional staff.  In the state-of-the-art, purpose-built facility, they have a perfect venue for any type of funeral.  Beckfords also specialise in the organisation of funerals at any venue and have long-standing relationships with the clergy and relevant professionals across the island.