"The Good Funeral Awards are national awards, based on feedback from customers, that recognise excellence in the Funeral Industry."
We're delighted that Holly's Funerals was awarded "Best Direct Cremation Provider" at the 2017 Good Funeral awards, held in London last month. Winning this award is particularly important to us as we tend to use Direct Cremation in a different way to most other funeral directors.
So what is direct cremation? This is when a body is delivered to a crematorium for cremation without a service or mourners present. It's often seen as a low cost, no fuss option and this is how most funeral directors tend to promote it to clients. Because of this, many people also see Direct Cremation as inconsiderate and disrespectful.
However, this doesn't need to be the case and, in contrast, we use the Direct Cremation option to help families achieve a far more personal and beautiful service than your standard crematorium service will allow. We're delighted that so many of our clients agree with us and supported us in winning this award.
In our eyes, the Direct Cremation option is just a way of separating the Funeral Service from the physical Cremation Process - two separate things that don't necessarily need to take place at the same venue or even on the same day.
Separating the Ceremony and the Process allows far greater flexibility and a wider range of options for families trying to arrange a more personal service.
The average time allowed for a crematorium service is just 30 minutes, not long if you have several people who want to share memories and include other ceremonial aspects. By having the service elsewhere, families have more control over the time available for their service and can include multiple eulogies, live music performances, video footage etc. In fact almost anything they want.
Crematoria are generally busy at most times of the year and you'll often have services both before and after yours. You are allocated a set time period and there can be no hold ups. This can sometimes make it feel quite industrialised and there is no flexibility. By choosing a venue without these time pressures can make the whole funeral less stressful and more relaxed.
I've been in many crematoria chapels; they tend to be fairly bland and functional places designed for fast and efficient turnaround of funeral services. They have very little character and are difficult to personalise. By looking elsewhere, it might be possible to find a more suitable venue, perhaps somewhere that has a special connection to the person who has died and which can be decorated and personalised to make it really special.
Alternative venues can include churches, village halls, gardens, golf clubs or marquees and we've arranged funeral services in all of these spaces with quite beautiful effect. Although not always possible, partly due to our English weather, some of the most beautiful funerals services we've helped arrange have been held in the garden of the deceased, either under a marquee or even in the open air.
Providing more time and allowing greater flexibility gives people the opportunity to say goodbye properly. Without the constraints of the crematorium, we've been party to many beautiful ceremonies and witnessed many spontaneous outpourings of love that otherwise just would not have been possible.
Whilst many people will be satisfied with the Crematorium based funeral service, it's nice to know that options are available for those that want a different type of ceremony. I know which I prefer, but there are definitely no rights and wrongs in your choice of service, it's what's best for you that counts.
If you would like more information about this topic, or any other funeral related advice, please feel free to contact us without obligation.