How to plan your own funeral + join my Twitter chat with Cooperative Funeralcare

This article was updated in June 2024

A couple of weeks ago I had an appointment with Cooperative Funeralcare, an appointment to plan my own funeral. It doesn’t exactly sound like a day out at the races does it? Funnily enough though, it turned out to be a pretty fascinating couple of hours.

I went along to Cooperative Funeralcare in Taunton, taking my boyfriend with me, knowing that he would ask lots of good questions. It was part of a project I’m doing at the moment with The Cooperative, exploring the different strands of their work and putting their services to the test, and I was interested to find out exactly what would be involved in planning my own funeral.

I’ve played a part in planning a couple of funerals, but they have been in those classic circumstances where you are all a little bit emotional and overwhelmed and plans are made in a rush. No one is 100% sure of what the person who has died would have actually wanted and you muddle through, doing the best you can, (not to mention trying to find the money to foot the bill).

A pre-paid funeral plan takes a different approach; instead of leaving the stress, cost and decision making process up to your loved ones, you invest a little bit of time and money upfront and make things simple.

It sounds like such an obvious idea doesn’t it? You get to choose exactly what you want and pay for it up front at today’s prices. This means it ends up being a lot cheaper, (the cost of funerals has doubled just in the last ten years!), and it means those days and weeks after your death are that much easier for your family. So why don’t we all do it?

I guess ultimately we just don’t want to think about it; no one wants to face up to their own mortality do they? And yet it’s no different really to writing a will and most of us realise the importance of this in taking the stress and complexity out of our own death.

The extra bonus of planning your own funeral while you’re still feeling perky is that it can actually be quite interesting. The options available are quite amazing and it can be pretty fun to think about how your funeral, including from the flower to the customized funeral presentation to be shown, can be created to best reflect your personality and help your friends and family enjoy a celebration of your life.

Take hearses for example. I expect that most people just assume a hearse is a hearse, but there are actually lot of different types of hearse to choose from – a motorbike and sidecar, Landrover, 1972 Mercedes, or perhaps a Japanese Buddhist hearse? Have you ever talked to your parents or grandparents about how they would like to arrive at their funeral?

Japanese Buddhist hearse

And then of course there’s the music.

Cooperative Funeralcare conducted a survey recently of popular funeral music and the findings clearly show that funerals don’t have to be stuffy, sombre affairs.

Here’s what pinched the top spot:

A classic right? I’m thinking of something like Ring of Fire for when my coffin glides into the furnace.

And can you guess what came in at number four music wise?

I doubt you will, so I will tell you:

The Funeral Director at the Taunton branch was fantastic. He talked through every stage clearly and comprehensively, giving us all the options at the same time as being careful not to overwhelm us. His open and caring manner made us feel immediately at ease and his passion for the families he supports was evident. We both agreed that we would definitely go to Cooperative Funeralcare in Taunton with any funerals we might need to organise.

Have you ever thought about your own funeral and what you would like to happen? Would you consider starting a conversation with loved ones about what they would like? It’s a sensitive subject but if there’s one thing we can be sure of, it’s that we are all going to have a funeral – even more, that we only have one, so make it a good one.

To find out more about pre-paid funeral plans and all of the different ways in which you can personalise a funeral, come along and join my Twitter chat with Cooperative Funeralcare on Wednesday May 13th at 1pm – I’d love to chat to you!

Pre-paid funeral plans




  1. 12 May, 2015 / 7:07 pm

    After my Grandad died, my Nan arranged her funeral and when the time came my Mum was very thankful. More recently my MIL passed away. We knew a lot of her wishes as she had talked with us, but writing them down is a good idea as people forget things in highly emotional times x

  2. 13 May, 2015 / 10:52 am

    LOVE LOVE LOVE that number four is the match of the day theme… brilliant! My Nan had ‘If my friends could see me now” at her funeral which was her choice, after lots of tears hearing that song pepped the whole room up x

  3. 13 May, 2015 / 7:16 pm

    haha imagine having the match of the day theme tune! I really don’t think I’ve spent much time thinking about my funeral, it gives me the creeps a little!

  4. 13 May, 2015 / 8:27 pm

    Seriously – Match of the Day?! Suppose it would put a smile on people’s faces at a time when they might not be feeling very happy though. I can really see that having a funeral organised would save loved ones the heartache of having to second guess what you would want. We really need to get better at talking about death in this country – it’s still such a a taboo subject.

  5. 13 May, 2015 / 10:01 pm

    I love that that’s the most popular song, such a good choice for a funeral! x

  6. 14 May, 2015 / 6:11 pm

    Haha the annoying thing about funeral music is that you can’t be the one to choose it! Unless you let people know your wishes before you die of course! x

  7. 15 May, 2015 / 2:10 am

    My Great Aunt actually died last week and the funeral was today (she was 90 and have lived an action packed life) – apparently it went exactly how she wanted it and planned to have it, surrounded by friends. I kinda know how I would love mine to be and expressing that to the ones you love just in case is important

    Laura x

    • Jo Middleton
      15 May, 2015 / 9:57 am

      Really sorry to hear about your Great Aunt Laura, but wonderful that she her funeral was exactly as she would have wanted it.

  8. 27 May, 2015 / 5:55 pm

    I worked in an alternative funeral directors when I was a teenager. It was something of an eyeopener!

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