Spiritual, Non-Religious and Humanist Funerals - My Involvement From Start to Finish 

When you contact me for a non-religious funeral in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire or Oxfordshire, I will arrange a mutually convenient time to meet. This is usually at your home but can be at my home if preferred. Our meeting will take between one and two hours and the main purpose of this meeting is to help me to gain a picture of the person who has passed away, along with information that can be used in the funeral. It is preferable that a maximum of three people be present at this meeting with me although more can be accommodated if necessary. Having said all of this, we must consider the government restrictions regarding the Coronavirus at the time. It is far from ideal if we are unable to meet, face to face, however we can 'meet' via skype or telephone.

Please call the following number for enquiries or to book:

  07458 985365






First a family meeting

What a family meeting entails

When we meet I will have a series of questions to ask and these will be of two types. Firstly, the way the funeral is to be shaped and its content. The content is very much down to you although I provide guidance throughout. I am there to facilitate this and I will suggest a structure for the funeral. Secondly, and most of our meeting, will be based upon me gathering information about the deceased along with a discussion on readings and music for the ceremony.

The importance of this meeting

This will allow me to build up a picture of the deceased and it includes what we term a tribute. Within this we refer to the deceased dates of birth and death, the names of parents, possibly grandparents, siblings, children and grandchildren. Of course, this all depends upon the circumstances and the age of the deceased. We will discuss the person’s education, the work that they did, hobbies and interests and passions and I will be asking for any anecdotes about him or her. All of this helps me to present a fond history of the person whose life we are celebrating and remembering.

Organising the ceremony

We will discuss who is to take part in the ceremony. In many cases it falls to me to present the entire ceremony, but in other cases, family members or friends contribute to the ceremony. This can be by way of a eulogy, or by readings or poems or even, in some cases, a person can sing. The format of the ceremony as I hope you are beginning to realise, is somewhat flexible.





Determining the music for the non-religious funeral ceremony

There are usually three pieces of music played at the ceremony. The first piece of music is playing either as the deceased person’s coffin is brought into the chapel with everyone following, or the congregation will already be seated in the chapel when the coffin is brought in.

The second piece of music is played during a time of reflection, and this is often followed by a period of silence.

The final piece of music is played as the congregation leaves the chapel or, if there is to be a burial, as the coffin is carried out followed by the congregation. The choice of music is entirely down to the family and I can provide guidance if necessary.


non-religious funerals in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire woodland burial


non-religious funerals in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire by humanist Aidan Bartley

Final parting words

One of the, perhaps, more painful aspects of our discussion is how the committal is to be carried out. The committal constitutes a series of words spoken by me, and these constitute the final goodbye to the deceased. The committal also will see the closing of the curtains around the coffin if that is required, however, often the family asks that the curtains do not close. Again, the choice is entirely up to you. After a few words of closure, the ceremony ends.





Need help arranging a non-religious funeral?

If you or your recently deceased loved one's world view is against religious funerals, then a humanist or non-religious funeral is what you are looking for. I am a fully trained humanist funeral celebrant and I will help you, your family and friends of the family to celebrate and fondly remember the life that your loved one lived. Humanist celebrants are trained extensively and, throughout their careers, are regularly observed with a view to maintaining high, professional standards.


Please contact me by phone to begin the process:  07458 985365

Aidan Bartley MA (Oxon)


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