Celebrating your loved one's life - how and where?

You decide the form the funeral ceremony will take and where it will be held. There are no legal requirements, but the deceased may have left instructions for the content of their funeral in their will or in an Advance Funeral Wishes document, so it is important to look for this information.

Many people in County Durham use a religious minister to conduct the funeral, but civil celebrants or even family members are leading the way to some very personal and fitting funeral ceremonies.

How we help
Hardy's funeral directors will help create the right ceremony for you. We are aware of all the issues such as timing and other practicalities that you need to bear in mind. We also know what is possible at your chosen venue, for example how many people can be accommodated, if there is wheelchair access, and whether there is an organist or if recorded music can be played. 

We will work closely with your chosen minister or celebrant, managing all the small details to ensure the ceremony is a truly fitting farewell.

Religious Ceremonies
You can choose which faith leader you wish to conduct the ceremony or ask us for appropriate suggestions. Most local ministers are familiar with issues of time and the practicalities of the funeral, but we will guide them as well as you about these matters.


Religious services can be conducted at the chosen place of worship, followed by  a short commital ceremony at the crematorium or graveside; or you may wish to hold the full ceremony at the graveside or crematorium.

If you are having hymns or religious readings, we will make sure you are happy with the actual text that will be spoken, as there may be different translations/versions, and the tunes to which the hymns will be sung.  Many ministers will agree to incorporate a personal element into a funeral, such as recorded music or a non-religious reading. A period of silence as well as formal prayers may also be appropriate.

Civil Funerals
Civil Funeral Celebrants conduct non-religious ceremonies which focus on celebrating the life of the deceased, although they can include some religious practice, e.g. a hymn and/or prayer. This type of ceremony reflects a rapidly increasing number of people who wish to have a beautiful, unique and dignified funeral but do not support a wholly religious or wholly non-religious ceremony. 

The ceremony will be personalised to your and your family's needs and can include Poetry, Special Music, Hymns, Prayers, Personalised Eulogy, The Lighting of Candles, Placing of Flowers, other speakers and readings. 

The Celebrant can design and conduct the whole Ceremony, but warmly encourages others to take part if they so wish. Civil funeral celebrants belong to the Institute of Civil Funerals, we have arranged funerals with most of the local celebrants and can help you choose the right one for you. 

Humanist Funerals
The British Humanist Association offers completely secular ceremonies conducted by their humanist officiants. A Humanist ceremony is increasingly common, and is one with no religious content at all. It can be more appropriate for those who neither lived according to religious principles, nor accepted religious views of life or death. 

A Humanist Funeral or memorial ceremony recognises no ‘after-life’, but instead uniquely and affectionately celebrates the life of the person who has died. Proper tribute is paid to them, to the life they lived, the connections they made and have left behind, and as with “traditional” funerals, friends, relatives and acquaintances can express their feelings and share their memories.