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Funeral, reception and a party!

When considering the music you want played, remember that a funeral is short, and not all the people who are important to you will attend. The reception is more appropriate for upbeat music and more people will be there to enjoy it. And why not have a memorial party to celebrate your life - the party of a lifetime!

Playlists for your funeral, funeral reception and celebration party will contain very different music. Below is a brief description of the events and how to select the appropriate music.


The music, poetry and readings played depend on the type of funeral you want. Even if you don't want a depressing and sombre occasion, your family and friends will be sad, so the music and readings at the funeral should take this into account.

Bear in mind that the funeral service/ceremony is unlikely to last more than an hour. They are usually less as crematoria and cemeteries have shorter slots - usually 30 minutes. You can have double slots though this costs more money.

Church funerals can be longer with the agreement of the vicar. However you will be limited to the amount of and type of secular music that will be allowed.

Woodland burials can last longer and can combine the funeral ceremony and a more celebratory event immediately after. You could include a celebratory outdoor party in the summer where your body is buried as one of your wishes. And plan the music and poetry for it.

Reception, or wake

The funeral reception (often called the wake) is the gathering that immediately follows the funeral, and usually held at a different venue to accommodate more people and have a less sombre atmosphere. When a small number of relatives and close friends attend the funeral ceremony, a wider circle of people can be invited to the reception gathering.

Grieving is likely to give way to shared memories of the life that has ended. To create the right mood select suitable music, videos, readings and the guests who you want to give tributes.

Memorial party

Memorial parties are becoming more popular. These are held at least a month after the death, or at a suitable anniversary such as the birthday of the parted.

So take the opportunity to plan the celebration of your life.

A memorial party could also feature live music.

If you want a party where everyone dances the night away, choose the right music. Or if you want them to enjoy an aria that was special to you, put that on the list. Add a particular comedy sketch if you want them to share your sense of humour.

A memorial party could also feature live music. Do you have close family member or friend who plays in a band?  Think of the pieces you would like them to play, and put these decision in your Lifebox so that your executor and family will organise the party you want.

Other things you might want to add to the arrangements are making it a charity fund raising event by having an entry ticket price, and including an auction. (PH)

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