A Guide To Winter Funerals

The winter is here to stay for a while and if you are planning a funeral, there are additional things you need to consider. Even though the weather is cold, rest assured you can give your loved one the send off they deserve. Whether you are burying someone or planning to scatter their ashes, don’t let the time of year impact how you say your goodbyes. Here we have put together a guide to winter funerals to help ensure it goes to plan. 

Choose a service during the day

If you opt for a morning or evening service it’s going to be a lot colder than during the day. While midday is still going to be cold, it’s likely to be milder and therefore more comfortable for those in attendance. If you are having a burial, the ground might have also had a chance to thaw a bit from any overnight frost, making it easier for the hole to be dug out for either the casket or memory tree to be buried. 

Be prepared for unpredictable weather

When planning a winter funeral you need to be prepared for the weather to change at a moment's notice. Plan for eventualities such as snow, sleet, hail or rain and if you are going to change any aspects of the day should these occur. You could have umbrellas to hand for people to cover themselves with and a contingency date if the weather is so bad that the funeral gets called off. If you are spreading ashes such as on the water for example, you won’t be able to go out on a boat if the weather’s poor and the sea is too rough. The ground might also not be able to be dug out if the rain is torrential or covered in a thick layer of snow.

Have provisions to keep attendees warm

As well as providing umbrellas or asking attendees to bring them, it’s a good idea to have other provisions to keep people warm. This could include a table with hot drinks such as tea and coffee and portable heating lamps. Depending on where you're holding the service, you could consider a bonfire or fire pit. With this you could get people to write a message on a piece of paper before placing it into the flames as a tribute to the person who has passed. 

Think about the type of flowers you want

When it comes to winter, there are many beautiful flowers you can choose that reflect the time of year. You could include foliage typical of winter such as eucalyptus and pine cones as well as holly and ivy - these will last longer given the colder temperatures and keep the memorial spot looking better for longer. If you are choosing to bury their ashes with a memorial tree, choose a tree that is designed to thrive in the winter such as a fir, birch or dogwood tree.

Consider how far people are having to travel 

If people are having to travel far and wide, winter weather can wreak havoc on travel plans. Snow and ice can cause roads to close and trains and buses to be cancelled. Because of this, it can be a nice idea to find somewhere centrally that you can all travel to for the service. Alternatively, have plans in place in case the weather hinders people's ability to get there. You could have a virtual service which is streamed to loved ones online that can’t make it, or encourage people to stay over somewhere close the night before.

Advise warm clothing

Funerals tend to call for formal clothing, but make sure people dress accordingly for the weather too. Advise scarves, gloves and hats and make sure people know there will be a fair bit of time where you’ll all be outside. Let them know the funeral will happen come rain or shine so dress appropriately. Layers tend to be best as they can be removed to accommodate for the warmer inside temperatures after the ceremony.

Winter can be a beautiful time to hold a funeral, just make sure you are prepared for the season. Whether you are choosing to have a traditional funeral, to scatter the ashes of the person who has passed, or plant a memorial tree, plan ahead and be prepared just in case anything has to be changed. For advice on planning a winter funeral or to find out more about different types of urn and memory trees, get in touch with us at The Living Urn, we would love to help.