Funeral hymns and memorial music for services, wakes and celebrations

music can play an important role in celebrating the life of someone

Music plays a key role in setting the mood at a funeral, wake or celebration. Choosing the right funeral hymns and music highlights the character of your loved one - and helps bring a personal touch to how you say goodbye.                              

Funeral hymns remain an important part of saying goodbye to a loved one for some people, while others find more contemporary and personal music better suits the character of the person who had passed. If you want to celebrate your life or that of a loved one, then your probably going to choose the latter…after all, it will be the party of a lifetime! Below are some tips on music at the three different farewell events.


The music, poetry and readings played depend on the type of funeral you want. Even if you don't want a sad and sombre occasion, your family and friends will be grieving, 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, the amount of and type of secular music that will be allowed will be limited.

Woodland burials can last longer and can combine the funeral ceremony and a more celebratory event immediately after. You could include an outdoor party in the summer in the field or woodland where your body is buried as one of your funeral plan wishes. Also select the music and poetry for it. You may want a live band or singer(s) to perform, though it will have to be acoustic music, not amplified.

You can find ideas for funeral hymns on our Spotify playlist.

Reception, or wake

The funeral reception (often called the wake) is the gathering that follows the funeral, and usually held at a different venue to accommodate more people and have a less sombre atmosphere. While a small number of relatives and close friends might 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 their tributes to you or your loved one whose funeral you are organising.

Memorial party

Memorial parties are becoming 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, or that of the deceased loved one.

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 members or friends who play in a band?  Think of the pieces you would like them to play, and put these decisions in your funeral plan 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.


Photo by Tyler Callahan on Unsplash


Tags: funeral hymns hymns for funerals music for memorials memorial music

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