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  • Writer's pictureRuth Jewell

Where to Hold Your Service

View from the car park at Wethele Manor

You don't have to hold your service at the Crematorium, so why not choose somewhere that is far more appropriate to you?

For some people a service at the Crematorium is something they are very happy with, but for others they want something that is far more meaningful. I am always happy to go with the family's wishes, but my heart sings when they ask if their service can be held somewhere different, as I know that we will be able to create an even more beautiful send off for their loved one.

Choosing a different venue can be as simple as deciding on a place that they loved to be, such as your back garden, a local village hall, Pub, hotel or golf club. It may just be that you would like to find an alternative venue, that can cater to your needs for the celebration of life that you are planning.

I recently had the honour of delivering a unique celebration. The first part was at the Crematorium, but it was very intimate and gentle. We then headed to Wethele Manor, where we were joined by more friends and colleagues. This enabled us to hold a very personal and more meaningful celebration, in a far more relaxed atmosphere.

Wethele Manor was chosen for a variety of reasons, but it ticked all the boxes perfectly. They have a large marquee, that is attached to one of the beautiful old buildings. There was a bar available and they were happy to provide delicious catering (pizza's were being baked in pizza ovens in the courtyard as I left). Equally they were happy to accommodate all of the family's needs and requests.

The views of the surrounding countryside, and landscaped gardens, were stunning, and their bookings give sole use, meaning that only those celebrating together were on site.

Whilst the marquee is generally used for weddings, it was absolutely perfect as the venue for a loved one's farewell celebration. The round tables allowed the chairs to be placed in horseshoes, meaning that everyone could see those speaking without having to twist in their chairs. There was plenty of room for a table full of memory items and photographs, and the catering tables were laid out down one side of the room. The comfy sofas and chairs added a relaxed feel to the event too.

My photos were taken when I visited the week before the service, so don't do justice to how beautiful it looked when it was set up on the day.

The staff were so helpful, and nothing was too much trouble. The family had chosen to have the service filmed, so that it could be watched by those who couldn't attend. Whilst it wasn't possible to live stream it, the filming option worked well. AV Interactive did a fabulous job, and were very discreet, setting up two cameras before everyone arrived, and tucking themselves into an alcove during the service. The video was ready for the family very quickly, a lovely reminder of all the wonderful memories that were shared, and for those who couldn't attend on the day a great way of helping them to feel included.

When you are not limited by time (we all know that Crematoriums are notorious for their 'one in, one out' style), and have sole use of a venue, then you really can make the celebration bespoke and meaningful.

Some families choose to hold the celebration one day, and have a quiet cremation or burial the following morning. Some choose to hold the celebration first, with the coffin present. Wethele are more than happy for the coffin to be present at celebrations, should that be the option you prefer. This gives even more flexibility, and often your loved one then becomes even more a part of the celebrations, with time for everyone to pay their respects in their own way.

As a Celebrant I am seeing more and more families choosing options other than a service at a Crematorium. Each of them is very different, just as we are all different, and allows the family to celebrate their loved one in their own special way.

I am always happy to talk through the options available (they are endless), so please don't hesitate to contact me if you would like to discuss your ideas.

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