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What is Poetic Endings?

Poetic Endings is a modern funeral service creating meaningful and relevant funerals.  We also put together engaging events helping people to engage with all matters of mortality.

Who is behind Poetic Endings?

Poetic Endings was founded in 2015 by funeral celebrant Louise Winter.  Impressed with the options she discovered existed, but concerned that families didn't know of the choices available to them, she decided to bring her unique creativity to the world of funerals, helping families to create truly meaningful funerals.  

What's the difference between a funeral celebrant and a funeral director?

A funeral director will take care of your loved one and handle all the relevant arrangements at the time of death.

A funeral celebrant works with someone (or a family) to create a funeral and then take the service.

We're very happy to work alongside your existing funeral director, or help you to choose a funeral director who will be kind, flexible and accommodating to your wishes.

Are you a funeral pre-planning/financial scheme?

No!  We're an entirely new kind of service, unlike anything else that exists. We combine creativity, planning and knowledge of the funeral industry.

This isn't a pre-paid funeral or insurance scheme.  We suggest you think very carefully before investing in a scheme and consider what’s included and what will incur additional costs.  If you're looking for a funeral plan, we suggest looking at GFG Prepaid Funeral Plan.

We'd encourage you to have an open and honest conversation with your family about your funeral wishes, rather than investing in a pre-paid funeral scheme.

Do I have to hold a funeral in a church or a crematorium?

Here's the headline news - no! 

You can do whatever you want to do.  We work with venues to host funerals and wakes outside of traditional settings.  You may be surprised by what is possible, from restored chapels to art galleries, barns and museums.  You can even hold the funeral at home, or in your garden.

Don't feel restricted to the often strange and restricted environment of the outdated crematorium! Life doesn't fit into a 30 minute time slot, and neither does death.

What kind of funeral can I have?

Pretty much anything you like.

Your funeral may be joyful, solemn, sad, relaxed or formal, depending on the circumstances.  You may choose to call it a funeral, a festival, a celebration of life, or something entirely different.  It might be extravagant, it might be blissfully simple.  

Whether you're full of ideas or don't know where to start, get in touch and we can talk it through.

A bespoke funeral?  Sounds expensive!  Is it?

It depends on the funeral you want!  By suggesting modern and flexible funeral directors who provide the services you want, rather than a package, we can cut out a lot of extra costs (limousines, extravagant coffins, unwanted flowers etc).  You can then use that money to create a truly personal and meaningful funeral (or spend it on something else entirely!).

We're also able to create simple, stylish and affordable funerals, regardless of your budget.  We can suggest funeral directors who will be willing to provide a simple and affordable service that caters to your individual needs, or people who can facilitate taking care of your loved one at home.

Do you have any examples of families who have done it differently?

When Josh Edmonds died in an accident whilst travelling, his family decided they didn't want a traditional funeral.  This moving film tells the story of the healing power of creating a funeral ritual without recourse to conventional funeral directors.

Funerals don't have to fit into the conventional format.  You can read about a natural burial where everyone wore white and no one said a word here.  The only sound was the singing of the birds and the rustling of the wind in the trees.  It was powerful, moving and very brave.

Can you help me plan my own funeral?

Yes!  We'd love to help.  We offer a funeral planning service that combines creativity, planning and knowledge of funerals.  It's not just designed to help you create a meaningful funeral, but to help you live your life.  Together we'll explore who you are in life to work out who you might be in death.

A funeral plan is about so much more than the music you choose and the dress code you'd like.  We'll help you to work out who your funeral is for, how your death will affect the people you leave behind, and how best to help them in the process of acknowledging and accepting your death.   We'll also work out the sort of funeral directors you might want your loved ones to use (if at all).

Your funeral plan might be as simple as giving your loved ones permission to do whatever it is they need to do.  But without a plan in place, they may be left wondering.

Planning your funeral is a powerful process to go through and not just for people who are facing the end of their life.  We've worked with everyone from a 21 year old to a young mum concerned about the impact her death might have on her children.  Everyone is going to die, and we don't know when that will be.

Remember that your funeral wishes aren't legally binding.  We really recommend having an honest and open dialogue with your loved ones about your wishes.  Putting together a beautiful funeral plan is a way of opening up what can be a difficult and awkward conversation.  It doesn't need to be!

We can work with you on an individual basis to plan your funeral, or work with you and your loved ones in a collaborative process.

Can you help me arrange a funeral for my loved one?

Of course.  We can help you to work out what you'd like and then make it happen.  

Please get in touch and we can talk it through.

What do I do when someone dies?

Don't panic!  

Whatever you do, don't pick up the phone to the local funeral director without considering whether they're best suited to your needs.  Give yourself time and space to consider the options.  Some local funeral directors are big corporate chains disguised as independent family businesses and may not offer you a flexible, transparent and understanding service.  Consider whether the funeral directors you employ are profit or purpose driven.

There's no rush to make a decision.  Even if you're overwhelmed with grief, take a look at the Good Funeral Guide to make an informed choice. 

You can look a the government's online guide for practical help and guidance following a death.

Who knew death was so interesting!  I want to know more!

Who knew?  If you're intrigued by what you've read so far and would like to learn more, here are a few of the people worth checking out.

  • Take a look at the only not-for-profit, independent guide to all things funeral related at the Good Funeral Guide.  We know where you can find the good guys in Funeralworld.  We are a small team who go above and beyond in our commitment to improve the world of funerals, and have had a big impact on forcing the industry to behave transparently.
  • The Natural Death Centre has been helping people stay informed and empowered for 22 years.  Don't let the name put you off!  Even if you think you have no interest in the world of death, the charity's three part handbook is fascinating and totally life-changing.  It opens up a world of options and is essential reading for anyone who works in the world of death and dying, or is just curious about how things can be done differently.
  • If you're wondering what enlightened funeral directors might look like, have a look at Rupert and Claire Callender at the Green Funeral Company.  They're bold and brave and will laugh and cry with you, every step of the way.  The pair said some unconventional yet wonderful things in a TED talk about funerals which you can watch here.  
  • If you're in London and looking for a wonderfully modern and flexible funeral director, call Compassionate Funerals and have a chat.  Tell Hasina or Allistair that Louise sent you and they'll be delighted to help. They've just opened up in Wanstead and look nothing like a traditional funeral directors - their space is light, bright, tasteful and modern.  No stuffy suits, overpriced coffins or top hats here.  They're small but friendly and will go above and beyond to help you get the funeral you want.  I can't recommend them highly enough.
  • Albins, based in South London, are the absolute best traditional funeral directors in London. They lead the way in how to do things properly.  They taught me how to walk as part of a cortege and their choreography at a funeral is unrivalled.  Traditional, proper and highly polished.  
  • If you're looking for a funeral director who will work to a tight budget, yet still provide a good service, call Angela at Funerals-on-a-Budget.  A good funeral doesn't need to cost the earth, but absolutely doesn't need to be a compromise.  
  • If you're struggling to pay for a funeral, call the no-nonsense Fiona at Quaker Social Action's Down to Earth.  She'll help you to reduce the cost of a funeral, and access government support and charitable grants.  Don't let the cost of a funeral force you into debt.  Fiona's on hand to help in a kind yet practical way.
  • Based in New York?  Please please please take a look at Amy Cunningham's new funeral service, Fitting Tribute Funerals in Brooklyn.  She's an all round proper person, running a much needed service for people who want something inspired and inspiring.  I wouldn't hesitate to use her services for my own loved ones, if I was based in New York!
  • If cost is really important to you, have a look at new online service Funeral Booker.  You can specify exactly what you want for your funeral, and get prices from independent funeral directors in your area.  When arranging a funeral, remember that service is just as important as price.  Don't compromise. 
  • If you're curious about making preparations for the end of life, follow Anna Lyons on Twitter.  She's an end-of-life doula and art lecturer, and posts informative and interesting content on issues related to death and dying.  She's a lovely and kind hearted person too.
  • I love the Twitter feed of Canadian documentary makers When You Die.  Their content is always straightforward, beautiful and oh so enlightening.