Please note that our ways of working have had to temporarily change while we are in the period of coronavirus restrictions. Please see our “What to Do” page for upto date information.

Planning a Funeral

Whether you’re here as a result of bereavement or because you’re considering planning your own funeral, you probably have many questions. This page answers questions relating to a death that has already occurred.

There are several things you must do in the first few days after someone dies. For a basic list of where to start when someone dies try the Government website. Otherwise the two main things to do are:


1) Get a medical certificate from a GP or hospital doctor. You’ll need this to register the death.

2) Register the death within 5 days. You’ll then get the documents you need for the funeral.

We can’t register a death for you, but we can help arrange an appointment at the registry office for you and even come with you if you would like us to. You’ll need to have decided beforehand whether a burial or cremation will be taking place so that the correct paperwork can be issued. We can help you think through all your options.

Appointing an Undertaker

At the same time you will need to consider the extent to which you need help to plan and carry out a funeral. For most people the practicalities and emotional strain of carrying out a funeral without support is too much, and so an undertaker is appointed.

Before you appoint someone though, think through what you do and don’t want to happen – do you want a package or do you want more say in what happens and how much you get involved? Does the funeral director you’re talking to have the flexibility to enable you to get involved in the ways you need to? Do you need the person who has died to be embalmed? (it’s not a legal requirement) Do you need to pay for extra cars? Have you sought a few quotes and are you clear on the prices you would be paying before committing?

For more things to consider do take a look at our FAQ page

Do you have to have a funeral?

When it comes to the question of funerals, there is no law that says you have to have one, but it does state that you must:

dispose of the body of the person who has died by burial, cremation or any other means (Births and Deaths Registration)

Usually the options are as follows

The majority of people in the UK opt for cremation. With urban cemetery spaces becoming more sparse, and our changing cultural attitudes the rate has grown from around 30% to over 70% of deaths in the last fifty years.

Depending on whether you choose cremation or burial, there are a few legal requirements which need to be adhered to. Other than that the procedures for arranging these funerals are quite straightforward.

Some people opt for the ceremony to take place on the same day at the same location. Others feel that restrictions such as the size or feel of the venue, or the tightly allocated time slots, can feel like a barrier to creating a truly unique funeral. If you have these concerns then it might be worth considering splitting the ceremony from the cremation. It is possible to hold a service in another location. You can then arrange the cremation later either as an attended, family only service, or as a direct cremation.

We have connections already with a number of crematoria and cemeteries in the West Midlands but are happy to work with others that we may not already be familiar with.

Unattended cremation (often called direct cremation) essentially separates the cremation from the ceremony, allowing you more space and time to plan your memorial.

In this instance we would take the person who has died, at an appropriate time to the crematorium without family or friends in attendance, and we would return the ashes to the family as appropriate.

A ceremony may have taken place in advance at a different location or, as is often the case, the family will arrange for a ceremony at a later date in relation to the scattering or burial of the ashes.

This is an option that is becoming more popular around the country for two main reasons. The first being that more and more people are finding that the time restriction and environment of the crematorium does not fit with their needs and wishes. Secondly, with the rising cost of funerals an unattended cremation costs less.

Whatever your reason, an unattended cremation will allow you to focus on a ceremony that can take place at a time and location that is both meaningful and memorable. Just let us know if you would like us to help you plan and co-ordinate that ceremony.

Buttercups at Westall Park Burial GroundArguably the most beautiful option, is a Natural or Woodland Burial.

A natural burial ground might be an existing flower meadow, a site where woodland is being established or more mature parkland. More information and lists of burial grounds near you can be found on the Natural Death Centre’s website

A natural or woodland burial site can provide a peaceful location for a funeral ceremony and is a place where family and friends can feel at peace on subsequent visits as they sit or stroll amongst the trees, flowers and wildlife.

Sunrising natural burial funeralNatural Burials don’t have the same time restrictions as the alternatives, and since they have never been considered a traditional type of funeral there is no expectation about how a ceremony should be conducted. Here you really do have the freedom to celebrate a life in your own way and in your own time.

The only point you may need to think about is that some sites are more ecologically concerned than others. This means that you would need to consider how you want the grave to be marked. Some grounds allow slate plaques; others only allow trees to be planted in commemoration.

At A Natural Undertaking we mostly work with Westall Park , Sun Rising and Temple Fields which are private burial grounds closest to Birmingham. For a more local option there are woodland burial grounds provided by the Local Council, in this case we typically we work with Primrose Meadow which is close to Kings Norton.

For Independent Advice

If you’d like some independent advice on planning a funeral see our Independent Advice page for links to some great consumer groups and charities


Anytime on 0121 444 0437


Reviews on Google

A Natural Undertaking
Based on 25 reviews
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Ray King
Ray King
04:55 23 May 20
I cannot speak highly enough of A Natural Undertaking. Fran and her whole team provide a... very professional and efficient service with the care and compassion which is so important at a time of grief. In such a difficult time of the Covid pandemic, this especially more stressful experience was made easier by their very personal more
Jamal Shabba
Jamal Shabba
13:43 26 Mar 20
Truly a remarkable company to use for such a horrible time. Their knowledge of the... industry provides a lot of comfort and are very willing and happy to move to in keep with requests. Would recommend them to anyone that should ever have the misfortune of needing them. They genuinely turn a horrible situation into the event the deceased would want it to more
Chris Hallmark
Chris Hallmark
08:38 07 Mar 20
Carrie and Fran have built a business that feels genuinely different. They were warm,... friendly and very responsive. They wanted to help us create the funeral that was right for our family, and to remember Dad in our warm and slightly quirky way. They even indulged us with the custard jokes. I cannot recommend them more highly and wish them every success with their alternative take on more
Gillian Washington
Gillian Washington
18:06 29 Jan 20
A Natural Undertaking is an undertakers with a difference. No stuffy offices with men in... black suits. Just lovely helpful and caring people. Lots of choices were available and nothing was too much trouble. We did not feel pressurised or rushed into making decisions. Our whole experience was dealt with total empathy and efficiency. Would highly recommend them. Definitely 5 more
Amanda Smart
Amanda Smart
18:50 20 Jan 20
We were so thankful for all that Carrie, Zed and Fran did to help us through the period... following the devastation of Oliver's death. The sense that they really empathised with the pain of what we were going through and their way of guiding us, while encouraging us to do what was most helpful and most reflected Oliver's life was so empowering. You can't re-do a funeral! It was so important to us that it was 'right' and they made that easier at a time when we were struggling to think clearly. The service they provided was so personal and sensitive. Thank you!read more
James MacLaren
James MacLaren
16:04 11 Dec 19
Carrie, Fran and everyone at A Natural Undertaking were fantastic in arranging my Mum's... funeral. Carrie was keen right from the start to make sure that everything was just so, despite the fact that we were working on a budget. Everything was clear and well explained (in fact, from beginning to end, communication was exemplary). Fran was fantastic in putting together the order or service as well. They communicated with all of the relevant parties, such that everything came together seamlessly. I hope that I never need to, but if I need to arrange a funeral again, I won't hesitate to give them a more
Elizabeth Logan
Elizabeth Logan
06:40 12 Nov 19
I can't speak highly enough of Carrie, Fran and the entire Natural Undertaking team. ... Their compassion and professionalism were outstanding. The funeral and the celebration of life for my Father-in-Law were just what he and the family wanted, we couldn't have asked for better. The Natural Undertaking team were there for us from the start, from their calm reception area to their suggestions for flowers, locations and support with all those little details - they just smoothed the way. I would recommend them in a more
Rachel Gregory
Rachel Gregory
06:45 12 Oct 19
Absolutely wonderful company. Understood our family’s wishes completely. Ethical and... their pricing is incredibly fair. Thank you so much for making a difficult time much easier for more
Rachel Plant
Rachel Plant
11:40 08 Oct 19
From start to finish Carrie, Fran and zed were the most wonderful undertakers we could... have asked for. They were so much more than just funeral directors, they were supportive, respectful and inspiring. Our family had an idea of what we wanted for Holly's funeral and everyone at A Natural Undertaking helped guide us with her wishes. Holly wanted a natural burial and it was in her quirky nature to have a creative and diverse farewell which is exactly what she got. Death and grief is extremely hard especially when a loved one is so young. We felt like we had an opportunity to help others through this process as a result of everything they had to offer us. Our family, our children & friends were all involved (as per our wishes) thanks to the huge effort and organisation of these wonderful people at A Natural Burial. Thank you so much for everything you did for Holly and family. We will hold you in our hearts forever xread more
Lisa Small
Lisa Small
09:19 02 Jul 19
From our first meeting with Fran to the day of our son's funeral, we were treated with... care, empathy, dignity and understanding. The whole team at A Natural Undertaking, Fran, Zed and Carrie, paid attention to the smallest of details in the planning of his funeral, carefully explaining everything to us in a way which was clear but sensitive. Their handling of the arrangements ensured that he had a beautiful and fitting send off. We could not have been given a better level of care, and we would highly recommend them to anyone who wants to give their loved one a unique, individually tailored more
Linda Higgins
Linda Higgins
18:07 06 May 19
We would like to congratulate Fran and Cassie for looking after our dear friend... Joan. From the start to finish the care, kindness and attention to detail was second to non. We were given help and support with all the arrangements and we felt that the stress, of loosing a loved one so suddenly, had been taken off our shoulders. They helped to turn the day into a wonderful tribute to Joan. We would highly recommend this wonderful service!read more
Chris Lee
Chris Lee
15:50 15 Apr 19
The service provided by a Natural Undertaking was perfect. Fran and Carrie advised and... guided us through both the process and the decisions that we needed to make for my father’s funeral with thought and understanding. They advised us what was possible and made constructive suggestions without pressure. They then calmly undertook the organisation of the service itself with calm efficiency despite late inputs from ourselves. The resulting service was both personal and appropriate to say goodbye to my father from myself, our family and his friends. I was specifically appreciated that Carrie found time to discuss in general the workings of the undertaking business which one at other times have little time or inclination to investigate. It certainly helped me during this time. I whole heartedly recommend this more
Jane Arstall
Jane Arstall
17:19 14 Apr 19
Carrie and Fran are amazing! Nothing is too much trouble for them and they go the extra... mile to make sure that people get exactly the funeral they want. We had a big funeral at Cambridge Road Methodist Church and wanted to use a YouTube clip of my husband playing the Birmingham Town Hall organ which had been his special 60th birthday treat. Carrie managed to arrange an audio clip so that everyone heard Mark playing at his own funeral, which made the service really special. I know Mark would have loved the service. Thanks Carrie and Fran - I would recommend you to more
Kamala Kay Mann
Kamala Kay Mann
05:50 09 Apr 19
Carrie and Frances bought a heart centred approach to a very sad and difficult time with... the death of my brother. They organised the funeral in a week and it ran so seemlessly, so smoothly that the image I get when summing up how I feel about their services is a beautiful Swan gently gliding through water. Thier compassion, kindness and ability to listen, guide and respond softens my heart as I write this. Their attention to detail and having everything covered was such a massive weight off the family’s shoulders. We felt completely held. It seems strange to write this but they were a breath of fresh air to what is in essence is a very difficult time. Thank you so much Carrie and Frances - just like Swans gliding through water, you made a very difficult time seem like a heart centred natural undertaking. K Mannread more
Giles Darby
Giles Darby
13:40 19 Feb 19
Professional, sensitive, efficient and compassionate from start to finish. Their... personal, alternative and fresh approach was exactly what we wanted yet without compromising all the finer arrangement details, which were dealt with perfectly. I can’t recommend them highly enough at what is always a difficult more
Mike Abrams
Mike Abrams
17:59 30 Dec 18
A Natural Undertaking were recommended to us following the death of my wife, by a friend... who had used them previously. From our first meeting, we felt we were in good hands with a team that could talk us through the complexities of the arrangements and discuss the range of options available to us in a personal and very caring way. Working together we planned a service that included a number of unique elements that reflected the exceptional individual who sadly we were having to lay to rest. On the day, the arrangements worked perfectly and the feedback from friends and relatives who attended has been very positive. I am so glad we worked with A Natural Undertaking - we received a very personal and caring service and the whole team were a pleasure to deal more
Simon Wilkes
Simon Wilkes
15:16 20 Dec 18
As a family we decided to go forward with a direct cremation and hold our own service... outside a church environment. Even though this was with our fathers wishes it is sometimes easy to think you must follow the 'traditional' route. Fran & Carrie were both supportive in helping us ensure the day was the right mix of sadness and celebration. It was the little caring things which made the difference. So if you want the right service without feeling you are still in the 1950s then Natural Undertaking will provide a first class service whether its a simple option like ours or a full bespoke more
Nerina Villa
Nerina Villa
11:02 20 Sep 18
Right from my first phone call Fran at A Natural Undertaking was amazing. She was kind,... warm and comforting at a time when that is exactly what you need. She gave me wonderful advice and made sure that we were able to create the most wonderful, individual funeral for my mum that still makes me smile when I think of it. They were there at every step of the way with support, advice and practical help. Thank you so more
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Our Prices

Unattended Cremation: £1,450
Simple Cremation / Burial: £1,900
Creative Funeral: £1,540 plus options

(The above are our fees only – other fees apply)

News / Events

Interested in joining us at a Death Cafe? Learn about our news and the events we’re involved with.


If, like many, you're struggling to decide what to do with someone's ashes perhaps a trip to scatter in the water would be a good idea? Scattering Ashes list over 70 boats to hire from Scotland to Cornwall. #ashes #funerals @BrumYODO Who knew?

As we head towards larger funerals next week, here’s a thoughtful response to a funeral we had the privilege to arrange last week. Maybe big isn’t always better after all. #funerals

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