It is becoming increasingly popular to choose specific music and readings to help celebrate the lives of loved ones. Some people select popular pieces to generate an overall mood for the event, others choose specific items that have a special poignancy for their relationship with the deceased.
- Many traditional hymns can be quite comfortingly familiar but they are essentially religious and may not always be appropriate
- With today's technology, there are more options than ever before; from a church organ, choir or live musicians to a CD or iPod with speakers.
- The broad range of music performed at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, including Elton John's rewritten version of Candle in the Wind', was widely admired and demonstrated that it is possible to vary from the traditional and still be dignified and uplifting.
- However, please remember that what to one person might be fun and a statement about the person that has died, others may find unsettling.
The use of a W H Auden poem in the film 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' showed how powerful the written word can be at a funeral, and how a reading can make a lasting impression. There are many readings and poems that are appropriate and can be used to personalise a traditional church service or make a service less religious. Keep in mind whether the service is trying to convey a sense of the celebration of life or reflecting the agony of loss. It is also worth checking that the reader is able to cope with what will inevitably be a highly emotional moment.