Funeral planning in Edinburgh

My husband has terminal cancer, and after I lost my father this weekend I realised that (morbid as it may seem to others) I want to plan my husband's funeral now so that when the worst happens I won't have to think about it. He and I have talked about what he wants in general, but he doesn't want to be involved in the details. Because I'm an American living in Edinburgh and my husband's family is from down south, I've never been to a funeral in Edinburgh. I was hoping that people here might be able to share their experiences.

I'm leaning towards the Warriston crematorium for the service and William Purves as the funeral directors. William Purves only come to mind because their website gives more detailed information than most and I've seen their offices around town. But I really want a company that will listen to exactly what I want, that won't try to guilt me into spending more than I have, and that will be really flexible and friendly.

Some of the places I've looked at have had pre-paid plans but they haven't been very flexible. It's usually the 'bronze, silver and gold' approach, whereas we're happy to save on some elements so that we can have more cars for the (many) people coming from out of town, for example. I'm also eligible for the £2000 bereavement payment and would hope to pay for most of the funeral expenses with that.

Any and all experiences would be extremely welcome and very helpful!


  • Hiya

    I have no funeral experience whatsoever but think its brilliant you are planning this in advance as many people dont like to face up to things so well done.

    As far as funeral directors go there is also Thomas Marin & James Scott and Co-op funeral service. If William Purves are reasonably priced and can meet all your requirements then id possibly go with them as they have a brilliant reputation.
    I hope you find what your looking for! hopefully someone else can come along and possibly give you a bit more info!
  • Purves are very good, I've used them. I would suggest you go in and speak to someone that way you will get a feel for the sort of people you are dealing with and they can work with what you want.

    Personally I prefer Mortonhall, its brighter than Warriston being all white rather than the dark wood of Warriston, it makes it more uplifting if you know what I mean. The grounds are spacious and lovely with a Chapel of Remembrance up on a hill where there is a book of remembrance overlooking the garden of remembrance, a calming place to go and remember your loved ones.
  • eryn_kathleen
    eryn_kathleen Posts: 336 Forumite
    edited 16 February 2010 at 2:02PM
    Thanks for that! I hadn't really considered Mortonhall because it's on the other side of Edinburgh, but I just looked at some pictures of it and it's lovely! I like Basil Spence's designs, so I'll keep that one in mind.

    I think I'll contact William Purves and see how they respond before trying elsewhere if they can't help me. There's an office near us, so that will be convenient, though I'm not sure that I'm quite up to talking about it all in person yet.

    ETA: Has anyone used a humanist celebrant in the area? I've found some through the Humanist Society Scotland website, and I'm contacting a handful of them, but I'd love to hear people's direct experiences.

    I'd also like suggestions for where to go after the service. I know that Victoria Park Hotel on Ferry Road gets a fair amount of business from Seafield and Warriston, but beyond that I'm clueless! There will be quite a few people visiting from out of town, so I think we'd need to have a simple buffet for everyone.
  • geewhiz
    geewhiz Posts: 1,129
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker First Post
    McKenzie & Millar on Great Junction Street in Leith are very good too, we have used them for every funeral we have organised in the family.
  • This must be a difficult, but almost uplifting time, for you. Both your husband and yourself can decide how his final hour will be, which is comforting. I personally am not religious and would prefer a humanist funeral. I have included this in my Will, along with music, and I would prefer a woodland burial (after cremation) but of course that's a very personal wish. As regards Funeral Directors, most will fit in with your plans. My dad died 5 years ago and his wish was to use Scotmid (Co-op) traditionally a Scottish company who didn't try to push any fancy extras. What I did like was when they started the drive from my dad's house, a guy dressed in black walked for about 100yards in front of the cortege then joined the car and we drove to the crematorium which kind of looked really respectful.
    Hope this helps, pls don't hesitate to get in touch if I can be of more assistance.
  • eryn_kathleen
    eryn_kathleen Posts: 336 Forumite
    edited 16 February 2010 at 10:58PM
    Sometimes thinking about it makes me sadder, but most of the time it is comforting to know that we can have the funeral that he would want. I've also been reading through various popular funeral poems and passages, and that seems to be helping me through my constantly changing emotions!
  • I found Scotmid Co-op's funeral care to be very good in the past. Really helpful and respectful too, which is important. They have 4 Funeral Homes in the city and one in Penicuik.

    And also have a useful booklet online:

    Mortonall Crematorium is set in lovely grounds and there are two chapels there - the Main chapel and the Pentland Chapel. You can arrange a visit there by contacting the Crematorium manager.

    There's a number of places that will cater for you after the service and a number of them will advertise in the Scotsman and Edinburgh Evening News.

    Thinking of you as you plan ahead, it's not easy.
  • You are very brave to face up to the inevetable in such a way, I see you are thinking about a Humanist Ceremony, which is very good if you and/or your Husband are true Humanists, however if you are really, as I suspect just not wanting a fully religeous service you may want to consider having a Civil Ceremony where you and your Husband can design the entire service around your wishes and beliefs. There is a Civil Celebrant based in Dalkeith who regularly uses several Edinburgh Funeral directors and who is familiar with Edinburgh Crematoria. His name is John and he will offer you all the help you need. have a look at his website which I think is Uneek Civil Ceremonies for further helpfull information.
    All the best in whatever you decide.
  • Another thing you should consider if using an online service like -- you can complete the questionnaire in your own time (no pressure) and it greatly will assist your family when the time comes to plan your last farewell.
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