Before contacting a funeral director
- Did your loved one leave any requests for their funeral?
When you’re planning a funeral, always check the will of your loved one to understand if they had made any special requests to include in the funeral service. The person who died may have arranged for a pre-paid funeral plan prior to their passing as their way to try and help their family and friends during this difficult time.
- What type of funeral is required?
Before contacting a funeral director it’s good to understand what type of funeral is required. This can range from the type of religion to whether you’re to arrange a cremation or a burial.
- Don’t rush into making a decision.
Planning a funeral is stressful enough alongside the bereavement process you’re going through. Take your time to understand what is required for each part of arranging a funeral.
1. Contact a funeral director
When you’re ready, call up a range of funeral directors near you to discuss the type of funeral you’d like to arrange. Be upfront about your budget so you can gauge what is realistic compared to the type of funeral you would like vs what requests may have been left in the will.
Once you have chosen your funeral director, they will help you arrange when to have the deceased collected and taken to the funeral home.
2. Plan the funeral ceremony
Discuss the type of services you would like to arrange, and whether you have any bespoke requests based on your loved ones will, or detail any preferences on what to include during the ceremony. This will include the following considerations:
- Burial or Cremation
- Style of coffin
- Flower arrangements
- Service sheets – order of service
- What to do with the cremated remains
- Memorial Mason
- Type of hearse
3. Notify mourners
Once you have a date arranged for the funeral service, contact close friends and family members to let them know so that they can make arrangements. This can be done by sending a formal invitation where attendees can accept or decline, releasing a newspaper notice (where appropriate), and posting on Facebook.
4. Where to host the wake
Once you have a good idea of how many people will attend, this can help you decide on where to host the wake. Often, people decide to host the wake at their family home, or others prefer to hire out a venue who can help with the catering and refreshments.
5. Whether to see the body
As part of the grieving process, you, your family and friends may decide that you would prefer to spend time with to and see the deceased. This can be arranged to visit them in a chapel of rest where, in private, you can sit with your loved one before the funeral service.
6. Choose the flowers
There are many types of flowers and arrangements to choose from, and many people who would like to attend the funeral will also want to donate to the display or bring their own. The funeral director will be able to advise on what types of flowers they recommend for the funeral service and where to forward them after the ceremony.
7. Organise the order of service
The length of a service tends to run for 30-40 minutes. During this part of arranging a funeral, you will discuss with the officiant and funeral director whether anyone would like to speak during the service; at what time the music will be played; when to give thanks to family and friends for their contributions, and who will give the eulogy.
8. Choose hymns & music
Music is a very personal choice; people often select songs to play during the service which best represent the memories shared with your loved one, music that they particularly enjoyed or a song that represents who they were as a person.
9. Choose a eulogy, scripture and poems
Alongside planning for a funeral, make time to write a eulogy you will be proud of. Delivering a eulogy can be seen as a real privilege and the best way to give your loved one the send-off they deserve. Practice your speech ahead of the service and test it out in front of a friend to ensure it reads clearly. As a backup, ask someone close to read it out in case on the day you don’t feel up to it. Funerals can be hard going as much as they can provide relief once they’re over, you may not know how you’re going to react on the day so it’s good to have a backup.
Similarly to choosing a eulogy, poems are a good alternative and can be read out by either yourself or friends and family. Confirm who will read this out ahead of the service so it can be organised into the order of service.
10. Attending a funeral
On the day of service, it’s ok to allow yourself to feel the emotions felt from the death of a loved one. There’s no right or wrong way to mourn at a funeral, as long as you’re respectful to those around you who are also going through a similar process.
Some people find attending a funeral very overwhelming, whereas others may surprise themselves and share a few jokes with their friends and family, exchanging positive memories about the person who has passed as everyone connected to them is in one room together.
After the funeral service
Once the day of the funeral is over, it’s optional to send thank you letters to those who attended. If attendees have donated flowers, you may decide to keep these in your home or to donate them to the cemetery.
Coping with the loss of a loved one isn’t an easy feat and planning a funeral can feel like a weighted task given the circumstances. A funeral director can help make the process of organising a memorial or cremation a weight off your mind so you can be available to support your family when they need you.