Before contacting a funeral director
Register the death. The deceased must be registered dead within five working days of them passing away.
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.
At Charles Stephens, we will contact you to arrange a suitable time and place to meet with you to begin discussing arrangements. This can be at your local Charles Stephens branch or, if you prefer, somewhere else such as your home. And when you meet us, we can advise you on what to do next and take care of all the necessary funeral arrangements. You’ll have a member of staff available to speak to 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year for support.
Matters to Consider
Below are a few points you may wish to discuss or consider with your family and friends before meeting the Funeral Director. We are here to guide and advise you on all aspects of the funeral and the points below are purely for reference.
- 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
Funeral bearers are present at all Charles Stephens funerals but should any family members wish to bear the coffin into chapel please let us know.
- 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.
The deadline to place a notice in The Wirral Globe or The Wirral News is Monday at 4pm in order for the notice to appear in that week’s edition. At Charles Stephens, we also deal with many other newspapers including The Chester Chronicle and The Daily Telegraph.
- 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.
- 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.
As your funeral director, with Charles Stephens your loved one will be transferred to our Clifton House branch in Rock Ferry or to our Mellock Lane branch in Little Neston. This will depend on the initial location. If you would like to visit your loved one, once all the necessary preparations have been completed, we can transfer them to your preferred chapel of rest. We ask that appointments are made if you wish to visit either in or out of office hours.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.