Planning a funeral service involves a lot of decisions, many of which are very personal. These are decisions that should be discussed with your family and should be rushed.
Below we have included some of the decisions which need to be made when planning a funeral. This will allow you to consider some choices to be made, and seek advice on any that you are unsure about.
Most funerals in Australia take place within 5 days of the passing. Consider your family and friends, and select a day that is convenient for the majority to attend. If the loved one is cremated or buried before the funeral service, a memorial service can be held at any time.
It is good idea to know how many of the bereaved will be in attendance. Knowing this information will help you to better plan for the funeral venue and facilities. It will also help with assessing the final cost of the funeral.
In Australia, most funeral services are held at a church or chapel. They are also held graveside, where the loved one is to be buried. You are not restricted to only these locations. Funeral services can be held at parks, gardens, the beach, sports clubs and community halls.
You will need to decide on whether the casket is to be open or closed before and during the funeral service. Some families choose to have a closed casket, some opt for open casket, while others elect to have the casket open beforehand but closed during the service.
Choosing the clothing and jewellery a loved one is to be farewelled in should be done with as much family support as possible. Ask family and friends, remembering that while formal attire may seem appropriate, it may not be what the loved one is remembered for. Choose an outfit that represents the loved one as you remember them.
Depending on the religious beliefs of the loved one, a celebrant, priest or clergy member should be chosen to lead the funeral service. If religious, the parish of the loved one will be able to recommend the right person. If you require a celebrant, your chosen funeral director will be able to suggest a number of celebrants that may be able to assist.
Pallbearers carry the coffin or casket. While the closest of family and friends are usually elected for the honour, your funeral director can also arrange assistance if required.
A eulogy is a speech that pays tribute to the loved one that has passed away. They are usually a few minutes in length, and are used to remember the beautiful times that were had. Some funeral services involve a single eulogy, while others have more than ten. The total number of eulogies will depend on how many family members and friends wish to express their tribute publicly.
Music is a beautiful way to reflect on the life of a loved one. The music may be traditional, or more contemporary. Some families choose to play the music their loved one enjoyed, while other families choose music that is comforting and reminiscent. Your funeral director will be able to help you with music choices. They will also be able to assist if you require musicians in place of a recording.
Flowers are the traditional choice for decorating a funeral venue. Personal items and decorations from the loved ones home are also becoming more popular in modern funeral services. Decorate in a way that reflects your loved one.
A wake is traditionally held at the home of the loved one that has passed on. Food and beverage are served to the guests and memories are shared. Wakes can also be held at restaurants, clubs, halls and parks. Speak with the family and arrange on a venue that suits based on the number of guests expected to be in attendance.