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Funeral arranging choices

When arranging a funeral it is much easier if you are prepared for for some of the things that may be discussed.
In "What do I do now?" you will find the information for the registration of death you will need to obtain.How to say Goodbye explains why the funeral ceremony is so important and here we will point out the funeral arrangement choices you need to think about.

Burial or Cremation.

This may depend on the personal wishes of the deceased, where you are located and your own opinion.
In country areas crematoriums can be of some distance away, but should you wish to have a cremation instead of a burial you may want to consider this type of cremation service. It is less stressful for the members of the family if a lot of travelling is involved.

Religious or non religious

This again depends on the personal wish or the beliefs of the person who died. Families can decide whether
the traditional service is what is desired or a non religious service may be more suitable for his or her celebration of life.

If a religious service is chosen then a discussion with the minister or priest about the order of service is needed so he/she knows what you desire and to give information about the deceased.
The same applies if you choose a celebrant, it is much more personal if they know something about the person. In any of the choices the Funeral Director will contact the person you wish to officiate, to confirm they are able to do it on the day and time chosen and make alternative arrangements if this isn't possible. It is normal for a clergyman to accept a gratuity for the service and your Funeral Director can do this on your behalf. A Celebrant normally has a set fee, which can also be settled by your Funeral Director on the day, on your behalf.

Floral Tributes

It is common for the family to want to have a floral tribute on the coffin but it isn't mandatory.
The flowers you choose could be the deceased's favourite flowers, something out of his/her garden or something that is special to you. The price range for casket sprays varies, depending on your choice and you should keep this in mind.


Music can be played at the funeral if you wish, but again not mandatory. It can be a favourite piece of the deceased's or something that is meaningful to the family. Generally your funeral director has a good collection of music that can be played also.


If you decide you would like to view the deceased, let your funeral director know and a time and place can be decided. A lot of folk opt for about half an hour before the service, so they can quietly have their own time. Some families choose to make it more public so other people may come along too. A viewing can take place anytime before the funeral, you may prefer the evening before. It is better to discuss this with the Funeral Director. If a viewing is going to take place, then you will need to think about what clothes to have the deceased dressed in. This can range from formal to casual, whatever reflected their life better. A farmer who was more at home in his check shirt, jeans and hat could be a lot more meaningful than being dressed in a formal suit, but that again is a family decision. Nothing is written in concrete, you can choose what is most appropriate.


You may wish to read an eulogy or have a friend or member of the family read one, this makes for a very personal part of the service and lets the people attending the funeral learn more about their friend they may not have known. A favourite poem or verse may be chosen for reading also.

Returned Soldier

If the deceased was a returned soldier, he/she is entitled to the flag on their coffin and the Last Post. Members of the RSL would place poppies in the grave. If a member of a lodge or club, then make it known to the Funeral Director, so the club he/she belonged to can be part of the ceremony.


Mementos may be placed in the coffin at the time of viewing or if no viewing is held then make arrangements to have them placed there by the Funeral Director. You may like to have a photo of the deceased placed on his/her coffin during the church service, this will be removed and returned to you later.


Having to make a decision about a casket or coffin can be daunting, so please take your time, discuss it with your family or friends. Don't feel pressured about making a hasty decision. Keep your budget in mind and feel comfortable with what you choose. Remember the person you are choosing it for would have been happy with the choice you make.

Pall Bearers

Family members may want to be involved with the service by walking beside the Hearse to the grave, or even to participate in lowering the coffin. In particular, sons or grandsons usually like to participate but it is wise to remember a coffin can be quite heavy and it isn't always advisable for more elderly people to do this. If the family choose to have friends or family participate this way, give the names to the Funeral Director and he will call them up at the time and explain exactly what has to be done. (Don't forget a thank you card for the bearers is appropriate after the funeral) It has been popular to throw petals in the grave, instead of earth and these are provided but again it is a personal choice. Some families prefer the traditional way.

Remember your funeral director will organise and pay for everything up front, the cemetery, the clergy, funeral notices (and death notices can be placed in the paper as well if you wish) floral tribute and co-ordinate all the third parties, once you have let him know what you want. It is important for you to take your time, and not rush into the arrangements. You only have one chance to do it right. Rushing the funeral will not make the burden of grief any easier, as so many people seem to think but talking it over with your family and friends will help ease the burden.