Organising a funeral is going to be one of the hardest tasks you do in your life. It can seem like an overwhelming task where you don’t even know where to begin. That’s why we have written this guide on how to organise a funeral. Whilst it is not an exhaustive list, we hope it helps you and gives you a good starting point.
Contact a funeral director
When someone dies, the death will have to be verified first before anything else can happen. This verification is required to be done by a medical professional and it is only after this that a funeral director can be contacted who will be able to help start the funeral proceedings. The funeral director will take your loved one into their care and they will sit down with you and discuss all the choices available. As this is their profession, do not hesitate to ask them any questions. There is no such thing as a stupid question and they will have probably heard the questions numerous times before.
Please also bear in mind that you do not need to discuss funeral plans immediately. Your funeral director understands this is a difficult time for you and your family and will never rush you to make decisions. You must take the time you need.
How to choose a funeral director
Your loved one may have already made funeral wishes for this scenario and may even have purchased a funeral plan. If this is the case, you will already know which funeral director you will need to go with. If there have been no plans in place, choose whomever you feel most comfortable with. You may find someone local to you or someone a friend or family member has used in the past. Try and read reviews and ask them questions before choosing them. They are there to help so you must feel comfortable with your choice.
We understand that choosing a funeral director is sometimes not just about who is located closest or who seems the friendliest. There will inevitably be costs that you will need to consider as well. By law, funeral directors need to be open and honest about their pricing from the beginning and must have visible pricelists on their website or in a branch. If you are conscious about money and need it to be within a certain budget which is the case for the majority of funerals, then do not hesitate to ask for the price.
You need to make sure the funeral is something you can afford. Luckily, most funeral directors have different packages to suit different budgets and this is something they should be able to discuss with you before you commit to anything.
Contact the funeral director
When you need to contact the funeral director to bring the person who has died into their care, you can ring day or night. The majority of funeral homes have 24/7 phone lines for this purpose. Once this has happened, the rest of the funeral arrangements can start taking place. It is important to note that if a coroner needs to be consulted, the funeral director will not be able to bring them into their care immediately. However, other funeral arrangements can still start being made
Organise a funeral arranging appointment
At a time that suits you, you will need to attend a funeral arranging appointment. This can take a couple of hours and will vary from person to person, so just allow yourself enough time. There is a lot to organise however that is why these appointments take place. So that your funeral director can go through everything at your own pace and help you in any way they can. Often, these appointments will discuss the following
- When and where the funeral will be held
- Whether your loved one wanted to be buried or cremated
- Whether your loved one already has a burial plot reserved
- The location of the funeral service
- The choice of hearse or transport vehicle
- The choice of coffin
- Who will carry the coffin
- Funeral flowers
- Donations to charity
- Officiant for the service
- The route the hearse will take on the day
- Funeral music choices
- Stationary requirements for the order of service
- Funeral notices online or in print
Whilst you don’t have to be prepared with all of the answers and decisions to these questions immediately, it is helpful to know what needs to be organised and the funeral director can help explain what popular options are.
Burial or Cremation
One of the main decisions is whether your loved one will be buried or cremated. Your loved one may already have expressed their preference. They may have a burial plot already or a new one will need to be purchased. Your funeral director will be able to help with this. You will need to decide what the headstone inscription is or whether the plot is sharing a headstone with another family member.
If it is a cremation, then you will need to decide where to put the ashes. Again, these wishes may have already been stated by your loved ones. However, if they aren’t, try and think of places that were special to them. Alternatively, you may want to plant some in the garden, keep the ashes or place some ashes in a piece of jewellery. There are many options available now and again your funeral director is there to help you narrow down the options.
When does the funeral take place
Funerals often take place 1-2 weeks after someone has died. However, this time can often be determined by when your friends and family are available, whether there are any delays due to the coroner’s investigations and depending on the availability of the crematorium or church.
Types of funeral
There is no one type of funeral and you can make it as personal to your loved one as possible. Don’t simply choose something because it is the most common choice. Think about what your loved one would have wanted and try and make the service show their personality as much as possible. This can be done in many ways such as choosing their favourite songs to play, having a specific type of vehicle that isn’t a hearse to transport the coffin, or serving all their favourite foods at the wake.
Whilst there are a lot of decisions to make when it comes to organising a funeral, your funeral director will be able to help you and should be a source of advice and comfort throughout the entire process. Planning a funeral is not pleasant and we understand that. This is why we are available to answer any of your questions and guide you through the process step by step.