How to Organise a Funeral

September 7, 2023

Organising a funeral can be a challenging and emotionally taxing task, but with careful planning and consideration, you can create a meaningful and respectful farewell for your loved one. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you organise a funeral:

Notify the Appropriate Authorities and Register the Death

  • If your loved one has passed away at home or in a non-medical facility, you may need to contact the local authorities or emergency services to report the death. 
  • In most cases, a close relative will need to register the death before a funeral can take place. Sometimes it may be necessary to arrange an appointment with the registrar and you will need some essential information such as the deceased’s date of birth, full name, and medical certificate stating the cause of death. Learn more about registering a death here.

Choose a Funeral Director

Consider hiring a funeral director who can assist you in planning and coordinating the funeral. They can handle many of the logistical details, such as obtaining the death certificate, transporting the body, and organising the burial or cremation. They are there for you every step of the way and will help you on the day of the funeral itself. They are experts and used to people asking lots of questions so don’t feel apprehensive talking to them.

Determine the Type of Service

  • Decide on the type of funeral or memorial service you’d like to have. This may be influenced by your loved one’s wishes, cultural or religious beliefs, or personal preferences.
  • Options include a traditional funeral service, memorial service, graveside service, cremation, or a celebration of life ceremony.

Set a Budget

  • Determine a budget for the funeral, taking into account expenses such as caskets, urns, burial plots, transportation, flowers, and the service itself.

Choose a Location and Date

  • Select a location for the service, whether it’s a funeral home, place of worship, community center, or another suitable venue.
  • Pick a date and time for the service that accommodates the schedules of family and friends.

Create a Guest List

  • Compile a list of family members, friends, and acquaintances who should be invited to the funeral service.

Arrange for Officiants and Speakers

  • If you’re having a religious service, contact a clergy member or religious leader to officiate.
  • Arrange for family members or close friends to speak or share memories during the service if desired.

Select Funeral Products

  • Choose a casket or urn that reflects your loved one’s preferences or your family’s wishes.
  • Decide on any additional products like memorial cards, programs, or flowers.

Plan the Service

Work with the funeral director or service officiant to plan the order of service, including music, readings, eulogies, and any rituals or religious ceremonies.

Notify Friends and Family 

Inform family and friends about the date, time, and location of the funeral service, as well as any other relevant details such as donations or specific dress codes.

Arrange Transportation

If needed, arrange transportation for family members and guests to and from the service venue and burial site.

Organise A Reception or Gathering

Consider hosting a reception or gathering after the service to provide an opportunity for mourners to come together, share memories, and offer condolences. The extent and effort you go to will be dependent on your budget but also what you feel up to doing. Don’t feel like you are obliged to do this.

Obtain Necessary Documentation

Ensure you have the required paperwork, including the death certificate and any permits or authorisations for burial or cremation.

Plan for Burial or Cremation

Make arrangements for the burial or cremation of your loved one’s remains, including selecting a cemetery or crematory and purchasing a plot, if necessary.

Consider Personal Details

 Address any personal details, such as creating a memorial tribute video, choosing attire for the deceased, and preparing a eulogy if you’re speaking at the service.

Consider Grief Support

Understand that the funeral may be emotionally challenging. Offer grief support resources to those in attendance and consider seeking support for yourself and your family as well.

Follow Up

After the funeral, send thank-you notes to those who attended or provided support during this difficult time.

It’s important to remember that every funeral is unique, and you should tailor the arrangements to honor the memory and wishes of your loved one. Don’t hesitate to seek help from friends, family, or professionals to assist with the planning and organisation, as this can alleviate some of the stress during this emotional period.