Funeral Planning Checklist- How to Plan a Funeral Service?
Planning the funeral of a loved one is never easy. You are emotionally exhausted, and feeling lost. On top of this, there are several tasks that you need to be aware of. One of which is funeral planning. To help you arrange the proceedings of the funeral, we have created a funeral planning checklist.
#1 Choose a Funeral Director
The first thing to do is choose a funeral director. It will be difficult for you to arrange everything after your loss. You and the rest of the family probably won’t be in the mental state to take on the responsibility of arranging the funeral. This is why appointing a funeral director is recommended. The funeral director will take on all the necessary tasks with complete responsibility. These include completing paperwork, caring for the body, making arrangements with the crematorium or cemetery (decorations, guests, etc.), and sourcing the purchase and transport of the coffin among other aspects.
#2 Choose between Cremation and Burial
The second in our funeral planning checklist is choosing the type of funeral. Most people in the United Kingdom prefer cremation before burial. This may be influenced by family reasons, cultural or religious aspects, or the fact that cremation is cheaper. Burial plot costs vary from region to region and, in some parts of the UK, there is a shortage of cemetery and churchyard space. So, with the Church’s permission, graves are sometimes ‘reused’. If you want to save cost, it is recommended that you consider natural/direct burial or cremation. These services are offered for a fixed price.
#3 Choose a Burial Site or Crematorium
Another important aspect of your funeral planning checklist is choosing a burial site or crematorium. It is important not to rush this decision so make sure to ask your funeral director of anything you are unsure of. Some services allow you to buy a site in advance. Ask the funeral director to shortlist possible funeral sites in your area. Even burial at sea is an option; however, you need a license for England and offshore areas of Wales.
For cremation, each crematorium has rules, including permitted memorials, burying or scattering of ashes, and even suitable coffins for cremation. Some points to consider when deciding on the crematorium or burial site is the distance that mourners will have to travel to reach the site, dates and times available.
#4 Choose the Location of the Service
Location of the service is important as well. The funeral director may be able to provide you with ideas for suitable places that, perhaps, meant something to the deceased. Here are some different options to consider for where to have a funeral service:
- In a place where your loved one enjoyed spending time, such as a garden, their home, or the local community centre.
- In a place of worship such as a church.
- Beside the grave or at the crematorium.
Most cemeteries and crematoriums include the use of their prayer room or chapel in their costs.
#5 Choose Whether to Organise the Viewing or the Wake
When someone passes away, their family members, including friends and colleagues, would want to be present at one or more formal gatherings in order to pay their last respects. Besides a formal funeral service, there is another ceremony called a ‘viewing’ or a ’wake.’ Sometimes it is not possible for everyone to attend all of the ceremonies – the funeral, the wake, or the viewing. So, if you think that there are still people left who would wish to see their loved one one last time, you can arrange a family viewing or wake.
#6 Plan and Write an Obituary
An obituary is a good way to notify the wider local community about someone’s death and to celebrate their life. While it isn’t a necessity, if your loved one knew many people, it would be best to write one. It is basically a written announcement of someone’s death that usually describes the personality and life of the person who has died, including the details of the upcoming funeral services. They are published on online memorial pages and/or newspapers.
#7 Transportation for Those Attending Funeral
Attending the funeral of a loved one can be traumatic. When faced with the intense feelings that can surface, it is a good idea to keep everybody’s activities to a minimum, allowing everyone to grieve. Emotions can be erratic, and it is not recommended that you or anyone from the family drive alone. This is where funeral transportation services can help. Trained transportation specialist can take care of the details of getting everyone to and from the funeral location smoothly.
#8 Send Invitations to Family and Friends
When someone dies, it is vital that everyone who loved them and knew them has the opportunity to pay their respects. Funeral invitations not only inform people of the funeral venue but also confirm or break the sad news about the death of the loved one. So it would be ideal to send out invitations to family and friends regarding the funeral. The invitation length can be long or short, depending on how you want to express the circumstances.
#9 Choose a Casket/Coffin/Urn
Depending on the wishes of your loved one, you can choose between casket, coffin, and urn. If the deceased is to be buried, you can choose a casket or a coffin. A casket and a coffin are the same with the only difference being their shapes. A casket is rectangular, whereas a coffin is tapered at the foot and the head. However, caskets are constructed with better quality timbers. On the other hand, if your loved one is to be cremated, you’ll need to collect the remains in an urn. You can buy cremation urns online or from any local store. You can also customise the urn according to your needs.
#10 Choose Flowers
Funeral flowers are usually large, formal floral arrangements that are meant as a beautiful tribute to the person who has passed so choosing the right flowers is important. Funeral flowers range from large or small green plants, vases of flowers, and combinations of plants all the way up to casket sprays and flower stands. You can discuss the floral arrangements with the funeral director, however, the flowers you choose should be based on the wishes of the deceased. Lilies, peace lilies, roses, orchids, and carnations are the most common funeral flowers. Nevertheless, you can check with your local florist regarding what types of funeral flowers they offer.
#11 Choose Clothing for the Deceased
If you were the one in the family who knew the deceased the best, chances are you will be in charge of choosing the outfit for the coffin. As easy as it seems, it can be quite challenging to choose something that will look nice and be in-keeping with the sombre occasion or something that expresses what the deceased was like when he/she was alive. However, apart from this, you need to consider several other factors as well, such as the atmosphere of the funeral, for example.
#12 Pick a Photograph to be Shown at the Funeral
This is one of the most important elements of the funeral planning checklist. Look for the most recent photograph of the deceased that was snapped when he/she was alive. For the funeral, you need a framed photograph big enough that everyone present can have a good look at it. Contact an experienced photographer and ask them to process the photograph to make it funeral ready.
#13 Arrange the Order of Service
The funeral order of service is essentially a card or booklet that provides a schedule of the funeral and can be given out to the funeral-goers and sent to those who aren’t able to attend. The front cover of the card will consist of a photograph of the deceased, their full name, their dates of birth and death as well as the date, time, and location of the service, and a short message remembering the person. There are several different templates available online to choose from.
#14 Choose Hymns and Music
Religious funerals may include prayers and hymns sung by the congregation. Select a group of people who you want to sing the prayers and hymns. Hymns and prayers express the faith in God and heaven. Sometimes it’s advisable to include hymns and music in your funeral planning checklist because it can be soothing to the mourners present. Hymns can differ widely in tone, from positive and hopeful to traditional and sombre.
#15 Choose a Eulogy
Last in our funeral planning checklist is the eulogy. The eulogy is a speech that honours the life of the deceased. While religious ministers usually address the mourners with the eulogy, personal eulogies can also written by loved ones.
The Bottom Line
This was our complete funeral planning checklist and covers everything that should be included and considered for a funeral. You can also search the web for more details on planning this important and sometimes very difficult observance.