Funeral Planning

  • If you’re having a chapel funeral, consider making a double booking to give plenty of time for the ceremony. Families often feel very rushed and there’s enough pressure on you at such an emotional time.

  • Include children in the ceremony. They add a beautiful touch in the farewell to your loved ones and often surprise us with their innocent and honest approach to things.

  • Remember that things don’t have to be perfect. Your loved one knew you as human and you loved each other for that.

  • Include refreshments at some point, whether this be something light at the chapel, a wake or a meal at a favourite restaurant. It’s easy to push your needs aside when you’re in pain and this is just the time we need to feed not only our souls but also our bodies. It also gives the opportunity to share with others who come to join you in grief.

  • Give yourself permission to be helped if necessary at the ceremony. Perhaps you plan to read the eulogy or some prose. Often we don’t realise how hard this will be in the moment. Organise a back-up from your family or friends and remember, I will be right at your side to read for you if you wish.


Service Ideas

  • Consider a candle-lighting during the service. This is an ideal ritual for older grandchildren who may prefer not to write letters or draw pictures to place on or in your loved one’s casket. 

  • Appoint a close friend to gather photos which can be mounted on a memory board before the day of the funeral. This is a great source of comfort and gives a focal point after the service.

  • A butterfly release is a beautiful conclusion to a ceremony. This is particularly meaningful for young children who will always remember something so special.

  • A balloon release after the service is also a wonderful ritual. Remember to only attach items which are biodegradable.

  • Photos and small items of importance from your loved one’s life really personalise a memorial service. This can mean literally anything from beautifully hand crocheted coat hangers, to favourite LPs, to musical instruments.

  • Honour military veterans by ensuring the last post is played at the ceremony and if possible the national flag appropriately draped, later folded and handed to the next of kin.

  • Having pallbearers carry the casket is a very poignant symbol. It adds dignity to the ceremony and helps the mourners feel a connection to their loved one. Check with the funeral director to see if this is workable in your situation.

  • Give as many significant people as possible roles in the ceremony. This brings comfort and a sense of community to the grieving family and honours their loved one. Mourners can read, hand out booklets, help out with small children and just about anything you can think of that will add richness to the ceremony and give support to the immediate family.