5 Things you need to think about when planning a Funeral

By , January 21, 2010 11:34 am

Today I would like to chat about some things that have been on my mind in regards to Funeral Services, and how to make them memorable. The actual planning is something most people don’t give a lot of time to, as they have little idea. Your Funeral Director can help make each occasion unique and special too, just ask.
So many times I attend Services and wonder what people take away with them. What are the standout moments people will nurture once home. Do they have a great sense of occasion? Is it memorable? Did the Service do a good job in honouring the deceased’s life and personality?

1. Music – This is a deeply personal choice, and there are many sites with suggestions for funeral music, so I won’t add anymore here. Please think about whether actually singing a song is more appropriate, and touching, rather than a Top Ten countdown of favourite tunes. When a community sings, there is a shared moment – a wonderful communal sense of being together, solidarity in grief. It can be deeply moving, and cathartic. There are also Funeral Singers who will sing at a funeral. Live music is very touching and personal.
2. Order of Service – Yes, an Order of Service may cost you a little more, but people like to know what’s happening within the Service, and what the relevance is to the Deceased. Sometimes there might be a display of their favourite things that represent their life. A fishing reel, a hat, a particular book and so on. Make sure you list these Symbols of Life in the Order of Service booklet. What about a bookmark to take away? Don’t forget to include a photograph, people love to hold onto this and remember the Loved One. Did they have a favourite poem or reading? Add it in too, it gives much comfort.
3. Photographs – Most Services these days have some sort of photographic display, but have you also considered having a Photographer there to archive the days in pictures? These images can then be used to create a DVD of the Service, or perhaps publish a book of Memories for the family.
4. Theme – If it’s a young person’s funeral, it can be very shocking and sad, especially if the death was unexpected. A colour theme can unite the young grievers together, and give them a sense of belonging; at a time when they are very lost. Recently I attended a funeral where everyone wore purple, and small purple ribbons on safety pins were also handed out. The whole image and theme was so beautiful, and memorable.
5. Sharing the Occasion – is there a way you can involve others in the Service? This helps not only share the burden but gives others a sense of ‘closure’ and a chance to also say goodbye. Soldiers have their Poppy Tribute, which is always beautiful to photograph, but you may also have a Candle Lighting, a parade of Symbols of Life (*see above) or perhaps Laying of Flowers on the coffin. Asking family members or friends to give Readings or recite a loved poem is always appreciated.

These highlights of a Funeral Service are the things that people will take away with them. Signposts that say “here was a wonderful life’ and mark a sense of occasion.

Remember that death is a part of life, and a journey we will all take one day.

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