Choosing a funeral director can be a difficult and emotional process – particularly given that most of us have very little experience in organising funerals.
As you navigate these unchartered waters, it can help to know what to look for in a funeral director. Use the below list as a guide to make sure that the funeral home you choose is right for your family.
If the deceased has previously spoken about their wishes then your funeral director should do all they can to support you in making these wishes a reality. Their job is to make anything possible (within reason, of course). If they are not able to help then they should refer you to someone who can.
If the deceased’s funeral has not been pre-planned, then your funeral director can guide you through the detail of organising a funeral. They will help you make all the decisions, big or small – including those that you didn’t know you had to make.
- These decisions may include:
- Whether to choose burial or cremation
- The day, time and venue of the service
- Who should lead the service – this might be a celebrant, a family member, a friend or a member of your faith
- Where to hold the service – this could be in a church, a park, on the beach, or anywhere you want
Your funeral director should provide you with as much support or guidance that you need. They can make arrangements on your behalf if needed; and they can help you co-ordinate with a memorial park or cemetery regarding the cremation or burial.
Funeral directors can help you organise an event following the service, often called a wake. They can either arrange this under your direction or help connect you with caterers, venues or other professionals to make sure that it runs as smoothly as can be.
Some funeral homes also have the facilities to host a wake for you. They can organise it all so you don’t need to worry about a thing. If a cremation is taking place, your funeral director can put you in contact with a memorial park or crematorium to organise a fitting memorial in a beautiful park or garden.
As well as helping you create the perfect funeral service, your funeral director can take care of all the little things so you don’t have to worry about them. It’s up to you how much your funeral director takes on.
There are some standard services that every funeral director will take care of:
- Transfer of the deceased to the funeral home
- Registration of death with the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages
- Collection of medical certificates and dispatch to appropriate authorities
Then, you have the option of getting your funeral director to help with the following services, too:
- Liaising with cemeteries or crematoria of your choice
- Arrangements with church, chapel or a venue you choose
- Consulting with clergy or celebrant
- Advice on wording and placement of death notices
- Help writing a eulogy
- Arranging and preparing a viewing of the deceased
- Supply of hearse and other funeral vehicles
- Organising floral arrangements
- Organising music
- Embalming by qualified personnel (if required)
- Mourning stationery such as thank-you cards and orders of service
- Video recording or live streaming for those unable to attend
- Referral to grief support
As this list shows, your funeral director can help you with as much (or as little) as you like. Unlike most of us – who have not had to organise a funeral before – they know what needs to be done. And they are there to share their expert knowledge with you in a caring and compassionate way.