Organising a Funeral

Planning the Funeral


There are many Funeral Directors offering this service, if you don’t know of one it can be a bit daunting.  Here are a couple website that might be helpful in finding one: - Gathered Here - a website that helps to find and compare funeral homes and also gives an estimated price. - Australian Funeral Directors Association, Help you to find a funeral director in your area


Once you have selected a funeral director, their role is to work with you and for you in arranging all the particulars of the funeral providing you with advice, guidance and liaising with all relevant parties on your behalf.  Keep in mind that they are able to come to your home to discuss all details. You’ll probably have many questions, particularly if you have not experienced arranging a funeral before.  The funeral director in charge of the funeral arrangements will generally collect all the information needed for registering the death and send it to the relevant state or territory government office. The funeral director may also help with things such as newspaper notices, flowers and religious services.


Repatriation is when a deceased is moved interstate or overseas. The death of a loved one is always distressing and when the death occurs overseas or interstate the distress is compounded by practical problems.  Most funeral companies can provide this service for you. 


If you choose to have a funeral service, it can be traditional or modern, a reflection of life, religious, spiritual or a celebration of a life.  A funeral can and should be as unique as the life that is being celebrated; it is up to the family to decide the proceedings of the service and make it to your spiritual and emotional needs. Your wishes are paramount.  If the wishes of the deceased are known these can and should be used.  An alternative to a funeral is known as a “Direct Committal” which is a cremation or burial without a service.   (see over for more information regarding Direct Committals).

 In discussing and planning the service with your funeral director, here are a list of things to consider:

· Selecting a day, time and venue for the service.

· Choice of burial or cremation - Burial involves the purchase of a gravesite or crypt, the right of interment, opening/closing fees and gravesite maintenance. Cremation is the process of reducing the body to ash.    A funeral ceremony can be held. Cremated remains may be buried or interred in memorial sites or cemeteries, or they may be legally retained by relatives in an urn to have a private memorial in your home.  Ashes can also be dispersed in a variety of ways (see our brochure “Options for Burial or Cremation”). 

· Who will lead the service - Clergy, celebrant, family member or friend?

· Whether or not you want to view the body.

· The type of coffin or casket, the difference between the two is in the design

- coffins are tapered at the head and foot and are wider at the shoulders.       Caskets are rectangular in shape.  Costs can vary according to materials and design.

· The clothes the deceased person will be wearing.

· You may wish to place some personal items in the coffin or on the coffin during the service, it may be a letter, blanket, photos, a favourite toy or figure, painting, golf club etc.

· Type of music to be played during the service, photo and video displays, eulogy, reading of poems or scriptures. Or any special things which you would like.

· What flowers, if any would be used or would you prefer to arrange for donations to be made to a particular charity in honour of your loved one?

· Transport to and from the funeral.

· Death and funeral notices for the newspaper.

· You may wish to have the ceremony video recorded or photographs taken.

· Arrangement of a guest attendee book or cards.

· Check if your loved one had a pre-paid funeral plan, as this may save you having to make many decisions.

· Choose a funeral company/director.

· Plan the funeral service.

· Some families request that mourners wear a specific colour (sometimes associated with a sports club, etc).

· The wake, including catering/ refreshment options.

· If the victim has children it will be important to consider their wishes and part in the funeral.

· Discuss whether children will be invited to attend.

· The wake, including catering/ refreshment options.


A direct committal is a basic funeral,  it is a cremation or burial without a service and is offered by most funeral directors.   Bereaved families and friends can still arrange a memorial service at another venue, even in your own home or somewhere that maybe special to your loved one.


Children need special consideration at this time. How you discuss the death of your loved one at the time of making the funeral arrangements, will depend on your family’s beliefs and previous experiences.  It is important to discuss these things with them honestly and gently.  Including them in decisions regarding the funeral and listening to their wishes will allow them to feel included.  It is important that they are given the choice, if circumstances allow, as to whether they want to view the deceased and attend the funeral.  


Try to have something to eat.

· Keep well hydrated throughout the day, have a bottle of water accessible.

· It is the role of the funeral director to oversee the running and operations of the day.

· Discuss with someone in advance that should you require support in reading the eulogy or anything else on the day that they be on standby to do this with you or on your behalf.

· Do not feel committed to others requests, wishes and plans for the day, put yourself and your needs first.

· The day itself will be exhausting mentally and physically, so allow time for yourself afterwards to rest.

· Be kind to yourself.















Australian Funeral Directors Association  (AFDA)  

1300 888 188


Gathered Here

A website to find and compare funeral directors and prices.


Victim Services

(02) 8688 5511


Coroner's Court 

(02) 8584 7777


















Martha Jabour