Top Ten Tips for arranging a funeral

Charles 12 Comments


Posted by Moss


At the risk of seeming rather tabloid, especially during a difficult period for the press, we recently produced a list of tips for people who are arranging or planning a funeral. I presented this to a group of hospice workers and bereavement professionals who had a number of good suggestions to make, so I am hoping that others will be able to add to the list so that we can make it a TOP TWENTY or more… 

1. Don’t panic – there’s no need to be rushed into any decisions. S l o w  things down and allow yourself to take stock of what has happened.

2. Carry on caring for the person who has died and take time to say goodbye.

3. Don’t waste money on things that don’t matter; concentrate on what really counts.

4. Sing songs at the funeral to help people to join in with the ceremony; ask someone to lead the singing.

5. Keep things simple and natural – this can bring beautiful results and can highlight the importance of small individual things.

6. Ask for and accept help – many people would love to help, so give them permission to do so.

7. Consider poems – they can often put into words what we find hard to say.

8. Don’t be a spectator – bear the coffin, decide on music, poems, and memories for the service.

9. Make it personal – include a favourite perfume or flower, photographs or paintings, vehicle, sport, club or hobby – take the children and the dog too.

10. Start now – Don’t wait until it’s hard to talk about it; write down your latest thoughts.

Please help us add to and improve this list…

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Jeanne Staehli
Jeanne Staehli
12 years ago

This is an excellent list! Thank you.

Shirley Tatum
12 years ago

Although it’s addressed in #8, I would suggest adding a DIY component to all services. Take a trip to the craft store and see what you can create that could be integrated as part of a service. If possible, come up with a project that involves others, from a quickie quilt that mourners can sign, homemade candles to be handed out, or makeshift favors that guests can take with them.

(Too long, I know!)

Tiffany McColl
12 years ago

Great list! Especially #8 and #9– personalizing the ceremony to avoid a “cookie-cutter” service is what’s most important.

12 years ago

The suggestions below would certainly need editing for public advice, but they come from experience and hence from the heart: 6a Find someone not disabled by grief to hold your hand through what can seem like a maze of conflicting information and instructions – preferably someone who knows what they’re doing and has done it before, such as a celebrant. Don’t assume you can rely on someone for objective information until you know you can – even hospital bereavement officers can get it wrong sometimes, for instance, so if you want the hospital to hang on to the body for… Read more »

12 years ago

What about:

Try to remain true to yourself, and find someone you trust to use as a sounding board. Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t, and a discussion with another person will help you work out why.

11 years ago

13. Make a checklist of everything required.

Although mentioned in 6. it could be extended:

14. Ask for help from family and friends with the arrangements.

15. Enroll the services of a Funeral Director.

16. There are many bereavement support organizations available to speak to as this can be a distressing experience.

11 years ago

Thank you for the list of points, if interested to know more about just log in to our web site as we are the first and foremost Indian Funeral Directors in England providing fast, efficient and professional funeral services such as arranging funerals, coffin supply, repatriation, transportation and other services.

Charles Cowling
11 years ago

Thank you for telling us about yourself, Indida. You have a very nice website. I love the music!

Jessie Harrison
7 years ago

Funerals definitely aren’t an easy thing to plan for, especially if it’s a close relative. Thank you for making your first tip “don’t panic”, because I feel like a lot of the time that’s what we do. Another thing I would suggest is getting a funeral director or funeral services. It may take some of the stress away.


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5 years ago

I love how you said to sing songs at the funeral to help people to join in with the ceremony. I am helping arrange my great-grandma’s funeral for Sunday. I appreciate the tips on arranging a funeral.

Sutton Turner
5 years ago

I like how you suggested considering saying poems at a funeral service. We are having a funeral in the local funeral home this Saturday for my friend. Thanks for the funeral tips.