A very small scale funeral director will do all or most of this.

In bigger funeral homes the work is divvied up. An arranger does the arranging and paperwork —often part time, almost always female. This may be the only person you meet until the day of the funeral.

A mortuary assistant does the body work – prepping, they call it.

Your master of ceremonies on the day of the funeral is called the conductor, and many people do not meet their conductor until he or she knocks on their door on the day of the funeral.

Bearers carry the coffin. They are almost always part-timers, and they may work for several funeral directors. This is a nice little earner for off-duty firefighters, ambulance drivers and retired policemen.

The bigger the operation, the greater will be the number of strangers dealing with your dead person. At a busy funeral director’s the priorities are paperwork and transport issues. The less they see of you, frankly, the happier most of them are. They need to get on.

The bigger the operation, the more impersonal it tends to be. In such an organisation the interests of the business and the interests of you, the consumer, are divergent. In balancing, on the one hand, things to do against, on the other, people to see, funeral directors have to prioritise things to do every time. They are running against the clock. You get in the way.

You do not have to engage a funeral director to be both the carer of the body of the person who has died and the event planner. If you want to plan an elaborate funeral, and you don’t think there’s a funeral director in your local area who can rise to the occasion, your best bet may be to engage an expert event planner.