How to plan for a funeral

At Olsens Funerals, we fully understand that grief is personal and that it needs to be experienced individually. While there is a healing power in mourning as a group, everyone grieves in their own way. This can be particularly difficult for someone who is both grieving and faced with planning a funeral.

Funeral directors are equipped to give you the space you need to grieve while showing you available choices to help make planning your loved one’s funeral easier. We’ll do everything we can to help you create a final service that is both dignified and personalised, below we have outlined some of the key steps you will need to do while planning for a funeral.

During this time, you may have friends and family members who will be willing to offer well-intended advice and suggestions. Although this can be valuable, be aware that it can also be confusing, overwhelming and not always accurate or suitable for your loved one’s farewell.

At Olsens, we’ll help you anticipate all the details that one may face when planning a funeral. Should you desire assistance, we are available at any time.

Steps To Planning A Funeral

Transfer Your Loved One To Our Care

The first step in the process of planning a funeral is to obtain a medical death certificate from an attending physician, and arrange to have a loved one transferred to the care of a funeral director such as Olsens.

When choosing a funeral director, there is much to be considered. You’ll want to select an experienced funeral director who has a solid reputation for arranging funeral services seamlessly and able to see through all the arrangements for you.

Some take comfort in selecting a family-owned facility, choosing a location that is convenient, or funeral directors that can offer custom plans to best reflects the personality of your loved one.

Choosing a Burial or Cremation

Over the last decade, cremations have overtaken traditional funerals as the most chosen form of final service. Today, in Australia, cremations account for over 70% of final services.

Cremations have become popular, in part, because they are more affordable than a traditional funeral and burial, and are now more accepted religiously. They can also extend the period of time by which services or a memorial may be planned. Still, many prefer the funeral traditions of a showing, a funeral, and a burial.

Keep in mind that cremation doesn’t mean you can’t have a traditional viewing or burial.

There can be a showing prior to a cremation and cremation ashes can still be buried. If a loved one hasn’t talked about a preference for either service, our staff can discuss with you the benefits of each.

Choosing the Style of Service

The next step in funeral planning is choosing the type or style of service.

This will often depend on the religious beliefs of the family involved. You can choose a traditional service, a contemporary or custom service, or something that has become increasingly popular lately called a celebration of life.

While a traditional service will include a traditional showing and a burial, custom services will often reflect the personality of the deceased and include references to their hobbies, passions, or even favourite sports teams.

Celebrations of life are often chosen when someone pre-plans their funeral and are intended to be a more upbeat final service. Funeral ideas have expanded and funeral etiquette has changed in recent years.

Olsens can help plan a funeral to suit your needs and grant the personal wishes of your loved one.

Where To Hold Your Funeral

Your next choice is where services will be held.

You can choose to have services take place at a funeral home chapel, on a private property, or at the graveside in the cemetery. Some will decide to include multiple locations to include in final services. These choices will often depend on the size of the funeral and how many anticipated attendees there may be. The chosen location should reflect the style of service you choose.

Choosing a Minister or Celebrant

One of the significant decisions to be made when planning a funeral is identifying who will serve to officiate the services. This is important as this sets the tone of the service.

For many, having a member of the clergy officiate is a natural choice.

A funeral director or celebrant may serve in the same capacity, as with a family member or close friend. When choosing a family member or close friend, they should be willing participants and be comfortable speaking in front of a group under these difficult circumstances.

Funeral Arrangements: Flowers, Coffins and Details

Part of what makes planning a funeral difficult when you are grieving is having so many details involved. You want to make sure you decide according to your personal preferences and consider any financial constraints.

Our professional team will take you through each detail from flower arrangements, coffin choices, car services, and catering. We’ll help take care of everything down to making sure a memory jar is available for attendees to contribute.

Attendees & Press Notices

Our staff can also assist you with organising a fitting notice for the newspaper and help you decide on the number of attendees.

They can ensure important people are notified of the services and make necessary arrangements in organising the program. We’ll take care of preparing any mementos, music, photographs, and help facilitate video productions if desired. We’ll carefully follow your lead and desires in creating a service for your loved one that is genuine and respectful.

The Memorial: Writing the Eulogy

One of the most remembered aspects of memorial services is the eulogy.

Being tasked to give a eulogy at a funeral should be considered an honour, but this can be a daunting task. The person tasked to give the eulogy should be someone close to the deceased and comfortable in approaching family members to share their own stories and memories.

While a eulogy doesn’t have to be chronological, it can be a helpful way to construct the speech. A eulogy should include the names of close family members and friends, nicknames, military service, education, career and hobby choices. Eulogies should be delivered deliberately and the speaker should be able to make eye contact with the audience.

Guests who have travelled great distances to attend should be acknowledged. Eulogies should be sincere and heartfelt and may include some light-hearted memories and anecdotes. A well-written and delivered eulogy should bring both smiles and tears.

Taking Care of Yourself

It is equally important for you to take care of yourself throughout the grieving process.

Losing a loved one can easily take over your life. You may have many different thoughts and feelings through the day, some that evoke tears, or pain, or laughter. This insular experience of loss is referred to as grief.

When we mourn this is an external expression of your grief, it is crying, talking and sharing stories. Mourning helps you navigate your grief; it helps you begin the path to putting life back together. Everyone grieves and mourns differently, but there are some steps along the way that most people will find helpful to process loss and move forward.

  • Be open to the presence of your loss, embrace the uniqueness of your grief.
  • Explore what you might experience and recognise you are not crazy.
  • Nurture yourself and reach out for help. Acknowledge what is happening.
  • Seek reconciliation, not resolution and appreciate your transformation.

Occasionally, we may find grief and bereavement overwhelming. It is important to reach out to someone during this time, if you feel your grief is impacting your life, you may wish to seek professional support.

At Olsens, we are here to help you in this difficult time in a caring and compassionate way. We have served grieving families for three generations, spanning over 70 years.

If we can be of immediate assistance in planning a funeral for you, please contact us. We are available at any time by calling (02) 9545 3477 or contact us here