We often dismiss the idea of our own funerals because it’s such a hard topic to face.
But the reality is at any age, funerals happen and having a plan for your own funeral not only helps take the stress away from your family but also gives you what you might like as a final send-off.
By planning your arrangements in advance, you can specify the exact type of service you’d like, and for anyone who likes to plan or would like some individual personal touches to your own funeral, this guide and checklist is for you!
There are actually many elements of a funeral you can plan in advance.
Here are some important questions you need to ask yourself for your checklist.
- Do you want a cremation or burial?
There are a lot of things to consider in this topic which are deeply personal decisions. You can factor in your decision making based on the difference of costs on each, the sentiment of each, the environmental process of each and your religious beliefs.
- Do you want an open or closed casket?
A viewing (often called a wake in some countries) is when the body is on display in an open casket.
A viewing may be brief and take place immediately before the funeral service or last for up to three days before the service.
At a visitation, the body may or may not be visible (i.e., closed casket).
- What type of service would you like?
Think about the type of service you’d like which reflects your life.
Funerals don’t always have to be grim affairs; think about it as the last celebration of your life, and you can make them as joyful and unique as you can.
This article goes into more detail about unique ideas you can have to celebrate your life.
Some ideas can include ocean funerals, speciality transport, unique coffin ideas, different music ideas and military honour services.
- What type of flowers, speeches and eulogies would you like on the day?
A good florist will be very familiar with popular flower arrangements for funerals, but it can be a good idea to note the types of flowers you love or, on the other hand, note any you don’t like in advance. Delivering a eulogy or a speech at a funeral is often seen as a great privilege. It’s a good idea to think about who you’d like to have speak at your funeral but also who you think would rise to the occasion as it’s not an easy task.
- What types of music would I like played?
This is probably where your service can have some very personal individual touches through it.
Music can be very influential on people’s emotions, and it can be a touching way for people to remember you.
Music is powerful and important to many people and choosing to include music in your funeral can help make the service particularly meaningful and personal.
Certain music pieces are commonly played at funerals or memorial services, such as “Amazing Grace” or Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.”
However, if you have a favourite song or hymn, you might consider including that music in your service.
More and more people choose less traditional music for funerals and memorial services; think of meaningful lyrics that can be rock, pop or country, just be aware of the audience who will be attending.
- What type of post-service reception would you like?
A reception is an excellent opportunity for people to spend time together, share memories, and support one another at a difficult time.
As many funerals and memorial services are sad and very formal, a post-service gathering provides a lighter atmosphere for you and your family to connect.
Think about somewhere you can have casual drinks and food which could be arranged at a funeral home or a place where you always loved to go such as a surf club, bar, favourite restaurant or even catered in your own home or a family’s home.
- How do I pay for the funeral?
Funerals differ in price depending on the service and the extras you choose.
To find out more about the extras that need to be included in funeral costs, read our article about the costs and breakdowns.
There are also some great advantages to pre-planning your funeral with pre-paid options so you can have the type of funeral you really want without putting the financial burden on your family.
There are also lots of options to consider when thinking of pre-planned options over funeral insurance.
Here are some other points to consider in your checklist planning.
- How about a favourite picture you’d like displayed?
- Would you like the funeral ‘live streamed’?
- Do you have a charity you would like guests to donate to instead of flowers?
- What do you want regarding a permanent memorial?
- Have you thought about what words you’d like on your plaque or headstone?
- Do I want my ashes scattered, and where?
- Have I told anyone where my important documents are?
At Newhaven Funerals, we can explain everything in detail with our expert funeral planners so you have all the information and can put a plan in place.
Simply contact us, and we’ll take you through the options available and explain the benefits, both financial and emotional.
We have provided a PDF copy of this article for you to download and keep as reference source and checklist, to download please click on the following “How To Plan Your Own Funeral”
You can also read our My Funeral Plan page for more ideas and suggestions.
Article by Tim Connolly – Newhaven Funerals
Tim Connolly – Funeral Director
Newhaven Funerals Brisbane & Gold Coast.
Growing up around funerals since the age of six allows Tim a unique understanding of how a family owned funeral business should be.
Since leaving school in 1992 Tim has been deeply involved in all aspects of operating their family owned business, including operating crematoriums, memorial gardens and pet cremation business.
Tim is always available to assist all clients with any request