The funeral service is the centrepiece of a funeral event. Nowadays the two most significant ceremonies in our lives are marriages and funerals.
A great funeral service always covers a few important things;
- Feels like the deceased was part of it.
- Honours the deceased.
- Gives family and friends the opportunity to grieve, celebrate or both.
- Brings family and friends together to renew and strengthen their bonds.
- Provides talking points that make the wake that follows, a more significant event.
It is also important that you consider having the appropriate funeral celebrant perform the ceremony for you, whether that is an experienced funeral celebrant, minister, pastor or priest. Take the time to choose the right fit for your needs.
If you are taking out a prepaid funeral plan or putting together your funeral wishes, you can even have the ceremony designed for you for use later when it’s needed.
Let’s talk about the general structure of the funeral service.
A great funeral service has the following;
- A celebrant who behaves like a master of ceremonies; who is experienced in taking the mourners on the delicate emotional journey into and through a healing funeral ceremony. They are more than just a facilitator, they are also part event manager, counselor and orchestrator of a myriad of small details that dictate the overall shape of the ceremony.
- They will create a script for the ceremony that is personal, respectful and in line with the wishes of the family. Briefs the speakers beforehand and at the ceremony and gives each speaker an introduction and time limit for their tributes.
- If necessary they will write and deliver the eulogy.
The celebrant also encourages the inclusion of symbolism and ritual to suit the ceremony style and person.
- A staged entrance for the coffin bearing the deceased.
- The coffin being borne in by family or assigned pallbearers
- An introduction by the celebrant.
- A eulogy delivered by somebody who was close to the deceased. A eulogy is a speech that praises someone highly, especially a tribute to someone who has just died. The eulogy lists their achievements and gives a chronology of their life.
- A number of tributes. A tribute is an act, or statement, that is intended to show gratitude, respect, or admiration.
- Family and friends saying what the deceased meant to them and did for them.
- A multimedia presentation showing pictures and video of the deceased’s life and playing music that was significant for the deceased.
- Often a reading or two, of poems or pieces of literature.
- A symbolic tribute that can be anything from laying a flower on the coffin, lighting a candle or writing a message.
- A well-crafted conclusion to the ceremony or committal by the funeral celebrant at the end of the service.
There are some things to think about and traps to avoid.
- Most Sydney funeral directors advise a booking of a crematorium chapel for one hour, as chapels are booked in one-hour segments. If the chapel is booked for another ceremony one hour after your funeral ceremony you only have 45 minutes to get your ceremony completed because it will take 15 minutes to get all your guests out of the chapel, and for the crematorium staff to reset the chapel. If you overrun your time the next funeral and the guests will be banging on the door to get in. This is quite ugly and can also cost you an extra fee from the crematorium chapel. In our experience, 45 minutes is not enough time to deliver a great funeral ceremony, so talk to your Picaluna funeral arranger and celebrant about making “a double booking” as it is called for the chapel.
- What about the funeral venue and the venue you will hold the wake? Do you even need to have the event at a crematorium? A crematorium chapel may be the last place the deceased would feel comfortable. Why not take the coffin to a place where you can hold the funeral and the wake in the same place? What about a surf club or a golf club? Funeral costs in Sydney can be high and this can save you a tonne of money – and give you a much more rewarding experience.
- Don’t be bound by the conventional. Consider a cardboard coffin, an eco-friendly coffin, a direct cremation leading to a memorial service instead of a funeral, an outside funeral, even a natural burial.
The point of all this is to get you thinking about what would be best for you, knowing that you have a huge range of choices.Make a plan and get your Picaluna funeral arranger to talk you through your plan before you start spending serious money. You may be amazed at what you find out.
The final tip is:Do not allow yourself to be rushed. Often funeral directors will tell you that you must make decisions quickly as the funeral “has to be in few days’ time”.That’s not true. Making decisions when you are rushed and stressed often leads to you making decisions you will regret, and entering binding agreements before you really know what you are doing.
To find out more pick up the phone to chat with a Picaluna funeral arranger or celebrant of your choice.