Checklist Planning a Funeral

Cost – Is there a pre-paid funeral plan, funeral insurance or savings set aside for the funeral? If not, who will pay for the funeral until the estate is settled?

Choose and appoint a Funeral Director or Celebrant if you wish to use one (get recommendations from family, friends, local vicar, or on whiteballoon Providers)

Choose between burial and cremation, or other (did they leave an indication of their wishes?)

Decide on the type of service (religious/ non-religious/ humanist/ other)

Decide on the location for the service and committal (at a place of worship, crematorium or elsewhere)

Who will officiate or conduct the service? Your local Vicar, a Celebrant or someone else?

Arrange the date and time of the service

Decide whether you wish to have a reception or wake and where to hold it

Choose who will attend (a small, private service or open?)

Decide whether to have a memorial service

Send notifications with date and timings to family and friends

Post a notice of death and/ or an obituary, either in a newspapers or online

Decide whether there will be a viewing

Choose a coffin, casket, shroud or urn (as required)

Decide on the service content – hymns, music, readings, poems and prayers, etc

Choose who will write and deliver the eulogy

Organise production of the Order of Service and other funeral stationery.

Choose pallbearers (they can either be professional or family and/ or friends)

Organise transportation (for the deceased, pallbearers and family)

Choose and order flowers (for the service, if required, casket and post-funeral gathering)

If you wish to, choose an outfit for the deceased

Decide whether the service will be live-streamed or recorded through photography or videography

Pick a photograph or photographs to be displayed at the funeral and/ or post-funeral gathering. Some people choose to have a short movie of photographs or video clips.

Choose personal touches, if you wish (eg book of condolence, memory jar)

Prepare signage, if required, for parking and directions to the service.

Plan the funeral reception or wake:

  • Set a budget
  • Choose a location/ venue
  • Decide if/ what food will be served (sandwiches, cake, buffet?)
  • Decide if/ what drinks will be served (tea, coffee, alcohol?)
  • Tables and chairs (for food, drink and for people to sit down, if required)
  • Cutlery, china, glasses
  • Personal touches (photoboard, memory jar, guest book, etc)
  • Signage for parking
  • Music and musicians, if required
  • Flowers (some people choose to bring the flowers from the coffin or casket and display them)
  • Waiters and waitresses, if required
  • Would you like a speech/speeches by a family member or close friend/s?

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