PLANNING A FUNERAL
A step-by-step guide
This simple guide will take you through the steps of planning a funeral ceremony. If you’ve already had some ideas, then I’ll work with you to develop them, if not then we’ll start with a blank sheet of paper and map it out between us. I’ll let you know the sorts of things people often have, but the final decisions are up to you. Together we’ll create something unique, something appropriate, something memorable.
STEP 1: Who is going to speak?
If it’s important to you, to say your last farewell in person, I’ll support you through that, however, most people don’t feel able to get up and speak on what is bound to be an emotional day.
So, if you want me to do all the talking, I’ll gladly step in; I’m there on your behalf, to express your feelings and emotions, I’ll say the words you don’t feel able to.
Often there’s a blend of input, some from me, plus first hand tributes from family or a close friend; sometimes I’m asked to read those out too, on behalf of whoever has written them. It’s a lovely touch, to get that personal input.
It helps to have everyone’s contributions in advance so I can make sure we’re not rushed, but I’ll always time things out in advance, just to make sure.
STEP 2: The Eulogy
The dictionary definition goes like this..
‘Eulogy - a speech or piece of writing that praises someone or something highly, especially a tribute to someone who has just died’.
That doesn’t mean you can’t mention their ‘funny little ways’ as well!
If you decide you want to write and deliver the eulogy yourself, but are struggling to know where to start, please get in touch and I’ll send you some useful pointers, to get you going.
Call Theo on 079 41 40 3000 or email email@example.com
Right at the heart of everything I do, is the story I tell at the service. That’s a result of the questions I’ll ask you, the creation of a script and it’s delivery, which is where my key skills are.
It will be an accurate reflection of everything you want to say and I’ll clear every single word of it with you in advance, to make sure it’s the very best it can be.
Eulogies tend to be a chronological run down of a life, but if you want to ‘break the mould’ then tell me and together we can work something out which suits you. How about a collection of stories? Or get the people who’ll be at the funeral to write a farewell letter in advance and I’ll read those out.
STEP 3: Music
Most services are a combination of spoken word and music. You can have as many tracks as you want; most people choose 3 or 4, which fit in as follows; something to come in to, another piece half way through, so that people can pause and think about whoever has died, and one at the end.
Sometimes people choose a poignant track for the committal, the ceremonial part where we bid a final farewell. You can see how to map out a running order below, in Step 4.
STEP 4: Over to you...
Are there any other elements you’d like? You’re free to include whatever you wish, a poignant poem, favourite words or sayings, a hymn or a prayer, it’s up to you.
A typical running order is set out below. I send this to your funeral director, so that if you are having a printed Order of Service they have a starting point. Not all the elements in the example are necessary and they can be arranged in whatever order you like.
MUSIC ON ARRIVAL: A Different Corner - George Michael
Welcome (Get everyone settled and let them know what’s coming up)
Eulogy (This is their life story, in all its glory!)
Memories of Grandad - written and read by Ellie (some first hand family stuff can be a lovely addition)
Reflection (Each person there can sit and remember in their own way)
MUSIC FOR REFLECTION: In My Life - The Beatles
Committal (Words that say a last goodbye - the most formal part)
Final thoughts (A wrap up of the service)
PARTING MUSIC: That’s Life - Frank Sinatra
“As a family we are
deeply grateful to you.”