What to do when you are responsible for funeral or memorial arrangements.

It's a demanding time when someone close to you passes away and you are the one responsible for making arrangements.  At a time of loss and grief, it is difficult to make sure that you have given all the care possible to planning a service which reflects the essence of the person whom you have lost. A professional and compassionate Funeral Celebrant can be so very helpful in distilling the elements of a loved one's life into an honest and respectful eulogy.

Most people use a trusted local funeral director. Whoever you choose to handle your arrangements, it's a good idea to ensure that they are members of a professional association and are bound to adhere to a code of conduct. You may wish to read the NSW Office of Fair Trading booklet on Organising a Funeral - Buyer's Guide.

Once you have phoned your funeral director, they will either ask you to come to their office to discuss arrangements, or they will  visit you in your home. They will discuss the appropriate funeral celebrant for you and make recommendation based on your needs. You do not have to use the celebrant recommended by your funeral director but may nominate your own celebrant if you wish.

Your funeral director will help you with the death certificate (usually obtained from the deceased's doctor) and help you to decide on where and when to hold the service, cremation or interment, flowers,transport and other aspects of the service.

If you decide to ask me to be your funeral celebrant, I will visit you in your home to have a discussion with you and other family members about what will be an appropriate tribute to the deceased one as well as a consolation to the bereaved. It is a good idea for you to make brief biographical notes about the deceased's life. I can use your notes and your ideas to write a eulogy which reflects the life and spirit of the deceased. Family members or friends may wish to add their own tributes to be read at the service by them, or if they feel that is too difficult, I can read the tribute on their behalf. I can help with the choice of music and readings that are appropriate to the deceased. You may wish to have a funeral program to give to the mourners as a momento of the occasion. I can assist with the writing, design and printing of that if you wish.

I will meet with you, with your input, I can

  • Design the order of service
  • Write the funeral service
  • Write the eulogy 
  • Give help and advice to family members or friends who wish to write and/or deliver tributes
  • Help you to choose music
  • Suggest poetry and readings
  • Integrate additional cultural or family needs into the service

Before the service, I will email the eulogy to the contact family member to make sure that all biographical details, spelling of names, etc. are correct and to have your approval for the final wording.

You may wish to write a Funeral Program to be given to the mourners at the funeral.  Your funeral director may be able to help you with this or I can give you some ideas.  The above link is to a site which specialises in providing templates for funeral programs.

Funeral Celebrants Association AustraliaElaine Searle           Australian Federation of Civil Celebrants

Contact me to talk about your needs.

Elaine Searle

5 Streamdale Grove, Warriewood 2102

02 9979 2315, mob. 0402810062