Arranging A Funeral
There are many decisions to make in arranging a funeral but you can rely on Hope Family to help guide you through these choices.
Things to consider
Burial or cremation
Where to care for the person who has passed away
One choice is to have your loved one stay with us, with you and your family visiting if you wish. Another is for them to be embalmed and returned home. Our own first choice for body care is not to embalm, although there are times when it is necessary, though it is not a legal requirement.
One of the first things we do is wash and dress the person.
This can be done together with us directing you or we can wash and dress them ourselves. We do need you to choose clothes and to decide about jewellery and other personal items.
Your choice of casket
It is essential and a requirement to have a casket or coffin. You can create a casket yourself, following set measurements. But there is a wide variety of caskets available, many of them illustrated on our website. Our range includes eco-friendly cardboard as well as solid timbers and plywood. We have traditional caskets available as well. We can also provide a liner casket, which is a cost effective way to cremate, using a traditional casket with a liner inside. During the funeral process this is all one sees, but when cremation occurs only the liner is used, enabling the outer casket to be recycled.
This decision needs to be made fairly promptly as it affects most of the following decisions.
To view a range of caskets we have available
There is no legal necessity to have a funeral service, but it has been our experience that to mark someone’s passing by an acknowledgement of some kind can be important for those involved. The service we arrange for you and your family can be appropriate to any particular culture or belief system, or it can be based around a simple expression and celebration of the life we are honouring.
Who will lead the event?
This could be a celebrant, a minister, a friend of the family, or anyone appropriate of your choosing. There is no legal requirement to have a registered person to officiate at a funeral service, so essentially it can be anybody.
You may also wish to consider others who may contribute to the service. Whether you are a family who can speak easily or would prefer someone to take on that role for you, whether you will choose particular people to speak or would be happy to allow for open contributions, whether you would like a eulogy (an overview of a person’s life) and if so who would write and deliver that.
Where will the service be held?
There are endless choices, including ones such as the crematorium chapel, church, RSA, Olive Tree Cottage or more personalised locations such as the family home, a garden, a beach, or anywhere else that feels appropriate for the loved one and their family & friends. It is also possible to have a funeral service in any venue that can be hired.
To view a range of venues in the local area
One thing to consider when organising a gathering is the movement of your guests and whether you will provide refreshments at some stage. If so, then it is easier, though not essential to have everything in the same place so guests don’t have to leave to transfer to another location. Remember, when hiring venues we may need to also hire equipment such as microphones, chairs, catering items, or family and friends can contribute essential needs of this type.
Will you be providing refreshments to guests? You will need to think about numbers, and about how the catering will be arranged. You can hire your own caterers or ask us to arrange something within your budget for you.
Would you like flowers as part of the casket display? If so, you should think about your preferences for colour or type of flower, appropriate to the season. We can organise fresh flowers for you to display on the coffin.
Usually six people are required.
Caskets are always carried feet first, so you might think not only of who would be pallbearers, men or women, but also where they can be positioned (the head of the casket is usually the heaviest).
Service Sheets, Bookmarks or Memorial Books
We have an experienced design team who can provide high quality, personalised service sheets or bookmarks that reflect your loved one’s interests. We have a number of samples, showing the different options available.
Things we will need:
Photo(s) of the loved one
High quality is best in tiff or jpeg form
Any poems, hymns or songs that will be included in the service
We have a range of memorial books here available for you to choose from.
You are more than welcome to produce your own service sheets, bookmarks, memorial books and other personal documents.
A Visual Record
Most families like to have images from their loved one’s life at a service, whether as a photo display or a memorial card forming part of the service documents, or even as a DVD presentation. We can assist with the professional creation of these materials and their presentation. It is also possible to have the service itself recorded for sending to others who could not attend or even for the service to be recorded and put online for family members overseas via live streaming.
A really lovely way for people to place the life of the deceased in context – make up a board of photos from throughout their life. You can place this anywhere, but it is good to place it on the table near the memorial book so that people can look at the photos and then write their thoughts.
We are able to advise you on this. You may want to give some thought to any special requirements, individuals to thank, donations etc.
Generally a couple of tracks are chosen – some music to play for 20 minutes or so while people are arriving, a track to play during the reflection time in the ceremony and something to play at the end of the service. You could also think about asking a musician to play for the service.
Can be kept, buried in a purchased plot at a cemetery, or scattered in a place significant to the family. Any ashes being taken overseas require a cremation export certificate; so do ask if you would like one with the ashes.