Our intention here is to provide you with a simple funeral checklist which covers all aspects of the funeral itself. Some items are actions to perform while others are mere points to consider. It may be that not every point mentioned is relevant to your situation in which case just ignore these and concentrate on those that are.
Some considerations prior to starting your funeral checklist:-
We will assume that you have already been in contact with a funeral home. Also that you have considered your various options as to burial or cremation etc. and have decided upon a cemetery. Can we suggest that you read how to plan a funeral so as to ensure that all the preliminaries are covered?
Of course your chosen funeral director will be able to advise on all the following points but it is also worth discussing them with other family members too.
The Funeral Checklist.
service time and location – where will the service be held? In a religious building? At home? By the graveside?
what is the tone of the occasion? – not every funeral has to be sombre in nature. Many people today insist on making the service more of a celebration of life rather than death. This can be performed through the choice of readings and songs. It is not unusual to ask guests to wear – for instance – a colored tie as opposed to traditional black funeral clothing.
transportation – how are you expecting to transport the deceased to the service? And then onto the burial ground? A modern hearse or traditional coach and horses? Will there be a funeral possession? Who will travel with the casket? In which cars? When and where will they meet?
choose a charity – many people consider it beneficial to give to a charity instead of buying flowers. Did the deceased have a favourite charity? Was there a hospice or care home that helped in their final time with us? Or a charity connected with the way they passed away?
contact friends / family – ensure that all friends and family are aware of the above arrangements. This can be carried out via formal invitations, word of mouth or a combination of both.
casket / coffin – this will depend above upon several factors, the most important being cost and type of ceremony.
who will organize it all + look after finances? – Is this responsibility falling on you because you were the closest to the deceased? Are you really the right person to be doing this? Are you capable of doing so at this present time? There is no shame in either asking for help or placing the arrangements and funeral checklist in the hands of someone who is both willing and able to complete the task.
photos + personal items – you may want some items on display at the service.
pall bearers – often arranged by the funeral home, but there may be friends or family members who particularly want to do this. It can also be a way of keeping costs down.
readings - scriptures? A eulogy? Funeral poems? A mixture of all of them? Not only what to recite but who will do so? It may be that various people take on different readings.
music / songs – before, during and after the funeral. Are there any songs that were special or personal to the deceased? Many funerals today will end with a very ‘upbeat’ song in order to celebrate the life of the person who has passed on.
food – this is by no means a necessity, but if you are arranging a gathering afterwards then it should be given some consideration.
what will the deceased be wearing?- also their personal items. If you have opted for cremation then there will be limitations – for instance all jewelry will be removed and handed back to the family. However, in the case of burial you can choose to leave these items in the casket. But do consider this carefully – other family members may have differing views as to whether these items should instead be kept and passed on.
flowers – how, what and where will the flowers be arranged?
You may also find help with some of the points in the ‘later arrangements’ of the funeral checklist by looking at memorial service ideas. The suggestions on this page apply to every type of service, including a funeral.