Arranging a Funeral

When you are grieving the loss of a loved one, the responsibility of planning their funeral can be overwhelming. We at Narooma Funerals are here to help you, every step of the way. Together, we can create a beautiful and lasting tribute to your loved one.

We encourage you to involve your family so that each of you may share your thoughts and ideas for the funeral. Inviting everyone, including children, to help plan or take part in the service, shows them that their feelings matter too.

This time, is one to be understanding of each other’s needs. You are all experiencing grief and loss in your own way – be gentle and accept each other’s feelings.

You may have the challenge of balancing your loved one’s wishes with your own needs as mourners – it is okay to put the needs of your family first. Look to fulfil the essence of their wishes, not the specific details.

Allow yourself time – you may feel you have to put the funeral behind you as quickly as possible. This is not so and we encourage you to rethink this approach. Sometimes the funeral is seen as a painful experience and there is a need to simply want it over. Understand that the loss of your loved one has caused the pain. The funeral can and should be the instigator of your healing. In deciding on a day and time for the funeral, ensure you have allowed enough time to consider and carry out all your preferred options.

Considerations that may require additional time are:

  • Relatives needing to travel
  • Opportunities to view your loved one
  • Preparation of service sheets, memory displays or photo stories
  • Preparing the eulogy

Information Required

When a death occurs, there is a legal obligation to register the death with the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages in that state. As part of the process of registering the death, the Registrar asks for the following information:

  • Date and place of birth
  • Marriage details – where, when and to whom
  • Children’s names, date of birth and ages
  • Parents’ full name and occupations

Please assemble this information prior to meeting with our Funeral Arranger.

Choosing a venue

If you or the person who has died attended a church or other place of worship, this may be the natural choice for the funeral service. This is particularly appropriate when a family wishes to arrange a service of traditional religious significance, such as a funeral mass.

Possible venues are only limited by your imagination and can include:

  • funeral chapel
  • crematorium / cemetery chapel
  • graveside
  • garden setting
  • rural property
  • private residence
  • school assembly hall.

If you choose a venue other than a church, a member of the clergy, or, if you prefer, a celebrant, can be arranged to officiate at the ceremony.

Some points to consider when choosing the venue for the funeral service

  • How many people will be accommodated?
  • Is the facility large enough or perhaps too large?
  • Is there adequate seating?
  • Are special facilities required, for example, video projection, room for musicians, on-site catering?
  • Will the service be conducted completely in one location or move in cortege to the cemetery or crematorium?
  • Is the venue easy to find?
  • Is there adequate parking?
  • Are there time restrictions in using the facility?

Adding A Personal Touch To The Funeral

Create a funeral that reflects the unique and special qualities of your loved one by adding some personal touches. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Provide a memory book for guests to sign at the gathering. This allows mourners to share their memories and feelings and will become a cherished memento of your loved one.
  • Select flowers that were meaningful to your loved one.
  • Light a candle. The flame of a candle represents the spirit.
  • Place your loved one’s favourite things close by. These will have special meaning to all who share your loss.
  • Involve organisations that the person was involved in, for example, the RSL, Rotary or Masonic Lodge. Some of these organisations have their own short ceremony that can be included, or you may invite them to form a guard of honour or help as pallbearers.
  • Project photo images of the person’s life during the service.
  • Create a memory display. Encourage family and friends to contribute their favourite photos.
  • Have children place a flower on the coffin during the service.
  • Fill the room with your loved one’s favourite music. You may choose to use pre-recorded music or bring in musicians. Include poetry or scripture that may have special significance to your loved one.
  • Don’t be afraid to use humour, where appropriate. Remember, the eulogy is a celebration of your loved one’s life.
  • Give guests an order of service. Personalise it with special memories, photos or lines from a poem.
  • Choose a meaningful funeral cortege or procession. You may ask that the possession pass a significant place.
  • Escort the cortege with significant vehicle(s).
  • Place a flower or cast petals into the grave at the completion of the committal.
  • Release balloons, doves or butterflies at the graveside.

Casket And Coffins

As part of the funeral arrangements you will have the option of whether to purchase a coffin or a casket for the deceased.

What is the difference between a Casket and a Coffin?

The difference is basically one of design.

Coffins are tapered at the head and foot and are wide at the shoulders. Caskets are rectangular in shape and are usually constructed of better quality timbers and feature higher standards of workmanship. Many people regard the coffin or casket as an important tribute to the deceased and they are therefore selected with care.

If you wish you may also personalise the coffin.

Narooma Funerals’ range of coffins extend from personalised, solid timber to a more traditional coffin in a wide range of colours and finishes.

Our aim is to help you choose a coffin that echoes the life and ideals on your loved one so that a necessity begins to hold meaning and value.

Burial or Cremation

The wishes of the deceased must be followed, if they are known. A cremation cannot take place if there are written instructions to the contrary.

The numbers of people choosing to be cremated are steadily increasing – cremations now outnumber burials. Cremation funerals are much higher in city areas where crematory facilities are available. In regional area burials tend to predominate.

People have a choice of either burial or cremation. In certain cultures cremation is not favoured (or may be prohibited within the relevant faith belief). In other cultures the opposite may occur with cremation being the custom.

Choosing a Cremation

There is no necessity in law to inter the ashes or keep them in an urn. You may wish to:

  • Create a memorial for your loved one in a specially designed garden or wall of remembrance.
  • Create your own memorial at home or on a property.
  • Have the ashes scattered at a location of significance.

This is a decision that doesn’t need to be made straight away. Your funeral director or the crematorium will give you a range of options when you’re ready to discuss this which may be some weeks after the funeral service.

Choosing Burial

If you are arranging a burial, you may already know the cemetery that is to be used. The cemetery plot may even have been pre-purchased.

Feel free to drive through the cemeteries in your area. You will see the different choices within them, such as:

  • Lawn areas where the plaque is recessed into the lawn.
  • Historic headstone sections.
  • Headstone lawn areas, where a more traditional headstone is erected on a concrete strip or within a garden area.

Narooma Funerals can assist you in making the choices for your loved one.

Funeral Service Formats

There is no one ‘right’ way to hold a funeral. A funeral should simply ‘reflect’ the person who died and the family and friends who survive that person. To help you in your planning, the list below is the most often asked-for formats for a funeral.

  • A service held in a church or chapel, followed by a full cortege to the place of burial or cremation where the committal will take place.
  • A service held in a church or chapel, followed by a private cortege to a place of burial or cremation, where only the family is present to witness the committal.
  • A service and committal in a church or chapel, with no cortege. The coffin or casket is removed from the church or chapel during the singing of the final hymn.
  • A service and committal in a crematorium chapel or funeral chapel.
  • A service and committal at the graveside.
  • A memorial or thanksgiving service. No coffin or casket is present at the church or chapel. A memorial or thanksgiving service usually follows a private graveside or crematorium committal.
  • The service may be either public or private.

Who will lead the Service?
If you or a loved one has an association with a church, your clergy will be the obvious choice. You may not have attended a church for many years but would still appreciate a clergy person to officiate at the service. Our Funeral Arranger can easily arrange this. Or you may prefer a celebrant to lead the service which can also be arranged for you.

You or the person who has died may already know the clergy or celebrant. However, this is often not the case and it will be important for the clergy or celebrant and your family to meet and discuss the life of your loved one, the ceremony and your wants and needs.


The term “viewing” describes the time mourners spend with the deceased person after death and before the funeral.

The body is present in an open coffin or casket, allowing you and others who loved the person the chance to say goodbye and to come to terms with the reality and finality of the death. It allows you to see that the one who has died is now at peace, especially if they were struggling or suffering with life.

The decision to view is an individual one. Mourners should not be prevented from viewing, nor should they be forced to do so.

If possible, try not to leave the viewing till the day of the funeral. Allow enough days between the death and the day of the service to benefit from the viewing.

Dressing your Loved One
What your loved one will wear can be an important part of saying goodbye. The choice of clothing is yours and should reflect the wishes and personality of your loved one.

The deceased can wear their own clothes and if doing so, remember to include underwear and shoes. Alternatively they can wear a gown known as a shroud or a breasting which is a head to toe dignity cover

We will arrange for hair and make up to be done – supplying their own makeup and a recent photo can be of assistance. You will also need to decide on whether jewellery is to be worn and also other items such as Rosary Beads.

Floral Arrangements

Select flowers that were meaningful to your loved one. This is an important aspect of a funeral as the coffin or casket adorned with a thoughtfully selected floral tribute provides a key focal point of the funeral service.

You will need to decide whether you want people to send flowers or not. Today, it is increasing popular for families to request “no flowers”, instead opting to encourage mourners to send donations to a charity in lieu of flowers.

It is also important to think about what will be done with the collection of flowers after the service – sometimes the flowers are given to the nursing facility where the deceased was cared for.