Organising a Funeral
WHEN IT’S TIME TO ORGANISE A FUNERAL
Most people have honoured the ones they love with special rituals and in special places for centuries now. These rites of passage have created both an opportunity and a responsibility for us to give value and honour to the lives of those we love. Social and personal factors are important when family and friends come together to decide on funeral arrangements, as are religious and spiritual rituals.
To us death is an organic and transitional process, we believe that natural and sustainable practises are the way to go. Our alternative to embalming is the age old practise of bathing with essential oils and restorative creams and cooling with ice. We can do this at your home or at our premises.
There are many decisions to make in arranging a funeral and honouring our connections to the people we know and love. You can rely on us to guide you through the many choices and decisions to be made, from choosing a casket to what kind of service you would like.
Once death occurs, a doctor must come and certify the cause of death, and then you can call us to come and help you and your family with making the funeral arrangements and organising everything that needs to be done. You can call us way before that if you wish to.
WHAT YOU MUST DO WHEN SOMEONE DIES
Call a Doctor- First you need a doctor to certify death before anything
Call a Funeral Director- You will then need a funeral director to help you and your family through all the necessary decisions and events that follow
THINGS YOU NEED TO DO WHEN ORGANISING A FUNERAL
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 their essence, their life, and their gifts to us, is an important rite of passage for all involved. The service we arrange for you and your family can be appropriate to any particular belief system (Buddhist, Christian, and so forth), or it can be based around a simple expression and celebration of the life we are honouring.
Burial or Cremation
You will need to make this decision promptly because it affects most of the following decisions. If you choose burial you will need to visit a cemetery of your choice to purchase a plot. Cremation is significantly cheaper than burial.
Caring for the person who has died
One choice is to have us take care of the person who has died at our place with family and friends visiting. Another is for them to remain at home or return home, so we can come daily to take care of their body. We use ice and a cool room when we don’t embalm. 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 like to do is wash and dress the person. This can be done together with us directing you or we can wash and dress ourselves. We also need you to choose clothing for us and to decide about jewellery and other personal items.
Choosing a casket (coffin)
It is essential and a requirement to have a coffin. There is a wide variety of caskets available, many are available to view here on our website. Our range includes eco-friendly cardboard, basket weave, solid timbers and plywood. We have traditional caskets available as well.
Where will the service be held
There are endless choices, including obvious ones such as at a crematorium, church, home, at The Natural Funeral Company or more personalised locations such as a garden, a beach or anywhere else that feels appropriate for the person who has died and their family and friends. It is possible to have a funeral service in any venue that can be hired. 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 at the same place so guests don’t have to leave to transfer to another location. At The Natural Funeral Company we have our Arohanui Room that comfortably seats 70, it also feels intimate for just a few people too. Remember when hiring a venue, we may need to hire equipment such as microphones, speakers, chairs, catering items, projector and screens etc.
Who will lead the service or gathering
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 officiate for 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 chose 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.
There is no legal requirement to notify anyone’s death in a newspaper. You may want to let as many people as possible know when the funeral might be held. It is usual to name family relationships, the date the person died and where the funeral will be held, as well as a personal message. You can specify in a newspaper notice and/ or on social media for a donation to a cause in lieu of flowers. A notice once printed is online for one month. You may choose to use social media to notify everyone.
Would you like flowers to be on the casket on the day of the funeral? If so, you should think about your preferences for colour or type of flower, appropriate to the season. We usually say $400 to have a good coverage of the casket; of course you can spend less.
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 normally heaviest. It is usual for the casket to be placed when people arrive for a service, and to pallbear out to a significant piece of music. You can choose to pallbear both ways if you have a lot of people you’d like to be pallbearers.
Service cards are a lovely gift to your guests. We like to print on card so family and friends can keep them. You will need photos, poems, order of service or any other content you require. We have a talented designer who can do bookmarks, postcards, A6 cards or a larger A5 card. Or you can have a family member or friend do it for you.
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 slideshow presentation. We can assist with the professional creation of these materials and their presentation. It is also possible to have the service itself recorded or live streamed for sending to others who could not attend.
Will you be providing refreshments to guests? You will need to think about numbers that may attend. We can help you organise catering in your home or at your chosen venue, or you can organise caterers yourself. Crematoriums usually have caterers who provide food for your guests, normally such items as club sandwiches, savouries and cake.
There are a vast range of ash urns available and only a few here on our site. Cremation costs include a basic pine urn. You may consider something else if you’d like to keep your ashes, or split them for others to have a little. Please come and see us and browse our catalogues if you are looking for something special.