Sometimes arranging a funeral feels like a huge amount to organize in a seemingly short amount of time. Please use our checklist below to get an overview of some things to think about, and we will help you to refine and be specific about what you do and don’t want for the funeral gathering.
There are many options for having a funeral service. Churches are an obvious choice but many people these days no longer have a relationship with a specific church. When they do, we will liaise with the minister and church administrative staff to find an appropriate day and time for the service.
For other services the crematoriums in Auckland all have chapels that can be used, and they can accommodate different sizes of funerals. The staff are invariably polite, helpful and experienced in dealing with bereaved families.
Alternatives to these are many and varied. We have done funerals in people’s homes, at community halls, at tennis clubs, historic homes such as Bell House at the Howick Historical Village, and at yacht clubs such as Tamaki Yacht Club and Bucklands Beach Yacht Club – being close to the water often being important for Auckland families.
Date and time
This obviously is a choice for the family to make but may be influenced by the availability of a venue or celebrant. We encourage families to take their time and not be rushed through this period between the death and the funeral. It can be a very tiring time with lots to do and decisions to make. Particularly if the death has been sudden and unexpected, we believe it is important to take time over the decisions to ensure the farewell is everything you want it to be.
A variety of caskets can be found on our casket page. Your funeral director can help guide you if there are specific criteria for you such as cost or an eco-friendly casket.
Burial or cremation
Most people currently choose cremation but there are options for burial throughout the Auckland region. Your funeral director can help organize a burial, but you will be expected to visit the cemetery to choose the plot. Waikumete cemetery also has an ecoburial area – you will find more details about this here.
If you are involved with a church we will work with the priest or minister on the details of the funeral. Some families have a celebrant who has performed other ceremonies for them that they would like to use for the funeral – we are very happy to work with them. We do have many wonderful celebrants that we work with otherwise and we pride ourselves on finding the right celebrant for a family. The more we can find out about the person who has died – what kind of person they were, what their interests were, what they have done in their life – the more likely we can connect them with the right celebrant.
We will discuss with you what your preferences are for carrying the casket. At some funerals we have no pall bearers – the casket is already in the chapel when people arrive and is lowered to the crematorium at the end of the service. Other options include carrying either in or out of the chapel or both, wheeling the casket in on a trolley, and carrying at hip height or shoulder bearing. All these options work for different families at different times.
We work with a fabulous florist who does most of the casket sprays for us. However, if you have a florist in the family or wish to use a local one, that is absolutely fine. Again there are lots of options for flowers – casket sprays, bouquets, church urns, wreaths – and in any colour combination you wish. We will make a note of any flowers you like or don’t like and, season permitting, try hard to adhere to those wishes. Our florist will also do natural sprays using NZ ferns, shells, beach flora as well as vegetable ones for those who have been great vegetable growers.
This may be attached to the venue for the funeral and we can help organize for that to be available after the service for refreshments.
We have information on various caterers that do funeral work and can help you with ordering this.
We have accounts with all the newspapers in NZ and can place a family notice for you. If you need help on how to write it, we will guide you in this.
Order of service sheets
This is sometimes a job that a family member would like to do, and we encourage anyone that wants to take ownership of something in the service to do so. However, we also can show you previous ones that we have done and organize either the design or printing or both for you.
This is not something that every family feels is important, especially if it is a small family service. However, others wish to have a record of who was at the service. A memorial book is something that a family member may want to go and choose themselves. Otherwise we have a few options available which your funeral director can show you.
Photo slide show
Many families choose to have a photo slide show as a visual tribute in the service. This is often something that younger, tech savvy family members can do. However, if you do not have some of those, we are happy to help with putting it together and scanning photos if necessary.
Web streaming of service
Most of the crematoriums in Auckland have the facility for live streaming of the service. A link will be sent by email to you before the service for forwarding to friends and family that can’t be there. If you would like to download a permanent record of the service, we can help you to do this.
Recording of service
If the funeral is being held at a venue that does not have live streaming available, we can organize for it to be recorded. This may be because there are family or friends that are unable to be at the service. Alternatively, if it is a particularly large funeral or distressing time and families are concerned that they may not remember everything that was said and everyone that was there. We can organize a videographer to record the service – he will provide a DVD to the family as well as an online link.
For many people music is important at a funeral for personalizing the service. Thinking of songs that the person has loved, or hymns that are significant helps to ensure the service is focused on the person that has died. We can help organize musicians such as organists, soloists, harpists, buglers, pipers and so on as well as help you source music or songs that will be played over the sound system.
Logistics and paperwork
Sometimes there can be quite a few forms to fill in ….
We can help you with:
- Burial or Cremation authorities
- National and International repatriation (Transporting the deceased home or to the desired destination)
- Death Registration (Department of internal Affairs – Births Deaths and Marriages)
- Airlines – Compassionate Airfares