How to Plan a Funeral
By Steve Farrell
Recently my family had to plan a funeral service for my
mother-in-law. It was probably the hardest thing I have
What made it worse was that we had absolutely no idea
what we were doing or were to begin. Funeral planning
usually has to be accomplished in a very brief time.
Worse yet, it has to be done while your grief is the
freshest. It's like planning a wedding in a week instead
of several months. If it were not such a somber occasion
it would almost be humorous.
I will do my best to provide the basic information you
should consider whenever you begin to plan a funeral.
Every funeral is different but they often contain
similar elements. Use this information as a guideline
when you are faced with making funeral arrangements and
you should be successful at putting together a nice
service on short notice.
1. Pick a good funeral home with a knowledgeable
director. They will provide you with a great deal of
help and direction.
2. Get some help choosing a casket from someone you
trust. If you don't plan on having a public viewing of
the body then you can save a lot of money by choosing a
less expensive casket.
3. Decide what type of service you want. Will it be at
the funeral home? Will it be a graveside service? Will
it be a memorial service at your church?
4. Write a nice obituary for the newspaper that
describes the life of your loved one. The key is to be
brief since this is pretty expensive.
5. The bulletin used at the service is a memorable
keepsake for those that attend. Spend more time writing
about their life for the bulletin.
6. Decide what Pastor will perform the service.
7. Provide the Pastor with favorite Scriptures, poems,
anecdotal stories, etc. to help them describe the
8. Pick some favorite songs to be played during the
service. They can be recorded or live music.
9. You may want to have a reception with a meal after
the service. Many churches provide this at no cost or
for a donation.
10. Make sure those that attend the funeral know about
the guest book. It's very easy for people to come to the
funeral service without signing the guest book because
they did not know it existed or where it was located.
11. If you will have pall bearers decide their order in
12. Ask someone to take charge of taking a picture of
each flower arrangement that arrives. You don't want to
forget who sent what arrangement.
13. If you have live music make sure the musician knows
exactly how you want the songs performed.
14. You may want to predetermine which family members
will sit where.
15. Make sure you have plenty of Kleenex available where
the family members and closest friends will be sitting.
16. Ask a friend to collect all personal items after the
service if you are moving from one location to another.
17. Decide on gift money for the Pastor, musicians, food
prep team, etc. in advance so things don't become
18. Pull together at least 100 pictures to be used for a
memory DVD and for displays. You will find that even 100
pictures will not be enough once you get started.
There are so many details to attend to when you plan a
funeral service. These are some of the major things that
are bound to surface. Believe it or not you will make it
through this extremely emotional and painful experience.
Take one step at a time and get as much help as
possible. God bless you my friend!
Steve Farrell: I've been a Christian for over 30 years
and have been a parent for 20 years. I have a Christian
ministry site found at - http://www.christian-life-advisor.com.