Q. What things need to be considered when planning a funeral service?

What things need to be considered when planning a funeral service?  

Funeral services have changed considerably over the past decade. They have become longer and more involved, with larger numbers of people wanting to participate. More and more people are choosing to have a funeral video made of the service, or during a quiet reflective time, choose to show a funeral memorial – or visual tribute – on the life of the deceased. It is important right at the outset of arrangements, that a family give careful consideration to the format of the funeral service when choosing a venue. Funeral services can be dictated to by time constraints, e.g. crematoria usually have an allocated time for the service with services being scheduled every one and half hours (this is the case in Auckland). If a family think there will be open tributes at the funeral service, or there are a number of musical items, then it may be prudent to make a double booking. Nothing is worse than a service going over the time and people from the next funeral waiting to come into the chapel, with another hearse parked outside.  


If a family do not wish to use either a church or crematorium, Manning Funerals has a number of alternative venues. There is obviously more flexibility to the time allocated to such venues. In saying that, a service that goes on for too long may lose its impact, and it is off-putting to others attending when people are leaving throughout the service, due to their own time constraints or other work commitments.

Some families encourage open tributes at a family service/vigil the night before the service, or may invite those who have not had the opportunity to speak to offer some words at the reception following the funeral service.

Another aspect that can cause problems at a funeral service is when families underestimate the numbers attending, and this in turn impacts on the venue, catering and order of service (leaflet) quantities. We understand it is difficult to arrive at a figure attending, but surprisingly many families come quite close to the correct number. By sitting down and making a list of family members attending, close friends – not only of the deceased, but also of their children, club/interest groups/sporting affiliations, work colleagues and then allowing for a few more, often determines a figure that can be accommodated for.