This is the hardest bit. Just breathe out. Pick up the phone and call me on 0413 886 026 or email me via the contact page - and everything will get just a little bit easier. I'm here to help you .
Of course you can. If we don't sit down and chat about your loved one, your family and what feels good to you all, in their honour, we just won't get it right. I want to learn as much as I can about you all.
There are no exact rules on this, but I do recommend not having more than 5, at most. We always need to keep an eye on the timing, so when there more than one or two speakers, it is best to give them a time frame within which to speak. It's also a good idea to have your speakers send me their speeches, so that we can avoid repetition and make sure each speaker is introduced in the right order, and with relation to what they are speaking about.
That's ok. It really is. If you start and need help, just give me the look. I'll be right beside you. If you can't finish, I can pick up where you left off. If you just can't do it at all, we can ask somebody else to read on your behalf. I have done services where the only person who spoke was me - and they were beautiful.
There are no rules here. I can give you some tried and true favourites, (I've got a page in the Helpful Info section to give you some ideas). However, I would always suggest that you think about your loved one's favourite music. What did they sing along to? What made them tap their toes? If certain music filled their soul, choose that music. It will help to fill yours, too.
You can involve family, friends, people of importance - anybody that loved and cared and knew your loved one. Sometimes you will have to ask - because often, nobody wants to assume it's their place. At other times, you will be flooded with offers of assistance, or people wanting to share their stories. Again, there are no rules - except this one. If it feels right, do it. If it doesn't, don't.
A reflection is a quiet time during the service, often - but not always - accompanied by music and a slideshow. It is those few minutes that we clear our heads of everything but our memories of the deceased. It may also be the time that we invite guests to come and pay their respects.
Yes - I can. I know many different funeral directors with different styles and ways of doing things. If we can have a chat about what you would like, I am sure that I can quickly match you up with a funeral director that suits your needs and personality, but I will only ever send you to somebody that I know and trust.
Absolutely. More and more services are being held outside the traditional chapels, these days. Many venues are available for hire for memorials. We can use a garden, or outdoor pavilion. Surf clubs and sporting clubs are often chosen if the deceased was an active member - or simply loved the sport - or the view. We do have some limitations outside of chapel areas, however. Some places are more suited to a memorial than a funeral, due to access issues. Others may not have AV available - but thinking outside the box is always a good option, if you are looking for something different.
In terms of what is said - or the importance of it all, there is very, very little difference between a memorial and a funeral. Quite simply, a funeral service has the body present - pre-burial or cremation. A funeral service is often organised in a very short time frame, and there are some limitations to where it may be held. A memorial service has no body present. It can be held later, if desired, to allow the family time to get themselves mentally prepared, the service organised - and sometimes , simply due to the logistics of having everybody together at the same time. The rites and rituals are almost the same. The feel should be the same.
I think it's good to guide your guests here. Traditionally, in Western cultures, funeral guests wore black - and in some cultures, mourning family members will still wear black for years. In many Asian cultures, white is the tradition. However, things are definitely changing. More often than not, I see guests in bright colours, or florals - or the favourite colour of the deceased. I am seeing guests that are dressed in accordance with the personality of their loved one - and this feels good. I am rarely asked to wear all black - but I always ask.
Gone are the days of people picking up the newspaper to find out about the death of the people they know. Communication is much easier now. Use social media - facebook and instagram to create post - or set of posts - to inform people of the service details. I can give you some help to find easy, free online graphic design programs that you can use.
At the end of the service, we will play a final piece of music and guests will either make their way, to pay their respects and then leave the room - or if they have already said their goodbyes, they will make their way out. In order that this is not awkward, I will always nominate somebody to lead - and if necessary, tell guests that family members will remain.
If you want to spend time with guests after the service, in a traditional wake - or less formal gathering, it is good to let them know before the day, what the arrangements are. It is also helpful to tell me, so that I may remind them, as the service comes to a close.
Most people say they are making the eulogy, but in actual fact, they are making a tribute. A traditional eulogy starts at birth and details the major achievements of the deceased's life, in chronological order. A tribute is more focussed on personality; who they were , what mattered to them, and the speaker's memories of their loved one. More and more of my services are based almost entirely on tribute, because the who is usually always bigger than the what.