Planning a funeral service or celebration of life ceremony can be a very difficult task, especially considering the circumstances. When something as tragic as a family member or friend passes away, the last thing you want to deal with is planning the funeral. For this reason, we have compiled a list of things to remember when planning a funeral. Although this will not help with the emotional stress you are experiencing, it may take off some of the pressure you are experiencing in such a difficult time.

When planning a funeral, consider the following:

  1. Collect personal information and compile to form an obituary

           a. The full legal name of the deceased
           b. Their place of residence when they passed
           c. Gender
           d. Date and place of birth
           e. Date and place of death
           f. The name of the deceased's parents
           g. Any information related to the deceased’s spouse and family
           h. Religious affiliation
           i. Occupation and workplace
           j. Information about their education
           k. Information related to military service (if applicable)
           l. Is a donation to charity preferred over flowers?

2. Choose whether the deceased will be buried or cremated.
3. Select a casket or cremation urn .
4. Choose the funeral location and type of funeral service.

    a. Will you have a visitation, wake, viewing, or reception?
    b. Will you have a traditional funeral service, direct burial, direct cremation, or a
       graveside service?
    c. Will the service be held at a funeral home, at home or at another burial site?

5. If you decide to use a funeral home, choose the one you will use.

6. If you decide to have a visitation, decide when and where it the visitation will take place.

7. Decide what the deceased will wear (if buried).
8. Select the music for the funeral service.

   a. Was there a type of music your loved one was fond of?
   b. What feeling are you trying to achieve?
   c. Are there songs that were meaningful to you or your loved one?

9. Choose literature to be read at the funeral service.
    a. Religious readings
    b. Poems
    c. Song lyrics
    d. Other readings that hold significance for you and your loved one.

10. Arrange for funeral transportation
    a. Funeral coach
    b. Limousine
    c. Clergy Car, etc.

11. Choose the officiant
    a. Clergy member
    b. Celebrant
    c. Funeral director
    d. A friend or family member, etc.

12. Select who you want to be the pallbearers if burial is planned.
13. Select which family member or friend is going to perform the eulogy.
14. Choose a cemetery (if not already chosen by the deceased).
15. Select a burial or cremation plot (if not already chosen by the deceased).
16. Submit the obituary to the appropriate newspapers, etc.

Depending on whether or not the death was expected, many of these considerations may have
already been planned by the deceased. If the death was sudden, chances are there will be
more planning on your part.

There are a number of things to consider which cannot be arranged before the death occurs.
These will need to be taken into consideration as well. These include issues such as:

● Applying for death certificates
● Applying for a burial permit
● Food considerations for the reception

Other considerations that are usually discussed but are a lot less crucial to the funeral
planning process, include:

● Flower arrangements
● What kinds of jewelry will your loved one be wearing
● Printing and distributing memorial cards
● Plans to accommodate out of town guests

These are very important significant issues, but they can most likely be performed by someone else other than the individual doing the rest of the planning.

The funeral planning process is very difficult for just one person to take on. You will need to come together and support each other and make sure you each contribute your part to the planning process. Don’t put the burden on just one person; it’s too much to deal with at a time which is already very stressful.

Charles Sieger is a freelance writer and has created a guide to help those who may need to get information on things related to funeral planning such as how to choose a funeral director,expressing sympathies and more.