Arranging Funerals

Arranging Funerals

Preparation for the funeral service

Our funeral director’s role is to make all the relevant arrangements prior to conducting the funeral on the day. The funeral director works with the family members to plan the format of the service and is responsible for the flow of the funeral service. Our staff ensure that any special requests made by the family such as music, flowers, photo and audiovisual presentations, donation boxes and memorial books are included as part of the service.

Other options for consideration may be:

  • determining who will deliver the eulogy
  • selecting music, readings, and/or poetry
  • programming audiovisual presentations if requested
  • arranging RSL and Lodge tributes, if required.

Once these details are confirmed a funeral Order of Service is provided for funeral attendees.

The funeral director

Meeting the funeral director can take place at a location convenient for you. Some families need time to think and talk about the details they would like to include in the funeral service while others like to progress quickly so that they can begin to move forward and allow personal time for grieving.

During the first meeting with the funeral director, specific information is also collected to register the death with the Register of Births, Deaths and Marriages. You will be asked basic information about the deceased including full name, address, occupation, place and date of death, children’s names and ages and parents’ names. Access to a birth certificate or passport and a marriage certificate may be useful to provide this information, but is not necessary.

The family needs to determine funeral requirements including a venue and time, place of burial or cremation, coffin/casket/cremation urn selection, death and funeral notices, minister or celebrant, flowers, pallbearers, viewing, eulogies and refreshments.

The funeral service location

Where the funeral service is to be held is an important aspect of funeral planning.

If a person is a member of a religious congregation, often the service will be held in the local church. Alternatively you may prefer to use our chapel, or have the funeral service at some other special place, such as the family home, a park or a community hall or facility The number of mourners expected to attend is often an important consideration when choosing a venue for a funeral service.
We have the capacity to conduct a powerfully memorable funeral service at any of our venues. We can also arrange for refreshments as part of our funeral service provision.

Clergy and celebrants

If you belong to a particular church it is likely that your first choice of clergy will be your parish minister or priest. Alternatively we can make a recommendation of a minister or priest if you have a chosen religion but do not attend a specific church. Many celebrants will also conduct a religious funeral service. Prior to the funeral service the clergy or celebrant will meet with the family to discuss chosen readings, hymns and the flow of the service.

Civil celebrants

Families who do not have an affiliation with a church often choose a civil celebrant to conduct the service.

A civil celebrant consults with the family to develop a personalised structure for the funeral service, which they lead on the day.

A civil funeral service usually features a tribute or eulogy and/or a review of the deceased’s life and times, presented by the celebrant or a family member or friend.

Concluding this you may also include a reflection period, often accompanied by music, and/or an audiovisual presentation.

For some ideas on how to write a eulogy, you can view our eulogy brochure.

Readings, prayers and hymns can also be included in a civil funeral service.

Graham Family Funerals can refer you to a reputable freelance funeral celebrant.

Writing funeral notices for the newspaper

Our staff can assist in placing funeral notices in nominated newspapers. Information included following the deceased’s name may include a nickname, maiden name, date of death, closest relative and subsequent family (children, partners, grand and great grandchildren), parents, brothers, sisters and perhaps a concluding phrase.

For examples of frequently used verses that conclude death notices you can speak with one of our staff or view these examples of funeral verses.

Funeral Service options


The use of symbols in a funeral service can enhance the significant aspects of a person's life, and help create a very personal atmosphere for the service. Photos and flowers add to the ambience that is being created.

  • Candle lighting during the service is always a very poignant ritual. The candle symbolises light, hope and remembrance of a loved one.
  • An RSL tribute incorporating a flag draped over a coffin, the playing of the Last Post, and the placement of red poppies upon the coffin speak to us of a person's contribution to his or her country.
  • Other flags symbolic of the deceased country of birth are also available.
  • Sporting community or academic achievement awards also tell us what has been achieved in a person's life and are fitting symbols used during the funeral service.
  • Art, craft, other artefacts and hobbies add to the dimension of the life being celebrated.


The selection and use of music speaks to us about the person’s own love and character; as we listen to it we can reflect on how they touched our lives personally.

Music can be played from CDs, or by engaging musicians (such as organists, bagpipers, keyboardists, guitarists, violinists and even a bugler).
Choirs, singers, and soloists can also be arranged for a service.

Part of our personalised service is to assist with the collection of this music and creation of photo montages that enhance to time that you reflect on your loved one.

Order of Funeral Service

Once the details of the funeral service are confirmed, a funeral Order of Service is provided for funeral attendees.

Individual funeral Order of Service booklets including funeral readings further personalise the funeral and reflect directly and precisely the life of a loved one. This can be through the use of a favourite photo or landscape, a sporting logo or a family crest.