Arranging Funerals

Arranging Funerals

Preparation for the funeral service

Our funeral director’s role is to liaise with family and make all the relevant arrangements prior to the day of the funeral and to oversee the seamless undertaking of the funeral service on the day. Our staff ensures that any special requests made by the family such as personalised music, flowers, photo and audio-visual presentations, a donation box and personalised service booklets are arranged 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 for RSL Tributes and other relevant membership services (clubs and associations)

Once these details are confirmed a funeral Order of Service Booklet is provided for funeral attendees if the family request it.

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 one of our funeral directors, 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, some include their full name, address, last occupation, age at marriage, 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, some including burial or cremation, the venue , the time-frame before the funeral is to be held, the coffin or casket selection family death announcement format, should you use a minister or celebrant, casket flowers, viewing of the deceased, eulogies (who will deliver this), pallbearers and after service 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, the beach, or an outdoor garden.  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 whether it be a large crowd or a small intimate number of mourners. 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 wish. Alternatively many celebrants will conduct a non-religious service should this be more appropriate. 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. Graham family funerals have a personalised funeral celebrant on staff.

A civil funeral service usually features a tribute or eulogy and/or a life sketch of the deceased person’s life and times, this can be 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 audio-visual presentation called a montage.

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, please feel free to contact us at any time for suggestions on these.

Writing funeral notices for the newspaper

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

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

Funeral Service options

Personalising the 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.
  • A person’s art, craft, other artefacts and hobbies all add to the dimension of the life being celebrated.


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

Music can be played from CDs or playlists,  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 to make it more individual.

Part of our personalised service is to assist with the collection of this music and the creation of a photomontage that when viewed, enhances the time that you reflect on your loved one.

Funeral Service Booklets

Once the details of the funeral service are confirmed, a funeral service booklet is provided for those attending the funeral.

Individual funeral service booklets may include chosen poetic or religious readings to further personalise the funeral. They reflect directly and precisely the life of a loved one. This can be through the use of a favourite photo or landscape taken with the deceased in it, a sporting logo of a club or a family crest (just as a few examples).