Whether you’re pre-planning a funeral, or you’ve just lost a loved one; choosing the right funeral parlour in Sydney will likely be the first step.
Choose wisely, and the planning process will be a breeze, while the final ceremony will be everything both you and the family wanted. Rush the decision, and it could lead to family disputes, a ceremony that doesn’t quite reflect yours – or if known, the deceased’s – wishes, and a massive hit to your wallet.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way. To help you choose the right funeral parlour, follow these simple and easy planning tips:
1. Know What You Want in a Funeral
Would you go to a hair salon and let the hairdresser decide on the haircut for you? Probably not. Avoid making the same mistake when you plan a funeral. Instead, sit down and write a funeral plan first.
If you’re planning your own funeral, this should be easy. You can make most of the decisions yourself, and reach out to loved ones for input and advice. If you’re planning on behalf of someone who has just passed, wait until the time is right, and then arrange a meeting with close family to start planning.
While you don’t have to include every detail, you should at least be clear on the following:
- Type of funeral – Burial or cremation?
- Ideal venue – Church, chapel, lounge, or another place of significance
- Location of funeral service – Including the resting place or cremated remains
- Transportation – Which guests (i.e. those with limited mobility) will have special transport needs?
- Faith, cultural, and religious considerations
- Preparation of the deceased – Does embalming or dressing the body matter to you? These kind of services will incur an additional cost.
- Repatriation – Does the body have to be sent overseas back to the country of origin?
- Bonus considerations – Music, floral arrangements, graphic design (for funeral stationary), and video or slideshow presentations.
By having most of these details set in stone, you will know what to ask for when you reach out to funeral parlours in Sydney. As a result, you will get a clear idea on whether they can meet your specific needs, and if their quote fits your budget.
Speaking of budgets…
2. Stick to a Budget
Funerals can be expensive. But, as long as you know what to ask for, and you have a clear idea on the ‘average’ cost of most services, you can keep costs down – with minimal compromise to the initial vision.
What is the ‘average’ cost of a funeral? That depends on a range of factors. According to Finder dot com, the average cost of a funeral in Sydney is around $8,357, while the average cost of a burial service is around $600 more expensive than a cremation service.[i]
The average cost of associated basic services include:
- Service fee – Around $2,000
- Removal of body – $300
- Preservation – $210
- Clergy fees – $275
- Organist – $275
- Advertising (notice of death and funeral notice in the local newspaper) – $285
- Flowers – $100
- Chapel fee – $180
Again, these figures are only estimates. They also include some bonus services you may not need or want, such as a live organist. However, you can use these estimates as a reference when you prepare a budget, and reach out to funeral parlours in Sydney.
3. Get Multiple Quotes
Fees and rates vary from one funeral provider to another. So it’s a good idea to get multiple quotes from different funeral parlours. Don’t forget to ask for an itemised price list as well. This way, you can find out what each funeral parlour charges for each specific amenity and service.
If you wish to arrange a pre-paid funeral, find out how their payment plans work, and if there is a minimum deposit amount for each payment period.
4. Meet the Funeral Directors
Arrange a face-to-face meeting with the director of each funeral parlour that interests you.
If you wish, bring along a friend or family member for support. In fact, bringing someone who is impartial to the planning process may help. Why? Because they will be less ‘emotionally invested,’ so they can help you ‘stay on track’ and focused on the initial plan.
During the meeting, you should have in writing the funeral plan that you prepared earlier, and a series of questions to ask the funeral director. Some of the most common questions you may ask, include:
- Do you have relevant experiencing planning and hosting this type of funeral?
- Do you belong to the Australia Funeral Directors Association and any other organisation?
- How long have you been in business?
- Can you explain the funeral planning process to me in clear, easy to understand terms?
- Do you provide grief support for all family members?
- Do you have recommendations for local facilities, clergies, and civil celebrants in your chosen area?
- Do you offer onsite catering, transport, and other staff services on the day of the funeral?
- Can you take care of the formalities – i.e. collect documents from Registration of Births, Deaths, and Marriages, put notices in local newspaper?
- Do you have experience catering for special or unique requests? If so, can you give examples?
- Are you partnered with other service providers who can help complete the day – i.e. live musicians, florists, catering services, and graphic designers?
Keep in mind, some funeral parlours have an FAQ section on their website, which may answer some or all of your questions. Be sure to check the FAQ before the first meeting. This way, the meeting will be more productive.
5. Choose and Confirm the Plans in Writing
After reaching out to multiple funeral parlours in Sydney, and meeting a few funeral directors, you’ll need to make a decision.
Take a moment to refer to your original funeral plan. Ask yourself: Has anything changed? What kind of compromises (if any) are there? Are they minor enough to deal with? Is the funeral plan cheaper or more expensive than expected? Most importantly, does the overall plan satisfy your (or the deceased’s) wishes?
From there, you can then review your options, perhaps talk it over with closely family and loved ones, and reach a mutual agreement. Finally, make sure the funeral director has your funeral arrangements down in writing.
Planning a funeral is never easy. But taking the time to carry out your due diligence will make things a lot easier. As a result, you can rest easy knowing the plans have been arranged, and the final service will be truly your own.
Contact Funerals of Compassion for 24/7 advice and support.