There are many ways to make a funeral service personal and meaningful and to reflect the individual wishes and traditions of the person and family.
While it is important to preserve dignity and respect, we also understand that an appropriate farewell, eases the pain of bereavement and allows enduring memories to live on in the hearts of those who loved, admired and respected them.
Some suggestions you may consider are provided here, but we encourage you to discuss your own thoughts with us. At Heritage, we can access a wide range of talents and resources to help you to celebrate a life.
Funeral Notices in the local or other newspapers are a convenient way to inform the wider community of the death of the person. We will help you with the wording and then place the notices on your behalf. In the case of a private funeral, a death notice is usually placed after the funeral service. In country areas, often a radio notice is a useful way to inform family and friends.
In APN newspapers such as the Toowoomba Chronicle you are able to personalise the notice with colour, photos, and special borders.
Floral arrangements have long played a symbolic part in funerals. Perhaps a favourite type of flower or colour can be included. We can arrange to order all the flowers required. If you have special requirements, please discuss them with us. On the day of the funeral we will make sure that the flowers are delivered on time, are handled with care and displayed attractively. Some families choose to place single flowers or petals on the coffin or in the grave.
Perhaps something else may be more appropriate on the coffin, such as a flag or a favourite hat and boots.
Usually music is a very important part of the ceremony.
It can add to the mood of the service or can convey a special theme or message. Recorded music is often played and live music of all types is available. Some churches, however, do have strict guidelines about the type of music permitted and you must check with the minister regarding this. We have a large music library and can help source the music for you and provide a PA system when required.
Order of Service Leaflets
An “Order of Service” leaflet can be very helpful for mourners and can also be sent to people unable to attend. It outlines the service and contains the words of the hymns, poems and other elements which make the service special and memorable. We would be pleased to help you organise and order the leaflets.
Bookmarks and Thank You Cards
Instead of an order of service leaflet, some families choose to order and provide a Bookmark or Thank you card which is personalised with a photo, poem or message from the family.
These can also be sent to those who cannot attend or who may have sent flowers or cards.
A meaningful visual presentation of the person’s life journey in photos is especially appreciated by family and friends. Upon request, we can create a DVD presentation of 20-30 photos set to a song of your choice to be presented on screen during the funeral service.
Memorial books are provided with our compliments and are designed for those who attend the service to sign. It also offers an opportunity for families to keep together a collection of moments from the funeral, cards from the flowers, copies of newspaper notices and an order of service. We offer a selection of different books to choose from.
Photos of the person and favourite personal items which reflect aspects of a person’s life can be placed on the coffin, on a table near the coffin or near where people are signing the memorial book.
Instead of sending flowers, many families request that donations to a charity would be preferred. We arrange to have the donation envelopes available at the service.
Eulogy and Words of Remembrance
This is a very personal way of remembering a life’s journey and is usually presented by a family member, close friend or colleague.
Help with Writing a Eulogy
If you have been asked to write the Eulogy or Words of Remembrance, it can at first seem quite daunting. To help, Heritage Funerals has put together the following suggestions on writing the Eulogy as well as some useful tips.
Before you start to write:
Take time to sit quietly or go for a walk, to relax and think about what you will say. Take time to prepare the Eulogy.
Ask other family members or friends for their thoughts and memories.
To keep the impact of the tribute, keep it reasonably short, three to ten minutes is usually long enough.
Use stories, humour if appropriate and quotes.
Ask a trusted person to listen to your draft and obtain their feedback.
There are a number of themes that come across in Eulogies, such as:-
Life history – this can be a short history of a person’s life. It often reveals aspects of the deceased’s life that was not generally known to others.
Memories – this is an insight not only into the life of the deceased but of memories, both good and bad, shared with them.
Tribute – Share with others the highlights and achievements of your loved one’s life.
Legacy – This focuses on what they have left behind. This could be their children, changed lives, projects, significant qualities or their values and ethics passed onto future generations – their heritage.
Delivering the Eulogy
Unless you are a natural speaker, write it down and practice reading it out aloud.
Write or type out the Eulogy in large print to make it easier to read. Highlight parts so you do not miss them.
As a support, you may plan to have another person to stand with you or be ready to take over if you feel you cannot continue.
Speak slowly, clearly, project your voice, look up at the audience from time to time to make eye contact so people engage with you.
Remember, no-one at the service expects perfection, tears are a natural expression of the grief you are experiencing. Mourners are there to share the memories with you and will be supportive and understanding. Most of all be yourself. It is the sentiments behind the words that will have the most meaning.
Readings and Poetry
Family or friends may choose a poem or reading that says something special about the person, this may add significance, meaning and individual touches to the service.
Usually six pallbearers are needed to carry the coffin. You may like to ask relatives and friends to help. It can be a good way of giving others an opportunity to be involved on the day and is considered an honour.
RSL, Masonic Lodge or Clubs
RSL and Masonic Lodge services can be arranged upon request. Heritage Funerals provides an Australian Flag free of charge to the family of returned servicemen and women as a mark of respect.
We liaise with various clubs eg. Football, Bowling, Golf, who may wish to place club notices or provide a guard of honour etc.
We are able to provide beautiful candles with photo of your loved one and their name embedded on the side. This candle can be lit at the ceremony and then on special occasions such as Anniversaries or Christmas.
Video and Audio Recording
We can arrange to record or video the service to create a lasting memory. This may be of help to those who cannot attend the service.
Lock of Hair
Some people wish to keep a lock of hair from their loved one, to be placed in a locket or just kept safely at home.
Handprints and Footprints
For babies and young children who have passed away, a precious keepsake is prints from tiny hands and feet. These may be framed, preserved in plaster or jewellery.
White Doves, Balloons and Butterflies
The release of white doves, balloons, or butterflies (depending on availability) adds a symbolic touch and is usually at the conclusion of the service.
Music at the cemetery
Many families choose music for the cemetery as a gentle touch, or to reflect the personal tastes of the deceased. We are happy to provide our portable PA system.
Petals and single flowers
Petals and single flowers are often placed on the coffin in the church or chapel, or into the grave at the cemetery as a symbol of love and a farewell gesture. Soil or other special symbols such as gum leaves, wheat grains, lollies etc can also be placed into the grave by the mourners.
The Cortege or Procession
Led by the hearse, the cortege goes from the funeral service venue to the cemetery or crematorium. You may request the cortege to pass by the family home or business. Or perhaps you would like to escort the cortege with significant vehicles such as trucks, vintage cars, motorbikes or horses depending on the loved ones interests and passions.