Planning a funeral can be very emotional. You may have had a loved one pass away, or you may be preparing in advance so your own loved ones have less of a burden to shoulder. No matter why you’re planning, know that you are supported during this time; our funeral director is ready to answer any questions you might have, and to discuss the plans with you. This guide will help you understand what questions you should consider when planning a funeral in Winnipeg and the surrounding area.
Funeral or Memorial?
The words funeral and memorial service are often used interchangeably, but there is an important distinction between the two. A funeral service is held while the body is still present, while a memorial service is held after the body has been interred or cremated. Each type of service has its advantages; it depends entirely on preference and sentiment.
The Initial Steps
You will meet with the funeral director to discuss the various options available for the service. For deaths that have occured recently, there will be a number of documents required; the funeral director helps to sort through the legal paperwork, filing and contacting who they can while creating the death certificate. Once these initial steps are completed, the detailed planning of the funeral can begin. You can meet with the funeral director at their funeral home, or you can request that they visit you in your home, which can be comforting during a difficult time.
Planning a funeral can feel daunting; there are a lot of questions to be answered, and a lot of different options available. Pre-planning is strongly encouraged for this reason. When planning a funeral for someone who has recently passed away, don’t hesitate to ask questions, pause for breaks, or feel through your emotions; no one expects you to have all the answers right away.
The questions you will be asked range from the logistic to the aesthetic. You’ll be asked on what date the service should take place, where you want it to take place, how many people you anticipate will come to the service, whether you want a memorial or a funeral, and other questions pertaining to the actual procedures of the service. These questions can feel a bit overwhelming at time, so it bears repeating that you can take your time answering. Logistics will also include the transportation of the body.
Aesthetic questions might include what colour and type of urn you’re looking for, what type of music you want to have playing at the funeral, your preferences for flowers, and whether or not you want a procession of cars to take the funeral party to the service. These questions depend more on the way by which you want the deceased to be remembered, and there’s no clear cut answer as to what is best - take your time and feel it out.
Other considerations are religious; your funeral director should have a good understanding of the religious ceremonies that are relevant should you want a religious funeral. You can consult with a trusted member of your faith if you have any questions about traditional funeral processions within the faith.
Obituaries and the Funeral Program
Your funeral director will, at your request, help you write the obituary. They will disseminate the obituary through the appropriate channels so it gets seen. Obituaries are simple remembrances; you can find a template for them on our website.
Funeral programs, sometimes known as orders of service, explain how the funeral will proceed. They are often accompanied by images of the deceased, tributes to them, and quotes that encapsulate the person’s essence, or that speak to their character. They might be handed out at the front door to the chapel, or they may be placed on chapel seating. These follow less of a template than obituaries, and you can feel free to customize them in any way that you feel is appropriate.
Once the service is over, it is common practice to serve refreshments. These should be kept to light snacks and beverages, and it’s well advised to have someone cater the affair for you, setting everything up so you don’t have to worry about the details. The place where the ceremony is held should have suitable space for refreshments after the service.
After the Service
Once everything is done, take whatever self-care you need. The death of a loved one can be a time where emotions are raw, and sometimes confusing. Whether you want to spend time with loved ones, spend time alone, go for a walk; everyone will express themselves differently. You’ve managed to plan and hold a service in tribute to someone you cared for; you’ve earned the time to do whatever it is you need to do.
We are available to discuss funeral and memorial services 24 hours a day; should you need us, call.