Funerals are an important part of the grieving process, and picking the right funeral home can be a daunting task—particularly if you've never needed to do it before. Most will be accommodating, understanding and helpful, so by following a simple process and giving yourself a little time to consider you'll be able to find the parlour that's right for you. So where should you begin?
Take your time, and make a list of what is most important to you.
Start by figuring out what you want the funeral to look like. Did the deceased leave any instructions? Are they from a culture, religion or society with specific practices that were important to them? Do you feel that cremation or burial is more appropriate? You don't need to plan the whole thing yourself, but putting together a rough idea will go a long way toward helping you find the right professionals for the rest of the job. Some will specialise in funerals of a certain type, or have a particular religious affiliation you may be looking for. Others are strictly humanist, which can be a better choice when it's important that your funeral is entirely secular.
Be honest and realistic about your budget.
There's no need to bankrupt yourself over a funeral, and the amount of money you spend is no indication of how you felt about the person you've lost. There's a funeral home for every budget, and the staff are trained in handling conversations about money and payments with sensitivity and understanding. Don't feel pressured to spend more than you can afford, and go in with a rough idea of what your maximum budget should be. Different directors will have different price ranges, so deciding this in advance can help you narrow your selection down.
Look up a list of accredited funeral directors in your area.
There are two major accrediting bodies for funeral directors in Australia: the AFDA and the IFDAA. They both maintain directories of their members, and going with an accredited funeral home is the best way of ensuring you'll receive the care, service and attention your funeral planning deserves. Lists of accredited directors also give you a convenient starting point from which to build your shortlist.
Visit a few funeral homes before you make a final decision.
You don't have to go with the first funeral home you speak to, and the staff there will understand how important it is for you to find the right fit. It's normal to have a few initial consultations before making a decision. You want to pick someone who puts you at your ease, is clearly listening to your questions and concerns and builds a good rapport with you during the conversation.
Don't be afraid to ask for what you and your family or friends want.
An experienced funeral director has heard it all, and if you have a personal or unusual request it's okay to be upfront about it. Some things might not be possible, but most plans can be accommodated—and you can ask without fear of judgement. Ultimately, the right director for your funeral is the one who can help you put together the funeral you want to give your loved one's friends and family—so lay these hopes out upfront and find out if what you're asking for can be done.
Contact a local funeral director for more info.