Looking after the mourners’ needs

Letting people know about the death and the funeral

There will be some people who you know were close to the deceased and you will want to contact them personally to let them know of the death. However most people belong to networks e.g. a particular social club, former work colleagues etc, and will pass the sad news to others if you ask them to. Many people will be grateful to be able to help in this way. You may prefer to wait to inform wider networks of acquaintances once the funeral details are known so you do not have two rounds of calls.

Do family, friends or work colleagues wish to act as pall bearers or form a guard of honour? This may be difficult at some venues, for example if there are a large number of steps, but the funeral director will be able to advise you.

How many mourners should travel in the limousines provided by the funeral director?

This will normally be immediate family members. Most funeral directors can accommodate transport for wheelchairs if they are made aware of this need in advance.

If some people will be using public transport, ask others with their own cars if they can give lifts to those who need them, especially if the refreshments will be served at a different venue.

Also consider whether you want mourners to assemble at the home of the deceased or to meet at the funeral venue. The funeral director may be able to liaise with the local police if parking is a problem.

Other things to consider when arranging the funeral

Most people will dress in sombre clothes for a funeral unless they have been instructed otherwise so if you want people to wear a particular colour or style you will need to let them know.

Many funeral directors can now produce printed orders of service in a choice of styles, which can include a favourite photograph of the person who died.

Let the mourners know if floral tributes are welcome or whether you would prefer donations to a particular charity instead. Most funeral directors can collect donations for charity if required and some charities can now supply envelopes or forms so taxpayers can ensure the charity benefits from gift aid.

It is often helpful to provide refreshments after the funeral (traditionally called a wake). This gives people an opportunity to see each other, share memories of the deceased and to express their condolences to you. For some people the family home is the best venue, for others it may be a pub, hotel or church hall - with formal catering or friends and family contributing.

People travelling a long way will not expect you to provide overnight accommodation at such a difficult time - they will make their own arrangements.

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