When someone we love dies, it can be difficult to know what to do. This article will explore some of the options available to you when planning a funeral. It is our hope that by providing this information, you will have an indication of the choices you can make to honour a life lived. As always, we are here to help guide you and answer any questions you may have.
THE ARRANGEMENT MEETING
Our funeral consultants are available to discuss the funeral arrangements you think would be appropriate for yourself, a member of the family or a friend. This can be done in the privacy of your home or at our premises, whichever is the most convenient for you.
CHOOSING BURIAL OR CREMATION
An important part of funeral planning is to decide whether you prefer a burial or cremation. The Geelong Cemeteries Trust administers cemeteries in Geelong East, Geelong West, Highton, Grovedale, Mt Duneed, Lorne, Leopold, Drysdale, Portarlington, Queenscliff, Lara, Mt Moriac, Winchelsea and Lorne, as well as the Geelong Memorial Park and Crematorium. Enquiries can be made to Geelong Cemeteries Trust, The Gatehouse, Eastern Cemetery, 141 Ormond Rd, Geelong East, Victoria 3219; Ph: (03) 5249 3939. There are several smaller cemeteries within the region including Bannockburn, Bellbrae, Inverleigh, and Rothwell (Little River).
CHOOSING THE VENUE
Where the funeral service is to be held is an important aspect of funeral planning. If a person is a member of a religious congregation, the service will usually be held in the local church. Sometimes, a larger venue is required so the service can be held in the most appropriate setting. We offer you the choice of three venues – all with superior facilities, in three different locations in and around Geelong. This means you can choose the venue that best suits your needs and customise the type of funeral service you want. Funeral services can also be held in the family home or any other setting that has significance for the deceased person and their family. The Crematorium Chapel is also available at Geelong Memorial Park.
CLERGY OR CELEBRANT
If you are a member of a religious denomination, your priest or minister will most likely be the obvious person to conduct the funeral service. Civil celebrants (male and female) are also available to conduct funeral services. Celebrants can adapt the type of service you want with or without a religious dimension.
As a way to enhance the funeral and to help celebrate a life, many families now screen a Precious Moments presentation. A photo tribute provides the ideal opportunity to honour a life lived. We bring together a collection of your special family images and set them against a theme and music. It is a significant and very moving sequence in the funeral service. The response to this feature has been most enthusiastic – family members and friends often say this was really the best part of the service.
We have a collection of printed tributes, which includes bookmarks, orders of service, mass booklets and thank you stationery. Printed items provide the ideal keepsake for family and friends to take away and have an everlasting memory of the deceased, or to pass on to those who were unable to attend the funeral.
The use of symbols in a funeral service can enhance the significant aspects of a person’s life. A flag draped over a coffin, the playing of the Last Post, and the red poppies used in the RSL tribute, speak to us of a person’s contribution to his or her country. Academic, sporting or community achievement awards also tell us what has been achieved in a person’s life. Art, craft, other artefacts and hobbies add to the dimension of the person whose life is being honoured.
Music often speaks to our hearts – especially in a funeral service. The use of music usually sets the emotional tone of the service. Music can be played from CD’s, portable media players or personal computers, or by engaging musicians who play organs, guitars, keyboards, bagpipes, and the bugle – even a harp. Choirs, singers, and soloists can also be arranged for a service.
Webcasting allows families to livestream a funeral. Some families choose to webcast a funeral when family and friends are unable to attend because they live or work overseas.
Webcasting can also enable those friends of the deceased who are living in a nursing home to watch the service.
Flowers are another symbol used at funerals. You can usually choose a favourite flower or combination of flowers and colours for a floral sheaf. Single flowers or a bunch tied with ribbon can also be used. Some people have used baskets of vegetables, bread, trophies and other goods to personalize the floral tribute. Instead of sending flowers, sometimes families prefer to invite friends to make a donation to a particular service in memory of the person who has died. Donations may be available at the service or can be made online.
COFFINS, CASKETS & URNS
We have a wide selection of coffins, caskets and urns to choose from. The range includes particleboard coffins, solid timber coffins and caskets, and protective metal caskets. These are available in a variety of finishes and interiors. Timber, metal and ceramic urns in a range of colours and sizes are also available for keeping cremated remains.
A significant aspect of preparation for the funeral is the dressing and grooming of the deceased person in readiness for a viewing. Some people find it most helpful to view their loved ones sometime before the funeral. This special time is an opportunity to say goodbye, and bring some closure to the relationship. It can assist in the healing process.
Death and funeral notices are usually placed in the major and local newspapers. These advise family members and friends that a death has occurred, and give specific details of the funeral arrangements. If donations have been requested in lieu of flowers, people have the opportunity to be prepared for this.
The offering of refreshments after a funeral is regarded as an important socialising time of the funeral. This is a time for sharing stories and recalling in greater detail the life of the deceased person. Sometimes this is the only opportunity for a family reunion. Our facilities are available for this purpose, and our preferred caterer can provide a range of quality refreshments for approximately $10.95 per person, plus alcoholic beverages as required. Catering for refreshments at other venues can be arranged through local organisations and caterers.
MEMORIALISATION OF CREMATED REMAINS
When a person has been cremated, their remains can be interred in attractive commemorative areas in most cemeteries. These include rose gardens, native gardens, wall niches or other features depending on the particular cemetery. Plaques can be ordered through the Geelong Cemeteries Trust, and by negotiation with the administrators of other cemeteries.
FUNERALS BY WOMEN
In 1995, Kings Funerals introduced a new concept to broaden its range of specialist and personalised services to families; the introduction of Funerals by Women. This service provides a qualified, experienced and dedicated all-women team to attend to all aspects of your funeral.