How to Plan a Funeral Service

By: September 2017 Blog
Tuesday, September 5, 2017

There are a dizzying number of choices that need to be made at the end of a life. You need to make arrangements for the remains, elect whether or not you want a visitation, and then decide on specific details regarding the service. To help you, the following is an outline of arrangements that need to be considered when planning a funeral service in Toronto.

Traditional or Memorial Service?


No matter what decision is made with regard to the deceased’s remains, you have two basic choices in terms of the type of end-of-life service you want: funeral or memorial service. In the first situation the deceased is present during the service (even if the body will ultimately be cremated), and in the second, it’s not.


If you opt to have a funeral you’ll also to need to determine:

  • If you want an open or closed casket
  • What type of casket you want
  • What the deceased will wear (including jewellery, glasses and other accessories)
  • If you’ll have casket bearers
  • If yes, who will be selected as casket bearers
  • What flowers or personal items you’ll lay near or on the casket

For a memorial, these aren’t concerns. However if the deceased is to be cremated, you may wish to have the cremated remains present at the service in an urn or other receptacle.

Location of the Service

While a funeral home is a common and convenient option for an end-of-life service, a church or other place of worship may be appropriate. It’s also possible to host the service out of your home, at a hall or at another location significant in some way to the deceased.

Service Details

The first factor you’ll want to consider is who will preside over the service. This might be a clergy member or other type of spiritual leader, or an individual who was important to the deceased in some other manner. In addition, you’ll need to decide on:

  • Music. Will there be any? If so, what kind? How will it be delivered and at what point in the service?
  • Decorations. Will you have flower arrangements? What about photos? Are there other items that were important to the deceased that you wish to have on display?
  • The eulogy. Who will deliver it? Will there be just the one or several?
  • Readings. If you have them, what will they be? Scripture, poetry, or something else? Who will present them?
  • Other media. Do you have a video, a slideshow, or an audio recording you wish to present?
  • Service favours. Small, inexpensive gifts for guests (photos, printed psalms, funeral order of service, etc.) can be a nice touch.

Funeral Reception

After the service, many families elect to have a beverage or meal for attendants and guests. If you elect to do this, you’ll need to make choices about what kind of food and drink to offer.

Speak to a Funeral Director

The very best way to start making funeral arrangements is to speak with a funeral director. At Humphrey Funeral Home A.W. Miles - Newbigging Chapel Ltd, we’re available to guide you through the process of planning a funeral service in Toronto one step at a time. Simply contact us today to set up a consultation.

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