All things are possible… don’t be afraid to ask

When it comes to arranging a funeral for a loved one, it can be tricky at best to decide on what you want, let alone making price and service comparisons when your brain’s decision making function goes missing in action (which it invariably does).

Helping a family out with a funeral this week I thought I would have a go at comparing two of the companies that were under consideration by a family.

What I learnt was that even working with funerals every day it was a challenge to compare service and prices. And this was keeping things simple.

Funeral directors all use different pricing structures and present their packages in ways that they believe make things simpler and provide you comparison point between their offerings. So it can be hard to understand what is included and whether you need to or want to have a particular item as part of your loved one’s leave taking.

And to be clear, there are so many different options – that unless you know exactly what you want and it happens to align with a fully described package on a particular website – it can be difficult at best to establish a price.

So, here’s the deal! Ask for information…

What is the difference in cost for a wicker casket, a cardboard coffin, a plywood one or a solid oak timber coffin?

Do I have to have flowers on a coffin? Can I place items of remembrance or a decorated pall (material covering) on the coffin?

Can I choose the venue? Do I have to put notices in the paper? Can I have refreshments at home or at a pub?

Essentially any and all choices can impact what you will spend on a funeral.  There is no one right funeral for everyone. Time is a factor, religion and cultural choices are factors, and how much you have available to spend and what you think is valuable or what your loved one has expressed a preference for all come into consideration.

Write a list of your preferences and questions. Ring around and ask questions. Any indications of cost on a website is only ever that – an indication. Ask the questions. Get clear on what sometimes show up as ‘hidden cost’. Ask what other costs might I need to consider that we haven’t discussed yet? What factors might influence the final cost of a funeral?

It’s OK to ask. And if your questions are not answered in ways that you are comfortable with, find another funeral director. There are plenty of wonderful ones out there!

P.S. My Mum won’t need flowers as she has commissioned and received a massive two sided pall that has all the things that are important to her decorating both sides. It even has sea shells around the edges. I think Mum was a mermaid or a dugong in a previous life…

We have just one life…

Jacqui Chaplin

Independent Funeral Information | Life Story Collector & Writer | End of Life Tributes | Easier End of Life Experiences | Funeral Planning and Celebrancy

Just One Life… doing and designing dying and death differently and with dignity and distinction.

For more information on doing dying and death differently or to start thinking about how to handle a death of a loved one before you are overtaken by grief, organise a conversation with Jacqui today.

Call +61 (0)412 741 531 or email

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Jacqui Chaplin is a Lifetime & End-of-Life Commemoration Specialist (a funeral celebrant among other things) based in Melbourne, Australia. She loves capturing stories about the nature of life and being human, as well as, celebrating and commemorating well lived lives and lives that have ended. Jacqui has a passion for bringing the conversations that many of us find difficult to think about, let alone speak about, out in the open so we can see how our stories, values and beliefs influence our attitudes.

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