Being Flexible at the Ceremony
The essence of a good funeral ceremony is that close family and friends feel able and supported to say their farewell in a way that is comfortable and relevant.
It is only when we feel able to express ourselves fully that the healing can begin.
Often we do this through spoken tribute but there are many other ways to say goodbye - for some, the words of a carefully chosen song can express their feelings very powerfully. For others, it is poems or readings.
Children may choose to sing or do a little dance routine.
While other prefer to write a letter and place it on or in the coffin.
When we're managing funeral or memorial services, we often notice that as people realise they don't need to be constrained by tradition or social norms in terms of how they make their farewell, they feel able to be much more natural in the ceremony and it's important that the funeral director and celebrant have their eyes and minds open to this so that small changes within the ceremony are seamlessly accommodated, and welcomed.
These unforeseen small changes to the funeral or memorial ceremony are one of the key reasons we recommend booking a little extra time if we are using a crematorium chapel.
As a guide, a funeral ceremony should run for between 45 to 90 minutes. While most are about 60 minutes, we do need to allow some time for people perhaps arriving late (notorious Sydney traffic), maybe difficulty finding parking.
Sometimes family members find that they need some additional time to prepare themselves after seeing the coffin and its absolutely vital to be able to give them the time they need before the ceremony begins.
During the ceremony, we always allow a cushion of additional time in case tributes run longer than expected. This extra time gives each person an unhurried chance to speak freely, slowly and pause as often as needed if overcome by emotions.
Extra time also allows family and friends to embrace after delivering a tribute.
Then there are times when the ceremony goes "off-script" if the need arises.
We've had times when a pod of whales puts on a display at a beachside funeral service. Or when a kookaburra took up a silent vigil in the branch of a tree shading the coffin in an outdoor memorial service.
These are special moments that should be experienced by everyone taking part. The few minutes taken aside to observe and savor these little things can leave a lasting imprint on everyone of the person we're honoring.
But above all, we like to keep the pace unhurried and gentle, giving grieving hearts the space they need to fully absorb the ceremony.
This extra focus and attention to detail of our expert staff is just one of the behind-the-scenes ways that we help create magnificent, healing ceremonies.
Every person is unique. Every family is different.
With us, every Funeral is Individual.