Advice for Mourners -- Tips and information to help make attending a funeral easier

   There is now a special page called 'Ask an Undertaker' for people to openly ask any questions which will be answered by various funeral staff or myself.  Feel free to ask anything, this is a rather open minded space!  Simply follow the link below and ask away :)

    This is basically a list of posts I have written for mourners on how to attend a funeral.  We assume everyone knows how to attend a funeral, yet this is rarely the case.  Mourners make mistakes and are so out of place at a funeral.  The funeral can be stressful enough as is, so some helpful advice can make things easier and nicer for everyone.

    This page will regularly be updated as I write new posts.  Now posts are added to the top of the relevant section.

Guides & Information for Attending a Funeral

- Making an Order of Servie
    In this post I talk about how to easily make a quality order of service.  After working in printing and seeing many order of service booklets I have a few decent tricks and tips.

- Attending a funeral: The seating
    Where to sit on a funeral is sometimes confusing or dunting.  In this guid I explain where to sit and how it is usually not too important.  That it is not something to worry too much about.

- How to Attend a funeral; A brief guide
    This is a decent guide on how to attend a funeral.  It covers information people assume but many do not know.  It also has some general helpful tips to make the whole thing much easier.

- How to attend a funeral
    This is a newer version of the previous post.  One I wrote when I had more experience as a mourner.

- How to carry and move the coffin
    Movement of the coffin is one of the most emotional and significant parts of the funeral.  Unfortunately it is one of the less known parts to the funeral.  Most mourners know nothing about how to carry a coffin and thus do it wrong or do it badly.

- Attending a funeral: Cemetery tips
    The cemetery is perhaps one of the more dangerous parts of the funeral, for mourners and undertakers alike.  From lose or soft ground to heatstroke, it can be dangerous and uncomfortable.  This post addresses these issues and will make the trip to the cemetery safer and easier.

- Lowering the coffin
    From how to stand to how to hold the rope this post covers all the main points everyone should know when lowering a coffin at a cemetery.

- Attending a funeral: Driving in cortege
    The cortege is one of the more difficult things for mourners (and funeral staff).  It is where mourners can get lost and separated from the funeral, making them late to the cemetery or crematorium.  In this post I explain how to keep up and avoid being lost as well as avoid people cutting into the cortege.  I also look at the etiquette for driving in cortege.

- Ashes to ashes; what the ash is really like
    We all have an assumption that human ash is like ash.  Soft and powdery.  But it is nothing like this, as I explain in this post it is much more like lumpy sand.

- Video of a cremation
    A short video of how they do cremations in America.  It is not graphic (at least not in my opinion) and quite informative.  If you have ever wondered how a body is cremated this will show each step.

- How to turn a coffin
    Any movement of the coffin is significant and emotional.  Turning the coffin is something that is very important and represents the turning of time, the end of the deceased's life and more.  While it is usually done by the undertakers sometimes the family will want to do it.  By reading this guide you will know if the undertakers turn the coffin correctly and also be able to turn it yourself.

- Cortege laws and rights in NSW
    A post covering the laws and rights of the funeral cortege.  It also looks at enforcement of the laws and attitudes toward the cortege and those who cut it off.

- Carrying a child coffin
    In this post I explain what a child coffin is and how to carry one.  Something I noticed too many people do was to try and carry a child coffin by the handles, which is dangerous and difficult.  The child's  funeral is always very emotional and 'tense'.  The last thing anyone wants is for a child's coffin to be dropped.

Understanding a funeral
    The posts below are not really 'helpful' but they are informative.  They explain certain things that happen behind the scenes which would be interesting or useful for many mourners.

- Identifying and telling hearses apart -- 11th March 2013
    A post on how to identify and tell hearses apart, it is a great way to understand the hearse and what it looks like.  As well as to get an idea of the diversity of hearses in Sydney.

- The Process - From death to funeral
    This briefly and basically explains what happens to the body after death and how it's prepared for the funeral.

- Inside a mortuary
    A look inside a funeral home mortuary.  Just a few pictures explaining and showing various things.  And a couple of videos to help get a better feel for what a mortuary is like.

- Crying on funerals; How people show emotion
    This post is more a sociological explanation of what I have noticed on funerals.  Of how people cry and who cries.

- The hearse revealed
    Despite the fact that the hearse is such a famous car nobody really knows about it or sees inside it.  This post is a collection of pictures of inside the WNBull hearses.

- What is an undertaker?
    This post explains the role of an undertaker, what they do and why mourners need them.

- Coffin costs
    Something a lot of people complain about is the high cost of certain coffins.  Many coffins have over 200% markup on them.  In this post I look at why, how it is actually necessary for the industry to survive.

- Funeral terminology
    A handy post covering specific terms and tools used in the funeral industry.

- How a coffin is made at WNBulls
    This is a guide on how to trim a coffin the WNBull way.  But it is also a good way to see inside a coffin, what it is really made of.

- How to crash a funeral
    This guide is more intended as a look into how people act and behave at funeral.  By discussing how to crash the funeral we can work out who attends the funeral and how they behave.

- Inside the transfer van
    The transfer van is the car used to transport bodies.  It is what carries the bodies from the hospital (or where ever they died) to the funeral home.  Yet nobody knows about it.  So this is a series of photos of inside a transfer van.

- Body bags
    Body bags are not like what we see on TV, at least not in NSW.  This post looks at the body bags we really use.



  1. I want to have my funeral services in Southwest Chicago, IL. This is where I was born and bred. I also want it to be a happy time. A lot of funerals are just sad. I want mine to be a celebration that my worldly trials are over and I am at rest.

  2. I really love how you can plan out your funeral before you pass away. Getting all of the hard work out of the way by doing the planning yourself is what I'm interested in. What are some things you need to know when planning your own funeral? Is that a sad question to ask? I hope not!
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  3. This is great information. I have never attended a funeral before, but I am planning a funeral service for my grandfather. I was uncomfortable planning it because I don't know what a funeral is like, so this post is very helpful. I will read all of these posts before I get started.

  4. These tips on how to do things have been really helpful for me. My father in law passed away and my husband and I are doing the funeral. This is definitely a first for me and I have no idea what to do or how to handle it. I will show these tips to my husband, thank you for the advice!

  5. Wow, this is so much information! I am going to be attending my grandfathers funeral this weekend and I want to make sure I am properly prepared. I never knew how much effort went into planning a funeral service! Since it is my mother that is taking on most of the work I know that it will all come together smoothly. She also planned my grandmothers and her's went great .

  6. My good friends mother passed away and I would like to do the funeral for her. I know that it is a really tough thing to go through a funeral and I would like to ease her pain as much as possible. I have never done a funeral before and so I wan tot make sure I do it right. Thanks for the great tips.

  7. Thank you so much for all of the great information! My husband's grandmother just passed away and we volunteered to organize the funeral for her. The only problem being that neither my husband nor I have much experience with funerals. Needless to say, the entire thing has us overwhelmed. After clicking through some of these links though, I feel as though maybe we can actually pull this off.

  8. Anonymous8/5/15 13:40

    There is a lot more thought and planning that goes into a funeral than I originally thought. I've only ever attended funerals for a few loved ones, so I haven't had to put any together yet. I'm still hoping that day is far away, but this post is full of tips for someone that might not know the etiquette for a funeral. I was especially intrigued by the post about funeral seating, since that's something I've always been a little confused about. I'll have to come back and read that post later.

  9. Anonymous20/5/15 10:28

    An, I liked your tip on how to attend a funeral. Being able to understand what you need to do at a funeral seems like it could help you have a better experience and feel more comfortable. I have a relatives funeral coming up in a few weeks and this might be some good advice for me to remember.

  10. When my grandmother passed away a few months ago, it was a very difficult and confusing time. My sister and I were the ones who were in charge of organizing all of the events for the funeral. Having never done that before, we weren't prepared nor had any knowledge of the steps required. Your link on coffin costs was incredibly helpful in figuring out how to select a coffin for a fair price.
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  11. It was very confusing and difficult time when my grandfather passed away. Planning for something in such a situations is very difficult. The whole arrangement was done with the help of Independent Funeral Advice and the holy soul was on its way with the spine-tingling sound of human voices. For funeral planning and information visit:

    1. Many thanks Andrew for your great comments about our website, . We are a truly independent website and we are not affiliated with any multinational corporations, funeral directors or industry associations. Our aim is to provide all the information & services that are necessary to arrange a funeral on the one website. With your permission, we would like to share your comments on our website.

  12. Well I really pray and hope with respect to get the answer I'm looking for I really want to know what is the due process when removing a deceased individual from their bed and onto the gurney and if their body has somewhat stiffened or they just do remove them as is or they opposed to straighten their bodies out and other words like crunching their bones I need to know because if that's not the case then I must see the s*** out of somebody can someone please tell me what the process is when they do remove a deceased person from the home if they passed away in their sleep thank you

  13. I need to know if that's considered abuse of corpse or is that the proper procedure I really need to know so if there's a professional out there that knows what the due process is when they remove a deceased individual from a home I need to know every step they do while taking them out of the home thank you

  14. I need to know if that's considered abuse of corpse or is that the proper procedure I really need to know so if there's a professional out there that knows what the due process is when they remove a deceased individual from a home I need to know every step they do while taking them out of the home thank you

  15. I am so glad that there are sites like this available to people who have lost a loved one. It's so true that you generally assume that everyone knows how to attend a funeral, and that this is rarely the case. People react in different ways to grief, so having a place they can go to see what is appropriate to do at a funeral would be very helpful to them.

  16. Great read! Not everyone has been to a funeral, or even understands what it's like to be on the working side of a funeral. Our Vescio Funeral Home team will love being able to share this post with our clients.

  17. Thanks for this list of articles. The one on the process from death to funeral sounds really useful. My uncle just passed and it's really hard to focus on planning from the grief.

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