What do Funeral Directors do for Families? - Part 3

By: Nathan McKinlay
Wednesday, September 29, 2021

What do Funeral Directors do for Families?

3) Event Planner

Imagine your son or daughter coming to you, barely able to contain their good news. They are getting married! They have a 200 person guest list, were thinking about a rustic theme, and were back and forth between a red velvet and a white vanilla bean wedding cake. Oh, and when were these two souls hoping to merge into one? THIS SATURDAY!

While this timeline would prove very difficult for a wedding, being able to plan elaborate events in short order is something funeral directors do every day. To start, we need to secure the venue(s), the clergy or celebrant, the musicians, the caterers, the graphic design work and post the obituary in advance of the event. We would also have to plan the event around the disposition type – burial, cremation, or body donation (bequeathal). If someone is being cremated in advance of the service, we need to ensure that we ‘time’ the cremation accordingly, so that your loved one’s cremation would be complete prior to the event beginning. In the event of a body donation or bequeathal, the event usually takes place without your loved one’s physical remains. We may hold a service with a portrait in their absence.

Pre-Covid, it was always a guessing game as to how many people may attend at a funeral. Would there be 30 people or 300 people? It was the job of the funeral director to make an educated guess as to whether the particular funeral home, church or hall would be able to handle the anticipated numbers. We were, for the most part, pretty accurate. Some factors in our estimates would include the day of the week, time of day, size of family, how active the person was in the community, time of year, weather, and the age of the loved one who passed. Presently, within the pandemic, we are required to register guests in advance for funerals, which, if nothing else, allows us to be more accurate with our estimates.

Over time, ‘express event planning’ becomes an essential tool in any funeral director’s toolbox. However, it also can cause us to be a little impatient when planning other events in our own lives. That’s why, when Amanda and I decided to get married, we planned the whole thing in three weeks – from start to ‘I do’!

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