What’s Included in a Funeral From Start to Finish

The death of a loved one can be quite the experience for anyone to go through. However, even though your emotions are heightened at this time, there’s still a lot to organise to ensure the funeral is undertaken well. Below, you’ll find everything you need to consider when making funeral arrangements.

Report the Death

The first step after verifying the death of a loved one is to report the death to the proper authorities. This will begin the process of obtaining a death certificate, which will be needed to complete most of the tasks involved when dealing with the body, settling the estate and handling other related matters such as executing wills and estates.

Connecting with a Funeral Director

The funeral process all starts with your funeral director, who is needed to complete the death certificate. Your funeral director will also assist with transporting and storing the body while other funeral arrangements are underway. To ensure that everything goes according to plan, you’ll be required to answer two important questions:

  • Will the remains be buried or cremated?
  • What type of funeral service will you have?


You may also be asked questions about many aspects of the funeral, including the time and location of the service, visitation or closed casket and flower arrangements. This is the perfect time to ascertain how much a funeral costs.

Let People Know

The next step is to notify close friends, work partners and immediate family members of the deceased who are unaware of their passing. These are tough calls to make and we recommend enlisting the help of close family members to contact these people alongside you.

In addition, you will also have to notify other stakeholders, including the deceased’s doctor and employer (if they have one), religious groups or associations and their health, insurance and credit card companies.

Department of Human Services also has a handy checklist of who to contact when someone dies, to make sure you don’t forget any important person or organisation.

It’s important you also let Medicare and Department of Human Services know when someone has passed away. They will require you to submit an advice of death form.

Plan the Funeral 

At this point, your funeral director becomes an invaluable asset as you make the necessary funeral arrangements. Regardless of what type of funeral service you choose, you’ll need to find and secure a befitting location. You can choose between having the service in a church, funeral home or at the cemetery during the burial. At Whitsunday Funerals and Crematorium, we have three purpose built venues based at Mackay, Bowen and Proserpine which are beautiful, welcoming spaces that offer the perfect way to say goodbye.

Funeral Products

If you plan on cremating the body, you’ll have to decide on a cremation coffin and an urn. If you decide on a burial, you’ll need to purchase a plot in the cemetery. Our local funeral homes have forged strong relationships with cemeteries in the Whitsunday area and we can help provide further details about securing one.

Funeral Related Events

You also have to decide whether you’ll hold any prefuneral events like a viewing, wake or visitation. We’ve found that many families choose to hold post-funeral events which serve as a way for friends and family to meet and console the bereaved. All these decisions can be made at time of meeting with the funeral director.

Preparing the Body

If you choose to have an open casket or hold a viewing before the funeral, you’ll have to notify your funeral director who will arrange for the body to be embalmed. You’ll have to decide on the clothes they’ll be buried in and make these available to the funeral home along with any other special items you want them to be buried with.

What Happens at a Funeral

Each funeral is different and depends upon the choices made by the person organising the event. Or, in the case of prepaid funerals, the deceased may have already laid out specific plans.

Funeral arrangements and proceedings can include:

  • readings (such as poems, eulogies, religious texts) done by celebrants or connections of the deceased
  • music
  • images and slideshows
  • flowers, floral arrangements and bouquets
  • other special ways to honour the person


Guests will often be greeted by one of our professional staff members on the day and provided with a program upon arrival, if you choose to include one.

Once the funeral proceedings have concluded, our staff on the day will guide your guests as to what to do next: whether you have stipulated people meet at the cemetery, the wake or the tributes for the day have concluded.

Don’t Forget…

To notify friends and family members of the deceased on the date and time of the funeral. Depending on their relationship with the deceased, you may wish to ask certain guests if they would like to say any last words during the funeral. 


At Whitsunday Funerals and Crematorium, we have found that the right support, understanding and care makes all the difference when it comes to funeral arrangements.