It’s one of the first questions we get asked when someone has died. Where is the funeral? And when will it be?

Nothing sets the tone of a Great Goodbye more than the location selected for the service and wake. Everything else takes its cue from this decision, including how people might dress, the food you serve, and how long proceedings will go on for. There are no rules to say you have to use a funeral home or place of worship – anywhere that fits with the life of the one you love and those who are gathering to say goodbye will work perfectly. Like so much else that goes into creating a Great Goodbye, trust your instincts.

For some there will be two venues. One for the service itself and somewhere else for the wake or after function. The first is where much of the formal part will take place while things tend to relax a bit at the wake. This is also where time can be much less restricted and people can gather as long as needed.

Sometimes families forgo a funeral service and hold a memorial instead. As the body isn’t present, memorials offer a great deal of flexibility as the venue doesn’t need to accomodate the casket. Memorials also allow more time to plan for the service and bring a number of

Here are the main considerations when selecting a venue:

  1. Capacity – how many guests do you anticipate? You may wish to restrict guests to close family only, or accept that you can’t predict numbers especially accurately and be open to all who may wish to attend.
  2. Availability – for some venues (including churches) certain days and times are more booked up than others
  3. Location – do you want to choose somewhere local, or are you up for a special venue even if people have to travel a bit.
  4. Casket Friendly – some venues are comfortable with the casket being present at the service while others are available for memorial services only.

A few venue ideas to get you thinking:

The family home is filled with personal touches. Don’t hesitate to use a gorgeous garden setting or a barn on the family farm, the games room, the deck, a marquee on the lawn.

Football, tennis or golf fan? Contact the local club and ask permission to hold the service and function there. Think about how you might personalise the casket by placing clubs, racket or boots on top.

The great outdoors offers untold opportunities. The beach, the forest, vineyard or river. Funerals have been held in caves and on mountains,

Choose a fabulous local building and dress it up any which way. Some have used an art gallery or theatre. BYO china and silverware or favoured artworks and photos. Using an event planner can help take the load.

For anyone who loved life on the sea a boat shed, or fishing club will be really fitting.

Magnificent or modest, churches and chapels have dignity and comfort.  The school or campus chapel is a lovely option for some families.

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