Our Journal

Everything you’ll ever need to know about funerals

Planning a funeral can be overwhelming. There are a few key events which mark a person’s life. These are often focused around birth and death, with maybe a marriage (or two!) thrown in. 

If you think about it, spending a whole year organising a wedding would be considered normal, yet funeral planning is usually done in a week. Or two, if you’re lucky. It’s no wonder that arranging an end-of-life ceremony which is often done at a time of deep sadness or even whilst still in shock, has a reputation for difficulty.

We’ve created this funeral guide to help you understand the process, understand what’s involved and the kinds of decisions you’ll need to make. We’re here to help. We want to make things as easy as they can be.

Personal choice

At Tomorrow, we believe that, despite what we are often told or what we assume, a funeral or memorial does not have to be what it’s always been. 

There are many ways to mark a person’s life but personalising the event to capture the essence of who you’re celebrating and truly tell their story is really important. This might mean arranging a church service followed by tea and sandwiches, a relaxed picnic in the park or an event with champagne, fireworks and a brass band!

What we’re trying to say is that there are good funerals and bad ones and doing it right can be very satisfying and perhaps even feel like an act of love.

When the time comes, remember that you can choose between funeral homes and styles, despite what might be suggested by nursing homes and hospitals. But you migh need to make quick decisions.

Pre-planning a funeral

It can be extremely helpful to note down ideas for your own funeral. Here is our template for a downloadable ‘end of life checklist.’ We often find that family members simply don’t know whether their dad would have preferred a religious service or for everyone to meet at home and tell stories over a beer… Whether he’d have preferred someone to read ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ or book a rock & roll band!

Types of funeral providers

The first important decision is who will provide the service. This will also determine a lot in terms of style, cost and outcome of the event itself. These are the different types of funeral businesses:

Large corporate funeral organisations

In Australia, Invocare (a publicly listed organisation) is the largest supplier of funerals. Invocare owns dozens of brands like White Lady and Le Pine just to name a few. Another publicly listed provider is Propel, although their funeral homes all operate under their own brand names.

Tobin Brothers also have more than 24+ outlets & is another example of a large corporate provider.

These businesses have set a specific standard and style and if you’ve been to what you consider a typical funeral any time over the last decade, the chances are it was with one of these providers. They do more services than anyone else and overall you kind of know what you’re getting when dealing with these larger organisations.

Independent funeral operators

In the same traditional style as the larger corporates, are the independent operators of single funeral homes. These businesses are often family owned and because the funeral industry is largely unregulated, your experience will depend greatly on the service and the ethics of the business owners themselves.

Whilst most of these operators are well intentioned and offer a more personalised service than what you’ll get with the larger corporates, there are definitely some bad eggs, as exposed by an ABC Four Corners documentary, “After Death: Behind the scenes of Australia’s funeral industry”. We recommend you do your research and check reviews to make sure you find a good one.

Contemporary independent funeral businesses

Intending to break the mould and offer an alternative are new businesses like Bare, The Last Hurrah, Piccaluna and Tomorrow Funerals.

Each of these have a different focus – whether that’s on very cheap prices, an alternative, quirky style or on a more natural burial. But overall, these operators offer something different to the traditional funeral process.

For example, at Tomorrow, we focus less on what we call the funeraly-bits (coffin handles and headstones) and more on telling your loved one’s story and remembering them in the most fitting way.

We do this by providing a simple, dignified cremation after which your celebrant assists you to create an extraordinary memorial event.

In a nutshell, we offer one simple funeral package so there are less stressful decisions and costs related to what to do with your loved ones body, giving you more options to plan how they will be remembered or celebrated.

We’re always here to help

Call us 24-hours / 7 days on 1800 574 824
Our Journal contains our entire list of resources for creating personal memorials.
Or visit our funerals page, for more information on our unique memorial style funeral package.
memorial candles