If you need to organise a funeral, one of the first steps is to decide on a funeral home. This guide will help you to understand the differences between various funeral homes in Sydney and the questions you need to ask to decide on the best funeral home for you.
What does a funeral home do?
A funeral home, or funeral director, is the company that you engage to plan and deliver a funeral service.
The tasks will include the collection of your loved one from their place of death and transfer into their care, all government paperwork including death certificates, the preparation of a body for either a cremation or burial and the organisation and delivery of a funeral ceremony.
How to choose a funeral home
When choosing the most suitable funeral home for your needs, there are several key questions and criteria that you should consider.
Types of funeral operators:
Would you prefer to deal with a larger operator with a recognised brand, or a smaller operator where you might get a more personalised service?
Traditional: The biggest funeral homes in Sydney are large businesses (often owned by one or two publicly listed companies,) and include White Lady Funerals, Guardian Funerals, WN Bull Funerals & Lady Anne Funerals.
Independent: The smaller independent funeral homes are generally family owned and run a single location, meaning your funeral director will often be the business owner.
The actual services offered between the large corporates and smaller independents are basically the same, except the prices are usually a bit higher with the corporates.
Innovative: A range of more modern options have become available in recent years, offering a wider variety of choice than the just same traditional funeral that we’ve seen for the past century. These modern funeral businesses generally have a specific style of funeral that they focus on like memorials, natural burials or alternative funerals.
What is the cost of a funeral in Sydney?
Are you looking for the cheapest option, the most premium, or something in between?
If your focus is on a cheap and simple funeral, by far the most cost effective option is to do a direct cremation. This is where the person is cremated soon after the death, with no service beforehand or any other extras. A direct cremation should cost anywhere between $2,200 – $3,500 in Sydney – but be mindful that will literally only include the cremation, so you’ll receive your loved ones ashes a week or so later (via mail or you will need to pick them up) and any funeral organisation will be up to you to do.
If you use one of the bigger, corporate funeral homes and choose to upgrade on various items along the way (flowers, coffins, coffin handles etc) then the funeral could range anywhere from around $5,000 to $20 or even $30,000, (or more.) But overall, the average cost of a funeral in Sydney is around $10,000.
This is before the costs of a burial plot if you are choosing a burial over cremation, which could add another $10,000 on top.
What is a memorial funeral?
An increasingly popular option is to do a memorial style funeral. This takes advantage of the simplicity and cost effectiveness of a direct cremation, but still allows you to host a funeral ceremony that can be as simple or sensational as you want it to be. The benefits of this are that your money can be spent on items like food, beverages, venue styling and music rather than coffins, coffin handles, funeral home staff and other funeral director ‘extras’.
Alternative funerals styles in NSW
The first question to ask is whether you would like a traditional funeral, or something more modern like a memorial style funeral. The key difference is that a traditional funeral has the ceremony before the burial or cremation, whereas a memorial funeral has the ceremony after.
The reasons to choose a traditional funeral style would be if there is a specific religious process you wish to follow, or if you specifically want a coffin on display at the service. But if neither of these elements are important to you, then you should consider a memorial style service.
By removing the logistical challenge of having a coffin present at the ceremony, the whole funeral can become much more bespoke, personalised and cost effective. You can also think outside the box in terms of the venue – celebrating a loved one’s life in a location that suits their lifestyle (we have some great Sydney venue ideas here!) as opposed to an old fashioned chapel.
Funeral homes in Sydney – conclusion
Despite the stress that comes with organising a funeral, it’s important to be aware that there are options and not to feel pressured into choosing a particular funeral provider.
There are many alternatives from simple and cheap funerals, big traditional funerals to bespoke memorial funerals that look nothing like a standard funeral. The choice is yours and you should feel empowered to select the most appropriate option and one which is within your budget.
If it’s a memorial style funeral you decide on we are here to help. Tomorrow is the first funeral business in Australia that focuses exclusively on these!
We offer one transparent $6,400 package that includes all of the funeral elements, a whole host of special extras (such as a personal memorial website, video and more) plus your very own celebrant to help plan and lead your memorial event.
We’ll be with you from start to finish, managing the entire process and ensuring that we create a remarkable experience.