Your guide to planning a funeral

Planning a funeral while dealing with loss might be one of the toughest challenges you face in life. But you don’t have to do it alone. We’re here to make sure it doesn’t feel like it’s just your burden.


A funeral gives you the chance to capture your loved one’s spirit and honour their memory. It’s a time for family, friends and communities to come together. To laugh, cry and cherish the moments you shared. 

If you’re planning a funeral for a loved one, this guide will step you through the process. And if you and your family need support, we’re always here to help.  

Where to start when someone dies

We all respond differently when we lose someone close to us. There’s no right or wrong way to feel, so be patient with yourself and those around you. When you’re ready, there are some things you’ll need to do.

Steps to plan a funeral

Here’s how the women of White Lady Funerals can help you plan a meaningful farewell.


Step 1
Make an appointment with your Funeral Specialist

Call us whenever you’re ready to begin planning the funeral. We’ll organise a time to meet in person and answer any questions you might have. Your loved one may have pre-planned their service with us. If so, we’ll have everything we need to begin the process.

Step 2
Find a venue

We can organise a funeral at just about any location – a place of worship, a beach, park or even your home. You might also choose to hold the service in one of our chapels, or at your loved one’s burial site. Your dedicated Funeral Specialist will help you choose the option that’s right for you and take care of all the details from there.   

Step 3
Create the service

Your loved one’s service should reflect their unique personality and honour their memory. We’ll work closely with you to create a bespoke farewell that does just that. We’ll explain the various service options and ask you about your loved one’s wishes – things like whether they wanted to be buried or cremated, and any other requests for their funeral like their favourite music or flowers. Your Funeral Specialist will help you make the decisions that feel right for you.

If you need some time to think, we can organise a follow-up meeting to confirm the details. We will provide itemised costs so you can understand our fees, as well as payment options available to you. 


In the lead up to the funeral

Once we’ve taken care of the details, there are some things you might like to do before the funeral. 

What to expect on the day

Funerals can look very different across cultures and religions. However, here are some of the common things that can be included:

Before the funeral

  • Viewing – a special moment for close family and friends to say a private goodbye, with or without an open coffin

During the funeral

  • Arrival – a chance to spend some time with friends and family before the service
  • Pallbearing – an opportunity for family and friends to accompany their loved one on their final journey
  • Ceremony – the formal proceedings may involve readings, rituals, prayers and/or music
  • Eulogy – an opportunity for close family members or friends to express their love
  • Burial or cremation – you may like a final moment to say farewell before your loved one is laid to rest.

After the funeral

  • Reception – a chance for guests to gather after the service to share memories and reminisce.


How we can help

We are here to support you at every step. Our collective of women Funeral Specialists are highly experienced, caring professionals who understand the pain of losing a loved one. We’ll help carry your burden, so you can focus on healing before, during and after the service. Here are some of the ways we support you.

Other questions you might have

What should I bring to the first meeting with my White Lady Funeral Specialist?

You might like to bring a supportive friend or family member along. Here are some other things that will be helpful:

  • Information for the Death Certificate, including significant dates and home address.
  • Clothes, accessories and jewellery you would like your loved one to be dressed in.
  • A recent photo of your loved one to help our team do their hair and makeup, if you would like us to.
  • Prepaid funeral plans, if you have them.
  • Burial site reservation documents, if you have them.

What happens if someone passes at a hospital or nursing home?

If your loved one is at nursing home or private hospital, the staff will contact the family as soon as possible. They will also help to organise the Cause of Death Certificate. Then, you can get in touch with us to organise the next steps. In some cases, your loved one might have pre-planned their funeral. If so, the hospital or nursing home may contact us directly to come and collect your loved one.

What happens if the doctor can’t issue a Cause of Death Certificate?

In some cases, a doctor may not be able to issue Cause of Death Certificate, and they will need to refer the death to the coroner.

There are a number of reasons for referring a death to the coroner, including:

  • Death other than by natural causes, including violence, accidental or unusual causes.
  • Death during or following a health-related procedure.
  • Unexpected death.
  • Death of a person in an institution, a prison, in police custody or a drug or alcohol rehabilitation centre.
  • When the cause of death is unknown.

What is the difference between a Death Certificate and a Cause of Death Certificate?

A Death Certificate is the official document that registers your loved one’s death with the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in your state. Our team will help you organise the Death Certificate and any other relevant paperwork.

The Cause of Death Certificate is issued by a healthcare professional (usually a doctor) and records a person’s date and place of death. All funeral directors need this document before they can collect your loved one and start planning for the funeral. This certificate is also required to register the death after the funeral service has occurred.


Your guide to funerals and grief