There is now a special page called 'Ask an Undertaker' for people to openly ask any questions which will be answered by various funeral staff or myself. Feel free to ask anything, this is a rather open minded space! Simply follow the link below and ask away :)
This is basically a list of posts I have written for mourners on how to attend a funeral. We assume everyone knows how to attend a funeral, yet this is rarely the case. Mourners make mistakes and are so out of place at a funeral. The funeral can be stressful enough as is, so some helpful advice can make things easier and nicer for everyone.
This page will regularly be updated as I write new posts. Now posts are added to the top of the relevant section.
Guides & Information for Attending a Funeral
- Making an Order of Servie
In this post I talk about how to easily make a quality order of service. After working in printing and seeing many order of service booklets I have a few decent tricks and tips.
- Attending a funeral: The seating
Where to sit on a funeral is sometimes confusing or dunting. In this guid I explain where to sit and how it is usually not too important. That it is not something to worry too much about.
- How to Attend a funeral; A brief guide
This is a decent guide on how to attend a funeral. It covers information people assume but many do not know. It also has some general helpful tips to make the whole thing much easier.
- How to attend a funeral
This is a newer version of the previous post. One I wrote when I had more experience as a mourner.
- How to carry and move the coffin
Movement of the coffin is one of the most emotional and significant parts of the funeral. Unfortunately it is one of the less known parts to the funeral. Most mourners know nothing about how to carry a coffin and thus do it wrong or do it badly.
- Attending a funeral: Cemetery tips
The cemetery is perhaps one of the more dangerous parts of the funeral, for mourners and undertakers alike. From lose or soft ground to heatstroke, it can be dangerous and uncomfortable. This post addresses these issues and will make the trip to the cemetery safer and easier.
- Lowering the coffin
From how to stand to how to hold the rope this post covers all the main points everyone should know when lowering a coffin at a cemetery.
- Attending a funeral: Driving in cortege
The cortege is one of the more difficult things for mourners (and funeral staff). It is where mourners can get lost and separated from the funeral, making them late to the cemetery or crematorium. In this post I explain how to keep up and avoid being lost as well as avoid people cutting into the cortege. I also look at the etiquette for driving in cortege.
- Ashes to ashes; what the ash is really like
We all have an assumption that human ash is like ash. Soft and powdery. But it is nothing like this, as I explain in this post it is much more like lumpy sand.
- Video of a cremation
A short video of how they do cremations in America. It is not graphic (at least not in my opinion) and quite informative. If you have ever wondered how a body is cremated this will show each step.
- How to turn a coffin
Any movement of the coffin is significant and emotional. Turning the coffin is something that is very important and represents the turning of time, the end of the deceased's life and more. While it is usually done by the undertakers sometimes the family will want to do it. By reading this guide you will know if the undertakers turn the coffin correctly and also be able to turn it yourself.
- Cortege laws and rights in NSW
A post covering the laws and rights of the funeral cortege. It also looks at enforcement of the laws and attitudes toward the cortege and those who cut it off.
- Carrying a child coffin
In this post I explain what a child coffin is and how to carry one. Something I noticed too many people do was to try and carry a child coffin by the handles, which is dangerous and difficult. The child's funeral is always very emotional and 'tense'. The last thing anyone wants is for a child's coffin to be dropped.
Understanding a funeral
The posts below are not really 'helpful' but they are informative. They explain certain things that happen behind the scenes which would be interesting or useful for many mourners.
- Identifying and telling hearses apart -- 11th March 2013
A post on how to identify and tell hearses apart, it is a great way to understand the hearse and what it looks like. As well as to get an idea of the diversity of hearses in Sydney.
- The Process - From death to funeral
This briefly and basically explains what happens to the body after death and how it's prepared for the funeral.
- Inside a mortuary
A look inside a funeral home mortuary. Just a few pictures explaining and showing various things. And a couple of videos to help get a better feel for what a mortuary is like.
- Crying on funerals; How people show emotion
This post is more a sociological explanation of what I have noticed on funerals. Of how people cry and who cries.
- The hearse revealed
Despite the fact that the hearse is such a famous car nobody really knows about it or sees inside it. This post is a collection of pictures of inside the WNBull hearses.
- What is an undertaker?
This post explains the role of an undertaker, what they do and why mourners need them.
- Coffin costs
Something a lot of people complain about is the high cost of certain coffins. Many coffins have over 200% markup on them. In this post I look at why, how it is actually necessary for the industry to survive.
- Funeral terminology
A handy post covering specific terms and tools used in the funeral industry.
- How a coffin is made at WNBulls
This is a guide on how to trim a coffin the WNBull way. But it is also a good way to see inside a coffin, what it is really made of.
- How to crash a funeral
This guide is more intended as a look into how people act and behave at funeral. By discussing how to crash the funeral we can work out who attends the funeral and how they behave.
- Inside the transfer van
The transfer van is the car used to transport bodies. It is what carries the bodies from the hospital (or where ever they died) to the funeral home. Yet nobody knows about it. So this is a series of photos of inside a transfer van.
- Body bags
Body bags are not like what we see on TV, at least not in NSW. This post looks at the body bags we really use.