The Service

What to expect at a funeral.

Funeral Etiquette

The funeral is a ceremony of proven worth and value for those who mourn. It provides an opportunity for the survivors and others who share in the loss to express their love, respect, grief and appreciation for a life that has been lived. It permits facing openly and realistically the crisis the death presents. Through the funeral the bereaved take that first step toward emotional adjustment to their loss. This information has been prepared as a convenient reference for modern funeral practices and customs.

At The Service

It is advisable to plan to arrive at a funeral service in plenty of time so as to secure a car park and a seat. Parking is always reserved for immediate family members. The bereaved family usally gather at the funeral home 30 minutes prior to the service. They will typically meet and greet attendees as they enter the chapel. Upon entering the chapel you are likely to be asked to sign a memorial book as a record of attendance for the family, to be given a service sheet, and ushered to a seat. The front rows of the chapel are reserved for immediate family.

The Funeral Service

The family specifies the type of service conducted for the deceased. Funeral directors are trained to assist families in arranging whatever type of service they desire. The service held either at a place of worship or at the funeral home with the deceased present, varies in ritual according to denomination. The presence of friends at this time is an acknowledgement of friendship and support. It is helpful to friends and the community to have a funeral notice published announcing the death and type of service to be held. These are also online at


Friends, relatives, church members or business associates may be asked to serve as pallbearers. The funeral director will typically brief the pallbearers about their task prior to commencement of the service. The pallbearers may or may not choose to sit together.


A member of the family, clergy, celebrant or a close personal friend or a business associate of the deceased, may give a eulogy. The eulogy is not to be lengthy or repetitive, but should offer praise and commendation and reflect the life of the person who has died.


Wearing colourful clothing is no longer inappropriate for relatives and friends. Persons attending a funeral should be dressed in good taste so as to show dignity and respect for the family and the occasion.

Funeral Procession / Cortege

When the funeral ceremony and the burial or cremation is both held within the local area, friends and relatives might accompany the family to the cemetery. The procession is formed at the funeral home or place of worship. If you are in the cortege please have your vehicle headlights on.

If the burial or cremation is to be private or family only, this will be announced in the newspaper and on the tribute page at also announced at the service.


Sending a floral tribute is a very appropriate way of expressing sympathy to the family of the deceased. Flowers express a feeling of life and beauty and offer much comfort to the family. A floral tribute can either be sent to the funeral home or the residence. If sent to the residence, usually a planter or a small vase of flowers indicating a person's continued sympathy for the family is suggested. The florist places an identification card on the floral tribute. At the funeral home the cards are removed from the floral tributes and given to the family so they may acknowledge the tributes sent.

Memorial Donations

A memorial contribution, to a specific cause or charity, can be appreciated and is often in lieu of flowers. A large number of memorial funds are available; however the family may have expressed a preference.

Sympathy Messages

Sending a card of sympathy, even if you are only an acquaintance, is appropriate. It means so much to the family members to know they are in good thoughts. These can be sent C\- Guardian Funeral Home, 4 Moorefield Road, Johnsonville or left at online at When the funeral service is over, the survivors often feel very alone in dealing with their feelings. It is important that they know you are still there. Keep in touch.

Viewing Of The Deceased

Whether a viewing is to take place or not is entirely up to the discretion of each individual family. A viewing typically takes place in the funeral home or at the family home. Although the casket can be open during a funeral service - this is not so popular currently. Sometimes allocated times are given at the funeral home for friends and family to visit. Often viewing is for family only.


The bereaved family will often acknowledge the flowers and messages sent by relatives and friends. When food and personal services are donated, these thoughtful acts also should be acknowledged, as should the services of the pallbearers.

Guardian Funeral Home can provide printed acknowledgement cards that can be used by the family.

Sometimes it is more practical to insert a public thank you in the newspaper. Your funeral director can assist you with this.

Children At Funerals

At a very early age, children have an awareness of and a response to death. Children should be given the option to attend visitation and the funeral service. The funeral director can advise you on how to assist children at the time of a funeral and can provide you with additional information and literature.

Grief Recovery

It is healthy to recognise death and discuss it realistically with friends and relatives. When a person dies, there is grief that needs to be shared. Expressions of sympathy and the offering of yourself to help others following the funeral are welcomed. It is important that we share our grief with one another. Your local funeral director can help family and friends locate available resources and grief recovery programs in your area. We run a grief support network throughout the Wellington region.

Guardian Funeral Homes