When someone you love passes away, planning a funeral can sometimes feel like an insurmountable task. As a means of saying goodbye to someone and celebrating their life, funerals can feel bittersweet. If you're in the early planning phases, it's time to consider the basics.

Who can Attend the Funeral?

Many funerals are now an open affair where friends and family attend to say goodbye. However, some people prefer to restrict certain elements of the day to family members only. For example, you may extend an open invitation to the funeral chapel but request that the cremation takes place without too many people there. In doing so, the cremation may feel more personal.

Where will it Take Place?

You have a few choices when deciding where to host the funeral. If the person who passed away was religious, you may prefer to use a church or another relevant place of worship. Other options include using a private funeral chapel or crematorium. Choose the setting that feels most appropriate for you.

Will You Accept Flowers?

A growing number of people now request that funeral attendees don't bring flowers. If you're going to take the same approach, think about what you would like to do instead. For example, you may identify a charity that you want people to donate to. Or, you could request that they bring photos of the deceased or write down a fond memory for you to read later. There are plenty of alternatives to explore and many of them bring a lot of comfort.

Who will do the Readings?

One of the most comforting parts of a funeral takes place when people stand up to deliver readings. During your period of grief, you may feel more comfortable writing down your thoughts so the person leading the funeral can read them out instead. Additionally, consider whether close friends or family members can make a positive contribution with their own readings.

What Music do you Want?

Choosing music for a funeral is a highly personal task. But when you do it right, it's an amazing way to commemorate the person you love. Reflect on appropriate hymns, as well as songs from the musical era they enjoyed. Ask others to help you out if you're struggling for inspiration.

Once you begin planning the basics of a funeral, everything else may feel less stressful. If you're feeling stuck, consider asking a relevant celebrant or someone else who was close to the deceased for assistance.