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Sharon Hunter - September 2021

A Venue for a Great Goodbye

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It’s one of the first questions people are asked when someone has died. Where is the funeral?

Nothing sets the tone of a Great Goodbye more than the location selected for the service and wake. Everything takes its cue from this decision, including how people dress, the food you serve, and how long proceedings will go on for.

There are no rules

You don’t have to use a funeral home or place of worship. Anywhere can be perfect; if it characterizes the life of the loved one, trust your instincts and go with it.

There can be two venues

One venue is for the service itself and another is for the wake or after function. The first venue is where most formalities take place, while things tend to relax at the wake, where time is less restricted, and people can linger.

Sometimes families forgo a funeral service and hold a memorial instead. Since the body isn’t present at memorials, they offer a great deal of flexibility. Memorials also allow more time to plan the service.

Main considerations when selecting a venue:

  1. Capacity – how many guests do you anticipate? You may wish to restrict guests to close family, or accept unpredictable numbers if you open it to all who may wish to attend.
  2. Availability – for some venues (including churches), certain days and times are more booked than others.
  3. Location – do you want somewhere local or are you up for a special venue that requires people to travel?
  4. Casket Friendly – some venues are comfortable with the casket being present at the service while others are available for memorial services only.

"Nothing sets the tone of a Great Goodbye more than the location selected for the service and wake."

A few ideas to get you thinking:

The family home is filled with personal touches. Don’t hesitate to use a gorgeous garden setting or a barn on the family farm. You can use the games room, the deck, or a marquee on the lawn.

Was your loved one a football, tennis or golf fan? Contact the local club and ask permission to hold the service and function there. Think about how you might personalise the casket by placing clubs, racket or boots on top.

The great outdoors offers unforgettable opportunities. The beach, the forest, a vineyard or river. Funerals have even been held in caves and on mountains.

Choose a fabulous local building and dress it up any which way. Some have used an art gallery or theatre. BYO china and silverware or your favourite artworks and photos.

For anyone who loved life on the sea, a boat shed or fishing club could be the perfect spot.

Magnificent or modest, churches and chapels have dignity and comforting charm. The school or campus chapel is a lovely option for some families.

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