Pamela and Brian Darth of Brian Darth Funeral Services answer questions on funerals in this monthly column. Send questions, care of the Stratford Press. Questions will be answered in this column only. Private correspondence will not be entered into. This month, Pamela answers a question on the service itself.

Question: I have never attended a family funeral before, what happens on the day?

Answer: Our main objective is to ensure you and your family are completely comfortable and confident with all the arrangements, and that the day unfolds as smoothly as possible.

Arriving at the venue on the day of the funeral, friends and family generally start arriving anywhere from 30 minutes prior to the start of the service. Family may wish to greet mourners at the entrance, but you may find this difficult and wish to leave your arrival until closer to the start of service.

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Casket Bearers:
If the casket is being carried in or out of the funeral venue, casket bearers will be invited to assist with carrying. Family and friends feel honoured to assist in this role. It is preferable that the bearers have been arranged prior to the day of the funeral to ensure they are aware of when and what is required of them. The funeral director will assist you with this process and will discuss this with you prior to the service starting.

The service:
Our funeral director will take care of coordinating the service throughout the funeral. They will ensure everyone is seated, while seating is available, hand out service sheets prior to the service starting and will ensure music and DVD presentations run smoothly. At the conclusion of the service the funeral director will lead out the casket followed by the immediate family.

Conclusion of the service:
Funeral services conclude in a number of different ways. For families who choose not to travel to the crematorium or cemetery, the farewell will generally takes place at the funeral service venue.

Whether the farewell takes place inside the funeral venue or outside at the hearse, it is common for mourners to place a final tribute, often flower petals, on the casket as a final gesture of farewell. When the funeral service is to be followed by a burial or committal service at another location, your funeral director will liaise with you as to an appropriate time for departure. When the hearse departs the funeral director will drive
away at a slow pace with headlights illuminated. It is appropriate for following cars to do the same.

If you have any questions that you would like Brian or Pamela to answer, send via the Stratford Press.