As promised on my social media, an Interview with an FD, or Funeral Director to you and me.

A picture of Wendy Green, a Funeral Director at R Banks Funerals.
Wendy Green

I had a zoom call with Wendy Green of R. Banks Funerals who have about 10 branches in and around Wigan in the north west of England.

In this Interview with an FD, Wendy and I chat for about 40 minutes about funerals costs; what’s best – pre-paid plan or funeral insurance; what to bring with you when you go to the Funeral Directors; and what are people’s main worries when planning a funeral.

So, grab a brew and a biscuit and settle down for our first Interview with an FD.

The Interview

Key Points to Remember when Planning a Funeral

Wendy shares a lot of information about funerals and funeral planning but there are several key points she makes, so if you haven’t got 40 minutes right now, here’s the key info.

Phone around for quotes from different Funeral Homes

Different funeral homes charge different fees and the difference can be quite significant so call a few homes in your area and ask for a breakdown of the cost. You want to know what you get for your money.

Does the price include:

  • dressing the deceased in their own clothes or the cost of a shroud
  • viewings of the deceased especially in the evenings
  • Order of Service sheets
  • flowers
  • an Obituary Notice in the paper
  • pallbearers if there’s no family or friends to carry the coffin
  • variation in coffins
  • cars
  • pick up from the house or from the funeral home

Ask a friend or not-so-close relative to go with you to the Funeral Director

Once you have found a funeral home in your budget, go and see them and make sure you feel comfortable with them – ask questions.

It is a good idea to write down any ideas or questions you have in a notebook and take that with you to write down the answers and any other important information.

When someone close to us dies, we can be highly emotional and in that state, our brains do not function all that well. So on top of taking your notepad, take a friend or a relative that perhaps was not as close to the deceased. This friend will help you ask questions, remember answers, and take notes so when you get back home you know what just happened.

Don’t be swayed by what other people may think

You know your person best, so you know best what they would have wanted at their funeral.

If they wanted simple, plain, no fuss, low cost – do that.

If they loved death metal and hated hymns – choose death metal songs for their ceremony.

And stick to a budget you feel comfortable with. You do not need to put yourself in debt because you are worried other people will think you are cheap for not having some American super casket coffin or six limos.

Being brutally honest:
“If someone is going to be sniffy about your funeral budget – they can pay. Oh, have they gone quiet now? Mmm! And if not – thank you very much for covering the costs.”

To show an ostentatious funeral there is an image of a black horse drawn hearse with four black horses and a funeral director standing in front of a large church.
Image from R. Banks Webpage

Ask questions

Normally, people do not plan funerals often so we don’t know the jargon, the steps, what we need to do.

Funeral Directors do plan funerals often, so ask them any question that comes to mind. They want you to feel confident and happy that your loved one is in good hands. And they want you to feel as calm and reassured as possible because they know that this moment in time is hard.

As Wendy says in our Interview with an FD, there is no daft question. And she would rather you asked something that was on your mind than lie awake fretting over a detail or idea that you were worried about mentioning.

To be blunt – the worrying about planning the funeral is what you are paying the Funeral Director to do.

And finally…

It is hard to do much when someone close to you dies, so if help is offered from trusted sources – take it.

Your funeral director can guide you in what is usual, but you make the choices about what sort of funeral ceremony you want to give (and can afford) to your loved one.

If you have any questions about Funeral Planning or Funeral Celebrants or Funeral Directors, do message me and I’ll do my best to answer. And maybe sometime soon, there’ll be another Interview with an FD.

Sarah x

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