Funeral Invitations – Top Tips: Invite Guests (without the stress)
Let’s face it organising a funeral can be a challenge, without a doubt many people even find this to be one of the most daunting things to do.
looking at the facts: A beloved is gone, organising a funeral is not like organising your own farewell party and on top of this you likely don’t know all of the guests that your departed did.
So, one of the first things to consider is who to advise about a beloved’s passing and also how to find them, so here are some handy tips to help you with Funeral Invitations or get started with this process:
1. Make a list of who to invite/advise?
Keeping this in mind, the best thing to do is to start somewhere and often you will find that things fall into place naturally, for some people this will come easily while others will be more difficult this is normal.
(note: diagram examples of some common social circles)
- A good way to start is by talking to available family or friends to help discuss and write down any names of guests who come to mind. Often this will be a list of family, relatives, close friends and neighbours that people are familiar with.
- Using the diagram as a guide, it is possible to see other groups of friends that may also need to be considered. There may be good friends who are separated by distance or time who would also like to attend given notice – these can include older school or college friends as well as work mates or even business associates such as suppliers and customers. (if the beloved was the owner of a business) There may be other clues available such as contact on visible social media groups e.g. Facebook or linkedin etc. where you can see relationship or friendship connections of the departed which can help you with your invitation list.
- Outside of this group depending on how active the beloved is there may also be sporting, social or interest groups that the departed belonged to.
These friends may also be keen to attend and commemorate or celebrate the life of your departed, often simply contacting a single person from these groups is enough to get the word out about an upcoming funeral. (refer Top Tip below in Section 3)
2. Getting the right message across:
You may be surprised to know that communicating a message successfully is not always a simple task, a recipient needs to be ready and in the “right frame of mind” to receive a complete message with clarity.
Ideally you want to convey a clear message regarding the Funeral details including Ceremony, Burial or Reception details etc.
keep in mind however that due to the nature of the call (and surprise) guests may have trouble absorbing all details at once. Indeed you may need to repeat particular points shortly afterwards due to distractions.
Before discussing these details, it’s often good to ensure that the recipient is seated or in a relaxed state. Some guests may become shocked during the conversation or attempt to derail the message by asking all of the details surrounding the departed’s passing, meanwhile completely forgetting to focus on the message that is being given by the organizer.
Some real-life examples of miscommunication problems include:
- Calling recipients while they are driving or not able to write down details communicated verbally
- Guests arriving at the wrong Church or other location due to unclear information about the venue.
- Guests being stuck outside cemetery gates not knowing what time or place to attend
It is good idea to pre-empt the invitation problems by preparing in advance:
- Have your list of contacts ready. (with any contact details that are known)
- Prepare your message and understand that the information that is provided may need to be repeated several times.
- Consider sending a follow-up text or SMS message which details events, times and addresses clearly.
Funeral Invite Top Tip:
Make sure the recipient is able to focus on your message? If not ask if there is a better time to call back or alternatively try again later. You can focus on calling other guests in between.
Ending the call. A great way to see if your message was successful is to ask the recipient to tell you when and where the events will be? This also provides a chance to correct any wrong information along the way.
3. How many people will attend a service or related activities:
It’s worthwhile recognising that as an organiser, your role is to let others in the departed’s “community” know about the passing of a loved one. Whether these individuals are available to attend (or not) is outside of an organiser or anyone else’s control. An individual’s inability to attend should not be in any way be taken as a slight against a departed. As a general rule most guests will attend unless their personal situation dictates otherwise.
Of importance however is the fact that many of the invited parties may also communicate this information to others that were known friends or acquaintances of the departed about an upcoming funeral.
Due to these factors it is can be common for the number of guests to exceed the actual number of direct invitations expressed.
Depending on cultural circumstances this may be either acceptable or unacceptable, however it is generally accepted as the norm that a number of unknown guests (to the organizer) will attend and may participate in some (or all) of the planned activities of the day.
Funeral Invite Top Tip:
A great way to get around this problem – is to empower guests or helpers by simply advising the following points. “Guests who invite or become aware of additional numbers attending the day, should get in touch (with Organiser) regarding numbers”
4. Organising Suppliers & Costs:
This can also add to the stress of preparation as often the Funeral Home or Reception Venue assisting will be looking for a guide regarding numbers.
Having an idea will help in order to prepare appropriately for the upcoming funeral and related activities. (note the points below to ease stress and better prepare)
In many instances Suppliers will understand that guest numbers will be difficult to measure until prior to the actual day.
You may find that some suppliers take additional steps to cater to these adjustment to the best of their abilities. Examples include – additional order of service pamphlets for a mass or having extra reserve for catering for extra guests.
Be aware that factors such as extra numbers will influence overall costs for your chosen suppliers. This may result in higher costs being passed on to the family or organizer responsible.
Funeral Invite Top Tip:
Any updates regarding guest numbers should be communicated immediately. This allows suppliers to accommodate the changes and provide the best possible service on the day.
Remember that your suppliers have your event’s best interests at heart, and will assist in the best way possible.
Any additional information you have is valuable in creating a positive experience for the guests on behalf of the departed.
5. Generally preparation time is limited, so work smarter not harder – save time & reduce stress by using smart tools!
We live in the digital era and with many seniors familiar with Skype and FaceTime, the fact is these days most people have a smart phone at their fingertips. So why not use our site Your departed?
The site was created with a first-hand understanding of the issues facing a funeral organiser, and has several built in “easy-to-use tools” to address these problems.
The best thing is – its free (incl. complimentary funeral page!)
Your Departed Funeral Invitation and RSVP tool:
On the website simply start by clicking on Organise a funeral and follow the prompts provided. Use the funeral planner to easily find or get connected with suppliers that you will need for the funeral day.
Maps – simply input the relevant event locations and times.
Invites – select from a choice of pre-scripted invitations or create your own.
Contacts – input mobile numbers or email addresses or alternatively post the invitations using social media directly from the site all at the same time with no extra cost added.
Benefits of using a Your Departed Funeral Page:
A funeral page sets out clear information and lets everyone know 24/7 where and when the funeral takes place. (our pages even include interactive maps)
Invited guests can respond using the inbuilt RSVP system which helps Organisers to understand guests’ numbers in advance. (new in the Funeral industry)
Registered suppliers also have direct access via a linked dashboard. Helping keep up to date with registration numbers to ensure the most optimal outcome.
Check out the sample below to get an idea of what guests will see and how the can interact with your invite.
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