Arranging a Funeral

The first step in the process is the arrangement conference.  You may choose to spend time with other family members before scheduling the conference.  Unless you require a shorter timeline for your own reasons, this process does not need to happen immediately.

The Arrangement Conference

At the arrangement conference one of our caring, professional staff will walk you through your available options.  Not all decisions need to be made immediately; however it will help if your family has discussed the wishes of your loved one and how they might have liked to be laid to rest.  If your loved one had a will or other instructions, it can be very helpful to locate these instructions prior to this conference.  During this conference we will also gather the information we require in order to register the death with Births, Deaths and Marriages, report to Centrelink, and apply for Death Certificates.

Some of your options are listed below:

One of the first decisions to be made is the choice between burial and cremation.  When making this decision it is helpful to consider the wishes of your loved one, especially with regard to any religious or personal beliefs.  Generally this decision will need to be made before you can plan for a service.

If burial is chosen, the cemetery location and license type needs to be decided.

  • Do they already have a burial plot reserved?
  • Was it their intention to be buried with their partner?  If so, in a double plot, or an extra depth plot?
  • Cemetery section such as lawn, general, garden, and such

If cremation has been chosen you may wish to consider where you would like this to take place.  The Riverland has it's own crematorium situated in Berri, however if for family reasons you wish it to be in the city we can perform a service and cremation at locations such as Enfield Memorial Park or Centennial Park.

You should also consider whether your loved ones remains will be:

  • Interred in a memorial wall or monument at a cemetery
  • Interred in a memorial garden
  • Secured in an Urn to remain with family
  • Secured in multiple smaller Urns to be shared among family members
  • Scattered at a location of significance to the deceased

Traditional Funeral Services

The Service is held in either one of our Chapels or a place of religion, such as a Church. This is then typically followed by either an attended or non-attended service at the Cemetery/Crematorium.

A Celebration of Life Service

This style of Funeral is becoming more popular as families choose to reflect the personality of the deceased and include more ‘celebratory’ aspects. This type of Service is often held at one of our Chapels or a community venue.

Memorial Service

Typically a Memorial Service is held when the deceased’s body is not present.

Graveside Services

This type of Service is held entirely at the Cemetery, generally beside the grave.

Direct Disposition

This is a non-commemorative funeral where the deceased is cremated, buried or donated to medical science without any formal service.

Once the decision has been made between burial and cremation it will be easier to determine the location of the funeral service.  Some things to consider include:

  • Proximity to your loved one's final resting place
  • Does your loved one have a place of special significance to them?
  • Is a religious service required?  If so, you may want to consider an appropriate church / synagogue / mosque.  If not, you may want to consider a Riverland Funerals chapel at either Berri or Renmark

For those families who wish to spend time with the deceased prior to the service this can be arranged.  Generally this will either take place just prior to the service or the day beforehand.

Some families find that this can help them in coming to terms with their loss, and can be very beneficial to their grieving process.

If you intend to have a funeral at a church or chapel, and a graveside service, 4-6 bearers will be required to carry your loved one's coffin to the hearse, and from the hearse to the grave.  This is often done by close friends and family.  We do not need to know who the bearers are until shortly before the funeral, however it is usually a good idea to work this out as far in advance as possible. 

If you prefer, or have difficulty arranging bearers we can arrange for our staff to assist with bearing the coffin.

Alternatively if you are having a service at only one location (church, chapel or graveside) then bearers are optional as we can arrange for the coffin to be in place before the service.

A range of coffins and caskets are available at Riverland Funerals.  You may wish to select something in a particular style which would have appealed to your loved one.  There are also many options available for contemporary or customized coffins, so please feel free to discuss this openly with our staff. 

As a family you may want to make an official announcement of the passing of your loved one. This will advise friends and family of the time and place of the funeral.  Some common options for funeral notices are:

  • The Murray Pioneer
  • The Advertiser
  • The Loxton News
  • The River News
  • The Border Times

Should you choose to make an announcement in one of the above, Riverland Funerals will also provide a complimentary announcement on our website and Facebook page.

If you like, a local florist can provide a floral arrangement to be placed on the coffin.  This can either be arranged by our staff, or you can arrange it directly with the florist.

Many services also include floral tributes which can be placed on the coffin by attendees at the funeral as they say their own personal goodbye at the conclusion of the service.

We will discuss these options in greater detail with you at the arrangements conference.

Is there any specific clothing, jewellery or personal effects that you want to include in the coffin?   Some things to consider may include their favorite clothes, wedding rings, watches, family photographs or other sentimental items they would never be without.

A common choice at funeral services is to display a photo presentation in tribute to the life of the deceased.  This offers the opportunity for those attending the service to reflect on the life of the deceased and recall wonderful memories of their life.

We can produce a DVD photo presentation complete with your choice of background music.  All we require is a selection of numbered photographs and your choice of music.  If you only have physical photographs available, that's okay we can arrange the scanning of those too.

Memorial cards and bookmarks have become a popular keepsake which you may consider offering to the friends and family who attend the funeral.  These are small cards or laminated bookmarks, which generally contain a photograph and personalised text as a tribute to the deceased.

We can discuss your options for memorial cards at the arrangements conference and Riverland Funerals can handle the design and printing of the desired number of cards at a very affordable price.

On the day of the funeral you may be overwhelmed with emotion and not have a chance to speak with all attendees.  A memorial book provides the opportunity to record the names of those who attend.  It can also be customised to include personal details and photographs of your loved one.

We have a range of memorial books available which you can view at the arrangement conference.

If the deceased was a member of the armed services you may want to consider recognising their service appropriately. This may include a formal tribute by RSL personnel, including a flag draped coffin, the last post, reveille, the ode of remembrance, and placing of red poppies or a less formal recognition by the celebrant.

Other organisations or clubs may wish to participate in the funeral with the permission of family, for example a guard of honour or other appropriate tribute.

As part of our service we a required to inform Centrelink or the Department of Veteran's Affairs of the passing of your loved one if they are in receipt of benefits.  We require the pension number (Centrelink CRN) or DVA number for these purposes.

As part of our service, after we have registered the death, we can order you an official Births, Deaths & Marriages death certificate.   This document will generally be required in order to execute some of the legal functions relating to your loved one's affairs.

In South Australia, a death cannot be registered until after the funeral service has been conducted.  You will generally receive this document within 4 weeks after the funeral.

Should you order a death certificate we will provide three complimentary certified copies.

At the conclusion of the arrangement conference you will be provided with an estimate of the final account.

We will not be able to begin preparing for the funeral until you have signed an authority form which gives us permission to proceed.

Our standard payment terms are six weeks from date of death.  If the account is paid by this time the administration fee is waived.  

Failure to pay on time may result in interest charges of 1.5% per month.