Understanding the elements of a service


There are different aspects involved in a funeral service which can be combined and customised to create a memorable service that meets your family’s emotional and spiritual needs.

Funeral service

Usually presided over by a celebrant or member of a church, a funeral service is a formal gathering that can be held at a church, funeral home, or even your own residence, among other options. It’s entirely up to you and your family whether the funeral is religious, traditional, spiritual, modern, or simply a celebration of the life of your loved one.

Many experts agree that a funeral service is an important stage of the grieving process and provides us with much needed closure during such a challenging time. Our team members are always happy to work with you to tailor the funeral service so that it meets your emotional, cultural and spiritual needs. After all, no one knows your special relationship with your loved one better than you, which is why we endeavour to personalise the service to fulfil your specific wishes.

Just some options to choose from include:

  • Choice of funeral venue
  • Theme or specific dress code
  • Photo mural or video display to greet guests
  • Choice of music
  • Hand decorated coffin and more

Cremation or burial

A person’s decision to have either a cremation or burial comes down to several factors, including culture, religion and family traditions. For example, cremation is sometimes prohibited in certain religions, yet popular in other cultures such as the Hindu tradition.

While there are pros and cons for either option, it’s become increasingly popular to have a cremation over a burial in Australia. This is especially true for land-poor urban areas where available burial sites are running out.


Embalming is a chemical treatment carried out by a qualified professional. It involves disinfecting and preserving a body after death. Embalming is usually needed for the below reasons:

  • The deceased is being transferred interstate or overseas
  • There is a longer than normal wait between death and funeral service
  • To improve the appearance of the deceased before a viewing
  • The deceased has specified in their wishes they wish to have an above ground burial in a vault or crypt

For any questions on the embalming process, or any other mortuary practices, please ask your funeral director and they’ll be happy to explain.

Graveside services

A graveside service can be in addition to a funeral and offers families an important opportunity to say a final goodbye. You can choose to have them at a separate venue to the funeral, or they can be the sole service. If you’re wanting to honour your loved one with a graveside service, our team can suggest a few thoughtful ways to make the moment special, such as the release of butterflies or doves.

Witnessing services

For families who have requested a permanent memorial for their loved one, the witnessing service is a chance to say another farewell. It also gives friends and families who were unable to attend the funeral a chance to pay their respects. Speak to your funeral director about organising a witnessing service.

Scattering services

After a cremation, some families decide to honour the memory of their loved one by scattering the ashes at a location that has special significance to the deceased. This might be a place where your loved one spent many cherished memories, such as a beach, river, garden, or even a golf course.

Just remember, if you’re planning to scatter ashes in a public place then you’ll need to check if permission is required. Your Mareena Purslowe funeral director will be able to help organise this for you.

Look at the resource below for more information on what to know when it comes to scattering ashes.

Scattering Ashes – What you need to know (.pdf)

Memorial garden

Memorialisation can be very helpful when dealing with grief by providing a permanent place for you to visit and remember your loved one. There are a variety of memorial options available, to view memorialisation options, click here

Family gathering or wake

Our funeral directors can also help to organise a family gathering or a wake. We have extensive experience when it comes to putting together a special gathering where everyone feels welcome. This will also free up your time to be there for your family.