How to Plan a Funeral

Could there be anything more difficult than preparing for a funeral? It doesn't matter if you are a close family member, a colleague, a neighbor or a family friend, preparing for a funeral takes time and forethought. If you are preparing to attend a funeral or memorial service, the following tips and suggestions can definitely help you prepare for the ceremony. Of course, if you have any questions about preparing for a funeral, you should call us. We will be happy to serve you in any way possible.

Organizing a funeral

There are many decisions that need to be made at such a difficult time. We recommend that you discuss with other members of your family and take their views into consideration. Together you can reach an agreement and make the choices that best suit everyone's needs.

If you are ready to start planning a funeral, we provide you with a list of steps to plan a funeral down below.

  • Organize your budget
  • Choose the people you want to attend the ceremony
  • Create a guest list
  • Reserve a date and time for the event
  • Select floral arrangements
  • Write down your last wishes
  • Choose your outfit for the service
  • Take care of your, or even your guests’, transportation to the place of the ceremony
  • Select food and beverages for the post-service reception

To learn more about our funeral services, please browse through the other sections of our website. Each of these sections will provide you with further information about our services. Together we will work by your side to plan a burial, cremation, memorial service and / or reception that pays tribute to your loved one.

How to get prepared for a funeral?

What does "getting prepared" really mean?


"All things are ready, if our mind be so." - William Shakespeare.

Preparing our mind means strengthening it for what's ahead: for all the people, the landscapes, the sounds and the strong emotions of the day.

In other words, preparing to attend a funeral is not just a matter of choosing the right clothes to wear, it is also necessary to prepare yourself physically, mentally and emotionally for the occasion. After all, you will be there to support the grieving family, as well as the others who are there, and this requires psychological and emotional strength. Never underestimate the importance of your presence there for all attendees.

To make it easier for you to find the information you need, we have grouped these details into two categories: Dressing for the Occasion and Getting Physically, Spiritually and Psychologically Prepared.


Dressing for the Occasion

What is expected of us when we attend a funeral nowadays is very different from the expectations of those who lived in the Victorian era. According to Alison Petch, an Oxford University researcher, "Back then, black clothes were appropriate for the funeral and moreover, they continued to be worn by close relatives for a whole year after the death. Over time, they were gradually replaced by other dark colors".

The Roman and Victorian demands became less strict as we moved into the twentieth century. "People who attended a funeral wore semi-formal clothes, which for adult men usually meant a suit and tie in dark colors."

Undoubtedly, these strict clothing requirements have been greatly reduced. Although many websites claim that black is the right color to wear to a funeral nowadays, wearing a color other than black is not considered disrespectful. However, it is best to avoid using brightly colored or wildly patterned fabrics. Concerning the women or girls, a modest look is preferred.

If you have any further questions on what to wear to a funeral, please let us know.

Getting Physically, Spiritually and Psychologically Prepared

The death of a loved one is one of the most stressful experiences we will ever endure. The first days of mourning are a time of tense nerves, people are emotionally charged and hours for a restful sleep are hard to find. These difficult days are then followed by the funeral (where, although your grief has devastated you, you must behave and act decently). How can you survive? or better yet benefit, during such trials? Here are some suggestions, that we believe will be useful for you:

Maintain a state of "mindful awareness"

We get angry when something bad happens to us, such as the death of a loved one and we often disconnect from our physical, emotional and social self. We try to "get numb, and stay that way" - but this attempt to separate ourselves from what is happening is not always in our best interest. Instead, you should seek to be "mindful": to maintain your consciousness in the present moment (not in the past, and certainly not in the future), while at the same time acknowledging and accepting your feelings, thoughts and bodily reactions due to your loss. Only then can you accept the things that cannot be changed, have the courage to change the things that can (and should) change, and the wisdom to distinguish one from the other. Surely, you can't change the fact that your loved one has died, but you can change (at least at some level) the way you react to the loss - and that requires a certain sense of self-awareness.

Do what you can to stay physically healthy

The list of physical symptoms of grief is long: fatigue, loss or change of appetite, body aches and pains, shortness of breath, digestive problems, heaviness and tightness in the throat or chest. When faced with an attack of physical symptoms like these, it is difficult to know exactly how to deal with them. The first step is to identify what your body is experiencing. Only then can you do something to change the way you react to loss. During the days before the funeral:

  • Stay hydrated: Drink eight glasses of water a day.
  • Eat regularly: small meals and snacks are often better accepted by the body than large, calorie-laden meals.
  • Rest regularly: you may experience endless and sleepless nights, so don't be negative about taking short naps throughout the day.
  • Move your body: take a walk or hike, go to the gym or enjoy a relaxing swim.
  • Cultivate your senses: listen to music or sounds that abound in nature.
  • Participate in prayer or meditation: deepen or get reacquainted with your spiritual side.
  • Reduce your list of necessary activities and tasks: now is the time to pass on the chores to others, so that you can devote your time to self-care.

Get in touch with your closest network

Your neighbors, friends and family may be your salvation now - and some of them may even visit you to see how they can help. Don't turn them away. Instead, give them the opportunity to provide you the gift of service. Let them walk this path with you for as long as and in any way they can. The same goes for the professional network that deals with psychological issues and especially grief: don't forget to contact your clergy, family doctor or psychologist if you feel that your grief is more than you can handle (now, or at any time in the future).

Be prepared to talk less and listen more.

The end-of-life ceremonies (whether it's a traditional, a political funeral or a memorial service) give people the opportunity to share their feelings, tell stories and gain strength from one another. Don't spend too much time talking to others unless you are going to share something really important (about the deceased and your relationship with him or her), instead be willing to listen with all your heart. It is a time for respectful interactions with other mourners, a time when we focus on the life of the deceased, but also a period of renewal of the bonds that brought you all together in the first place.

Let us help you with your preparations.

Who better to turn to for help in preparing for the funeral? At Gesios Funeral Home we have the experience and ideas that could make this situation easier for you and those you love. If you have any questions about preparing for a funeral - either as a family member or as a guest - we are here to support you in any way possible. We are here for you, just call us or visit one of our offices in Thessaloniki.