These are the 7 things that make funerals so expensive

Coffin Spray

Funerals can be expensive, but when we think of honouring the person who died, remembering their life, and giving friends and family the opportunity to say farewell, it puts the cost into perspective. Your loved one has lived a life and that life should be celebrated.

Funerals generally cost between $5000 and $8000. Yet this can vary depending on the location, the funeral director and what’s included in the service. For example, a burial is more expensive than a cremation, especially if the family does not already have a burial plot.

It is possible to have what is known as an unattended cremation. This means there is no funeral service, as the body is taken direct from a mortuary to be cremated, without any family in attendance. Whilst this is the least expensive option, it misses the significant and important step of celebrating the life and giving family and friends an appropriate way to say their farewells.

What are the main elements of a funeral that affect the costs?

Care of the body.

It is a legal requirement for a licensed person to transport someone who has died. The deceased is transferred by our undertakers from where they died to our mortuary. At the mortuary the body is cared for by our mortician, ready for the funeral. If requested by the family, the body can be prepared for a viewing. When the time comes for the funeral, a hearse will carry the coffin from the mortuary to the church or chapel, then to the cemetery or crematorium.  

Coffin or casket.

There are a range of styles, materials and colours the family can choose from when it comes to coffins. From wicker caskets, sustainable cardboard and MDF to high quality timber, coffins start at around $500 but can well exceed $1000.

Legal documentation and professional fees.

There is a lot of paperwork involved, especially for a cremation. There are several forms that must be obtained from the medical staff who pronounced and confirmed the death, paperwork for the crematorium/cemeteries and the application for a death certificate from the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. All the arrangements, liaising between the crematorium, undertakers, florists, coffin maker, church minister or celebrant, and the families is all done by the funeral planner. At Living Hope Funerals, we also provide the design and printing of the orders of service and the creation of a photo slideshow.  

Church or chapel.

If the person who died had any church affiliation, the funeral service may be held at the church, presided over by the minister, priest or vicar. In many situations, there is either no charge or a minimal charge for this service. The use of a chapel at a memorial park will have a fee attached.   

Crematorium or cemetery.

This is one of the most expensive aspects of a funeral. Cemeteries are under increasing pressure from lack of space and the cost of a burial plot can be very expensive. The plot needs to be purchased or there may be an existing plot purchased previously by a family. The burial is known as an interment and is an added cost to the plot itself.

Cremations are less expensive. The family can have the ashes returned in an urn for scattering later, or there are several options for retaining the ashes or scattering the ashes in the memorial grounds.  


A colourful spray of flowers across a coffin, simple long-stemmed roses for laying on the coffin or casting into the grave, wreaths and other floral arrangements all add beauty and meaning to the funeral service. This is one of the elements that the individual personality of the person that died can be celebrated. Living Hope Funerals partners with several florists experienced in providing high quality, beautiful floral arrangements.


We like to call this a ‘celebration of life’. From simple gatherings with refreshments at the church or tea-rooms, to lovely grazing tables of food at a club or restaurant, the celebration of life is for sharing memories, stories, and a time to support each other. Families can arrange their own, or Living Hope Funerals has excellent caterers we work regularly with. Alternatively, we can organise the event at the location of your choice.  

All these elements vary in cost and contribute to the important decisions of how to best celebrate and say farewell to your loved one. The Living Hope Funeral team are experienced in arranging all these elements and will bring everything together into a meaningful and honouring funeral service. We can talk you through each aspect so you can make informed decisions. Nothing needs to be paid up front – we send an invoice about two weeks after the funeral.

Contact one of our experienced funeral planners today and we’ll provide you with a quote. You can also look at several examples of quotes on our web site under ‘pricing’.

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