Behind-The-Scenes: Planning a Funeral

Dear Readers:
I am not sure how many of you out in the event world have ever had to plan a funeral for a family member or a friend. I hope you never do. Recently, with the passing of my mentor and friend, Joan Rivers, we had to design and plan our very first funeral ever. This was not easy for a number of reasons.
As you likely know, most of the events we plan are weddings and celebrations.  Though we have sent flowers to funerals, we have never actually planned one, and to do it in three days had us all working in overdrive. In times like these, I feel very blessed to have the most amazing and committed staff there is.  My planner, Kathy Romero, her assistant planner, Sam Hayden, and every single other person in my company did not sleep for over 48 hours.  We had to manage a number of logistics and last-minute invitations to hundreds of family members, friends and celebrities.  But the most challenging thing was the floral design. I wanted it to be every bit of what Joan would have loved and my head floral designer,  Sanaw Ledrod, along with my floral department truly outdid themselves.
Joan loved flowers. With this in mind, we decided to line the entire altar of the temple with phalaenopsis white orchids, her favorite flower. We created a blanket of orchids climbing steps symbolizing her ascent into heaven.
The purpose for my “Behind-The-Scenes” blog today is to thank my staff for being there for me.  Speaking candidly, the impact of the passing of this amazing woman who I will always refer to as my angel was a strong one and  I was not always mentally present. You all took over and did an amazing job. Thank you.  I would also like to thank the staff at Alpine Creative Group for working so hard to get the programs done in under 24-hours.If there is one thing I have learned this week it is to take the time to tell people how you feel while they are alive.  I will close this blog by saying I love you all very much and I feel grateful to have all of you in my life.
For all of you in the event world: Have you ever had to be involved with a funeral for a friend or loved one?  I wondered if you might share your experience with us if you feel OK doing so?