Planning a Funeral

17 Sep

Funeral Home Shot_fullThere are many facets to consider when planning a funeral and choosing between the many funeral homes available.  This article will cover the most important factors to help you along in the process during this difficult time.

Find a Funeral Home

Based on the desires of you and your deceased loved one you will need to find a funeral home that can be sensitive and personalized in helping you meet your needs.

Burial vs Cremation

If the body is going to be cremated you will need to choose an urn and decide if any memorial service or scattering of the ashes needs to take place to meet the last wishes of the deceased.

If the body is going to be buried you will need to determine whether it will be embalmed or not.  For bodies that are not embalmed there may be legal stipulations in your area that mandate it be buried sooner than an embalmed body.

You will need to decide on whether to have a metal or wood casket.  Also will you be choosing a cemetery plot, vault, or mausoleum?  You will need to decide if it’s going to be an open or closed casket ceremony.  If it is an open casket ceremony you will need to pick out which clothing or jewelry the deceased will be buried in.

Funeral Services

Will you be having calling services at the funeral home?  Some families decide to skip this altogether to allow for greater flexibility.

You need to decide whether you will be holding the funeral services before or after the burial or cremation.  Also you will need to decide whether you will be holding the funeral services at the funeral home, a church or religious establishment, at the gravesite, or some other place such as a private home.

Are there any special requirements of the deceased that need to be addressed in the service?  Are there special ceremonies that need to be performed such as military traditions carried out?  If so you will want to decide at what part of the service these special requirements are met.

During the service consider whether you want seating arrangements to be employed for various reasons, such as to help eliminate the stress of a large crowd being disoriented, or to break up uncomfortable interactions between estranged family members or friends.


Decide whether you want to publish an obituary or not.  Once you decide and if the decision is affirmative then you will want to make a choice between local, regional or Internet publications, or all of the above.

If you are publishing an obituary don’t forget to include vital statistics, membership associations, life landmark achievements, family and friends, and other hobbies and interests.


Decide if you will be having flowers or not.  If you will be, you want to decide if there will be casket spray, standing sprays, and/or specialty pieces such as hearts or crosses.

You may want to have a guest book table with picture albums set up at the memorial or funeral service.

If a eulogy is going to be delivered then plan on who will be giving this.  Also you will want to assign the pall bearers if the deceased is being buried, and ushers if there is going to be a seating arrangement.

Decide if you will be having a wake or special gathering.  If so then make arrangements for the food and location.

Above all else during this time your mind is likely to be heavy with grief so having a good funeral home, and close friends and family to help plan and carry out this process will allow the experience to be as stress free as possible.