HOME > RESOURCES > ARRANGING A FUNERAL Arranging a Funeral
A funeral represents a purposeful opportunity to reflect on a life that has been lived, and to honor the memory of that life for family and friends. There is no single proper funeral service. Funerals provide a time for human sharing in its deepest sense. You and your loved ones are at the very center of the process, and the choices you make will determine a funerals significance for you. By participating in the planning of the service, you will help create a meaningful experience for everyone.
Sound decisions are based on good information. We sincerely hope the information provided will satisfy certain questions, stimulate you to ask others, and enable you to make wise choices regarding funeral services.
No matter what your funeral preferences, your funeral director can help you with every aspect of the funeral process. Among other things, your funeral director can:
- Arrange the funeral plans
- Help notify friends and family
- Secure necessary permits and death certificates
- Take care of the body
- Coordinate all details with the clergy
- Help in the arranging for burial or cremation
- Notify your attorney if you need legal help
- Help secure any veterans burial allowance, social security or other benefits to which you may be entitled
- Follow up after the funeral, providing both practical help with unforeseen details and help in adjusting to your loss
- When a death occurs, call your funeral director immediately. Regardless of the day or time, funeral directors are always prepared to respond to your needs quickly and competently, and to guide you through the array of choices that need to be made.
If possible, try to make planning the funeral a joint effort with other family members or very close friends. Working together can sometimes lessen the burden and further enable the healing process. Many decisions listed below can be best made by several people, with consideration of the deceased's wishes.
Generally, a funeral gathering is held in a funeral home or a place of worship. A gathering with the body present is a funeral service. If the body is not present, the gathering is referred to as a memorial service. Whether you choose to bury, cremate or place the deceased in an aboveground vault, you may arrange either a memorial or funeral service. It is often customary to have a period of visitation or a reception at the funeral home. During this time the casket may be open or closed, according to the familys preferences. Some families opt to receive friends at their home or other location.
Your funeral director can guide you through the wide range of decisions that have to be made. Those decisions include choosing a casket, a vault and or an urn, the type of service and who will preside, and a method for people to express their sympathy, such as flowers or donations to the deceased's favorite charities. Family may opt for police escort for procession and funeral home's limousines as each of them can carry up to seven passengers at once.
Cremation is the process of reducing the body to bone fragments through the application of intense heat. This procedure usually takes from two to three hours and occurs in a special type of furnace known as a cremation chamber or retort. The remains are then processed into a finer substance and placed in a temporary container. Before the remains are returned to the family, they are usually transferred to an urn for permanent containment.
Many people believe that at the time of death, only two basic choices exist: immediate cremation of the body or a complete funeral, including viewing, followed by burial. In fact, several options are available for those who prefer cremation. Cremation and burial are both defined as methods of caring for the body, and are just one part of a funeral.
Just like burial, cremation can occur after a funeral where the casket is present at a place of worship or funeral chapel. Likewise, cremation can occur after a memorial service. The urn may be present for the memorial service, depending on the family's wishes.
As with burials, a cremation funeral may be preceded by a period of visitation or a reception at the funeral home or mortuary. During this time and before the service, the casket may be open or closed, according to the preferences of the survivors. Instead of a public visitation, some families opt to receive friends at their residence or other location, which is another matter of personal choice. After cremation, a public or private service may be arranged for the final placement of the cremated remains.
Generally, the cremation process itself costs less than burial or entombment. However, a more accurate comparison must include the services chosen to be a part of the total funeral. Your Selected Independent Funeral Homes director can offer current information on cremation costs and will, at the time of arrangement, provide a complete listing of charges for the services you select.
Selected Independent Funeral Homes members pride themselves in their commitment to helping people create meaningful, personal ceremonies. It is important that you discuss your preferences and allow your funeral director to offer alternatives and suggestions that are most appropriate for you and your family.