There are many ways to make arrangements for the deceased. From full-service funerals to direct cremation, they run the gamut of costs and time investment. Here are five of the most common ways to bury and remember a loved one.
“Traditional” Full-service Funeral
This is the most extensive type of funeral service, and the most expensive. Many families opt for this. By presenting the body in a restored, peaceful manner with a full service, it is a beautiful way to allow the family and community to pay their last respects to the deceased.
This funeral arrangement contains an extensive list of services, all provided by the funeral home. The family rents the funeral home and a funeral director and his staff are employed. Pre-funeral services include storing and embalming the body, as well as any other necessities for an open casket display.
Oftentimes, the family purchases the casket through the funeral home as well. Caskets can be very costly, and the display for the funeral service usually includes cloths, flowers, and other decorative items. For a large service, microphones and a sound system may be necessary.
The family will pay transportation fees to both the funeral home and the gravesite where the body will be buried. Additionally, the family will pay for the grave and pay the workers who lower the body, fill and grave and erect the headstone. The headstone is another cost, as is any personalized engravings.
All of these services ring up a hefty price, especially for a large service, though families may be able to lower costs by asking for donations. The price is worth it, for those who can afford it or are determined to provide the most respectful, beautiful service they can for their loved one.
This service is simultaneously the easiest and the hardest part of any funeral. This is a way for the community of friends and loved ones to join in a celebration of the deceased person’s life.
There are several options available for this part of the funeral service. A memorial can take place before or after the body is buried or cremated. The body may be present, or not. Pictures, slideshows of their life or videos are often shown. There might be a presentation, in which one or several family members might speak, or close friends share funny stories. If there is no set schedule, there might be room for any visitor to take the podium and share a memorable moment. In this way, love and strength unite in the face of loss to help the grieving.
Sometimes, a memorial service is conducted in conjunction with a visitation period. During this time, the body is on display for anyone to visit and pay their respects to. This is an option for families wishing to maintain a closed-casket funeral, but who respect the wishes of friends and other loved ones that may desire a chance for closure.
The memorial may be conducted informally at a friend or loved ones home, and only open to those who were very close to the deceased. However, when a beloved community member dies, there will be a strong outpouring of grief. For anyone with many friends or family members, it is important to create an accessible memorial service.
This can be done at the church of the deceased, or at the funeral home. In either case, the arrangements must be made with the officiant of the memorial service, the church or home rented out, and all the necessary transportation and decorative arrangements conducted, if the body is to be present.
Although it can be expensive, the memorial service does not need to break the bank. Rather, it should be an outlet for grief, an act of remembrance and love and a way to unite diverse peoples around their loss of a friend.
The graveside service can act as its own funeral service, or as one of several services in the funeral procession. The family may want the officiant and other speakers to say their speeches at the graveside, before lowering the casket into the ground. In this case, the graveside service is typically the only service held that day. This is slightly cheaper than a full service, as it negates the need for a rented room and many of the decorations.
A graveside service may also be after a separate service, in which people remember the deceased and pay their respects to the body. This can be a way for those present to assist in the burial of the body or as a final goodbye to the deceased.
If the graveside service is before the funeral service, chances are the body will remain at the gravesite throughout the funeral service. Friends and acquaintances may pay their respects and make final goodbyes before entering the funeral home for a memorial service.
Whatever option is chosen, remember that many people prefer to see where the body is lowered, and pay final respects to the body of the person they loved.
The option of a direct burial takes away the costly expenses of renting out a funeral home for a memorial service and the need for post-mortem cosmetic care. With direct burial, there is no funeral service and the body is buried shortly after death.
The expenses still involved include transportation to the funeral home and typically a fee for storing the body, but these costs are much lower than a full service. If a graveside service is desired, there might be a fee for this as well.
One of the simplest, quickest options, the direct burial will be reasonably affordable, and will not prolong the pain of waiting for a loved one to be buried and the death to feel finalized.
A direct cremation option removes the need for body embalming, the decision whether to keep the casket open for viewing, etc. The body is transported directly to a crematorium for cremation. The family must sign a certification authorizing this procedure. The remains will be returned to the family in an urn or alternative container.
If costs are the biggest concern, then the best option is to go through a Crematory Office. Going through a funeral home can run expenses much higher. Although alternative containers may be expensive, the saved land space, casket and headstone still make a direct cremation the most affordable option.
Any of these options are acceptable means of arranging for a loved one’s final home. Keep them in mind as you plan for a funeral.
Updated: March 28, 2014