How to Plan a Funeral Service From Start to Finish
Simplify the process of organizing your loved one’s funeral with this complete guide on how to plan a funeral service from start to finish.
When a loved one passes away, planning a funeral service might be the last thing on your mind. You’re managing grief, handling any hospital or care expenses, and doing whatever it takes to keep the rest of the family together and supported.
The funeral isn’t going to plan itself though, so you need to know how to get started. You might have help from a funeral planner or the funeral home itself, but there’s more to plan than what happens at the official service.
We’re here to help you learn how to plan a funeral service that will give peace to your family and best honor your deceased loved one.
Keep reading for your funeral service checklist.
Determine Your Budget
The monetary cost of death can seem excessive. There are a lot of things to pay for in a short time. It’s reasonable to set your budget ahead of time to figure out what your options are.
Funeral services that are held in funeral homes can be expensive but they’re the most traditional option. If you have the finances to support it, this kind of service is going to be the most comfortable choice for most families.
There’s also the cost of disposition, a coffin or urn (or both if you’re doing a viewing), and costs associated with the wake if you’re going to do one.
Budgeting ahead of time will help you and the funeral planner work together to find the best option.
Choose the Manner of Disposition
The manner of disposition is how the deceased’s body is going to be handled. Different people have different preferences that are based on personal choice or cultural significance.
A traditional burial is going to be the most expensive option while donating the body to science is going to be the most affordable. Many people have been opting for cremation due to the cost and the ability to keep the loved one “with them” after they pass.
Whatever you choose, you’re going to have to make arrangements for the body before the service can happen.
Determine If You Want a Viewing
Traditionally, funeral services often include a viewing. This means that the deceased is going to be present for the service and family members can walk up to say their last goodbyes.
The deceased is going to be wearing funeral makeup and they’ll be dressed in their Sunday best to make the viewing as pleasant as possible.
Not everyone is comfortable with viewings so be sure to ask around before you make your choice.
Research and Choose a Location
Not all funerals are held in places of worship or funeral homes. You can hold a funeral anywhere you like as long as you have permission to be on that property.
In nice weather, some people opt for outdoor funerals while others choose to have the funeral in a place that was special to the deceased.
You’re going to want to do some research before making your final decision. Different funeral homes have different kinds of payment options and funeral types. They offer different kinds of planning and some may have preferences or restrictions that relate to your cultural practices.
Pick the option that’s right for you so that you can start planning the smaller parts of the process.
Make Your Surface-Level Decisions
Think of the funeral as a celebration of life. While it doesn’t seem like a party, the planning of a funeral and the planning of a wedding isn’t dissimilar.
You’re going to need to find an officiant to lead the service. You’re also going to have to choose your eulogist(s), pallbearers, and any readers or singers that you want to have at the funeral.
You should decide how you want the funeral to be decorated.
Do you want to have a guest book or a memory board? Do you want to keep important items of the deceased around to honor their memory? Do you want a small guest list with immediate family and friends or is the funeral open to anyone who was close to the deceased?
Flowers are often gifted by people who come to the funeral but if you want a cohesive look you need to plan for those as well.
There’s also the issue of food. If your service is going to provide food or drinks, how are you getting them?
Plan the Wake
The wake takes place before the funeral though some choose to have it after as the socializing and mealtime post-service.
Wakes can be held anywhere but they’re traditionally held in the home of the deceased or the home of one of their family members.
Unlike the funeral service, the wake is usually planned without the help of a planner. Wakes often have potluck meals and they’re a good way to support the closest loved ones while they’re grieving.
The wake is a time to socialize, speak casually about the deceased, and come together as a family or community.
With social media, invitations are easier than ever, but you may want to send traditional invitations if you have the time.
This is where your guest list comes in. Sometimes people opt to allow more people in the wake and to keep the funeral itself small.
This is also the time to determine if you want people to bring flowers or something else. Flowers are the traditional option, but you may want to choose something else that would honor the deceased, like donations to their favorite charity or program.
Make Your Payment
You often have to pay ahead for funeral services. Some places offer payment plans or the ability to use insurance to cover some of the costs.
If someone is planning their own funeral ahead of time they can pay in advance to take some of the financial burdens off of the family.
Do You Know How to Plan a Funeral Service?
No one knows how to plan a funeral service before they do it for the first time, and when that first time is so overwhelming it can seem impossible.
Planning a funeral doesn’t have to be difficult. Request the help of your friends and family and choose a provider that can help support you during this difficult time.
To learn more about some of your options after a death in the family, or to arrange a cremation for you or a loved one, visit our site.