How to Plan Your Funeral: A Complete Guide
Organizing your funeral before you pass is a great way to take the burden off of your loved ones. Here is the complete guide on how to plan your funeral.
Funerals facilitate forging forward. A 2020 meta-analysis analyzing 17 studies found that funeral practices can alleviate the mental health of attendees.
But the meta-analysis did not find that all funerals help. It found that funerals work best when attendees can shape rituals and say goodbye in meaningful ways. The greatest way to create a meaningful funeral is to plan your funeral.
What should you do to create a plan? What kinds of funeral services can you choose? What are some additional arrangements you need to make?
Answer these questions and you can create the most meaningful funeral possible. Here is your comprehensive guide.
Talk With Your Family
A funeral service is about honoring the person who passed away and comforting the family. It is very important that anyone who wants to start planning talk to their family before the process begins.
Many family members are nervous or apprehensive about funeral discussions. They may find it morbid, or they may not want to think about their family members passing away. Read a guide on how to discuss funeral plans before you start your conversations.
Talk to a few family members individually. Discuss a few specific topics like where the service should be conducted and who should run it.
Spend as much time listening as you do speaking. Affirming your family members will give them the confidence they need to finish the conversation.
Take notes on what your family wants. Try to fulfill as many of their desires as possible, but not at the expense of your desires.
Feel free to talk to important people outside the family. You can get advice on planning a funeral from clergy members and funeral homes.
Prepare Your Finances
The cost of a funeral service can total thousands of dollars. Cremation is cheaper than burial, sometimes half as cheap. But a family should still expect to spend some money on memorialization.
After you’ve had conversations with family members, you should speak to a financial advisor. Figure out how much you can afford to spend.
A burial or funeral insurance policy covers the cost of the funeral and headstone. Anyone can buy a plan whenever they want. You don’t have to get insurance, but you should look at packages to see if there is a good one for you.
Choose a Funeral Home
It is possible to plan and run a funeral service without a funeral home. But hiring a home will take the burden of the service from the family. A home can also handle tasks like creating a death certificate.
Do not rush choosing a funeral home. Spend time looking at different homes and comparing different packages for services.
Some homes cater to specific groups of people. You can find homes that offer services to particular religious denominations. Try to find one that caters to your culture and beliefs.
There are a few different types of funeral homes. In addition to a full-service home, you can find an independent funeral director. An independent director may cost less money and may offer more emotional support.
Choosing a funeral home does not mean that your funeral will happen at the home. The service can occur at a house, place of worship, or graveside. Consider your different options for locations.
Think About Types of Services
When people think of funerals, they often think of open caskets and sermons from preachers. But there are many kinds of services that a person can receive.
A traditional funeral in the United States involves several ceremonies. Visitation allows guests to view the deceased person’s remains and talk to family members.
The funeral service itself involves gathering together to hear eulogies and listen to readings. The committal ceremony is the actual burying process.
A religious funeral service may include prayers and religious songs as readings. A secular service can use poetry and quotes from famous people instead. Both religious and secular services can have visitations and committals.
Funerals for first responders can include honor guards. A parade of police officers or firefighters accompanies the hearse containing someone’s body. You will need to talk to a police department to arrange this.
A green burial involves burying a body without the use of embalming fluid or a coffin. If a body is cremated, the remains can be put in a biodegradable urn. A rock or tree can serve as a grave marker, minimizing the use of resources.
Graveside services are often components in larger funerals. But you can opt for a graveside service in lieu of a large-scale funeral.
Family members can gather at the gravesite, sitting in chairs. They can listen to readings and eulogies together before burial.
Many military funerals center around a graveside service. Military funerals have several unique ceremonies, including flag presentations.
Only a small group of people can gather around a grave. This makes a graveside service a good option for small families.
A funeral home can bury cremated remains in a grave. A person can also scatter remains in a scattering garden. Gardens allow for services that function identically to ones in cemeteries.
Memorial services occur after a person has been buried or cremated. The body or remains are not present. Family members and friends gather and remember the person who passed away.
A memorial service may not be substantially different from a funeral. Both can involve religious ceremonies, readings, and eulogies.
You can choose to have a funeral and a memorial service. A funeral can be limited to close family members while a memorial service can include friends and work associates. The service can be more informal, occurring at someone’s house instead of a church.
Celebrations of Life
A celebration of life is the most informal type of service. The service is joyous, recognizing your life in some way. The attendees can sing songs, tend to plants, and make art together.
Celebrations usually occur after a person has been buried or cremated. But a celebration can include a committal service or ash-scattering ceremony.
You can do whatever you want with your celebration. A family member can host the celebration at a venue you enjoyed. You can raise money for a cause you admired and family members can hand out keepsakes.
Plan a Reception
A reception is a post-funeral gathering for your funeral attendees. It gives people an opportunity to have conversations with each other and share a meal. It is informal, though attendees wear the formal clothes they wore at the funeral.
There is no requirement to have a reception. Yet it is a very good idea to have one. Many people feel tired after attending a funeral, and a reception gives them an opportunity to unwind.
Most families host a reception in the home of the deceased person. But you can ask for a reception to occur at a restaurant or someone else’s house. This is a good idea if your home would be too small or cluttered.
Try to request a caterer for the reception. This eliminates the burden of your family members having to cook meals for people. You can also ask guests to bring food or snacks.
Make Additional Arrangements
You have done most of the planning once you’ve picked a service type and figured out the reception. But there are some special arrangements that you may need to make.
You should figure out who your officiant will be. They will lead the funeral service and invite speakers to come up and speak. The head of the funeral home can act as one, but you can also choose one of your loved ones.
You can ask for certain prayers or readings at your funeral. If possible, try to find specific people who will perform the readings you want.
Put all of your desires into writing. You can write a formal will with your desires, or you can write an informal document that outlines your plans. But having a document with your wishes will make it easier to fulfill them.
Plan Your Funeral With Simple Steps
You can plan your funeral without exhausting yourself. Get ideas from your loved ones about what the service should be like. Talk to a financial advisor and find a funeral home.
You can have a funeral, but you can also opt for a memorial service or celebration of life. Funeral homes can treat cremated remains the same way they treat bodies.
Be specific about what you want, especially officiants and readings. Then write down your thoughts so people know what to do.
Turn to help whenever you need it. Lone Star Cremation offers Dallas cremation services. Contact us today.