Did you know that less than 40% of adults in the United States have written down or spoken to loved ones about their funeral arrangements?
Although each person’s day will inevitably come, planning for a funeral can be a difficult task, especially when it falls on loved ones.
If someone in your family has recently passed and you want to honor them with a beautiful funeral, there are a few things to do.
Continue reading to discover each step of funeral planning that will help guide you during a time of grieving.
One of the first steps in funeral planning is to get organized and identify what takes priority.
Picking out ceremony flowers is important, however, there are larger issues to tackle first. For example, preparing the body, holding the ceremony, and deciding on burial or cremation should take priority. Start writing a checklist with these items, you can then add other tasks for the finer details.
At this point, you’ll want to gather some basic information about the person who passed. The funeral planning company you use will inform you of the documents, info, and fees that are necessary. If your loved one had any requests, you should also take note of them.
Keeping all of the funeral planning information in one place can also keep you organized. When documents and orders get scattered, it can be challenging to figure out what is left to do.
Contact Their Legal Representative
After a person dies, they still have rights to a legal representative.
If your loved one had plans, their representative would be aware of them and can guide family members. The legal rep is responsible for determining your final resting place and how the funeral ceremony should go.
When people don’t have plans for their funerals, the planning is based on the next-of-kin’s decisions. The closest family member or the spouse of the deceased will become responsible for making the arrangements.
Determine the Final Resting Place
Unless the legal rep has provided you with directions on the ceremony, you must decide on their final resting place.
Burials and cremation are the most common traditions in the United States. Some people base this decision on religion, however, both ways are acceptable. While you decide, you should also consider if the body will be on display at the funeral home.
If you want a physical place to connect with the deceased, burials are often recommended. You’ll need to contact the burial site to ensure there is an available spot.
Cremation is quickly becoming the preferred option in the US. More than 55% of people that died in 2020 were cremated. Although there isn’t a physical spot to connect with the deceased, they can always be close to loved ones by sharing ashes and meaningful objects.
Many people, especially Millenials, are planning for something with positive effects. Certain organizations can use the ashes from cremation and help grow new plants and trees. This is a wonderful option to consider for people that connect with the planet and appreciate its beauty.
Search for a Funeral Home
Depending on the type of service you want to provide, you will need to find a local funeral home that will accommodate the plans.
It’s common for people to hold the funeral ceremony in the hometown of the deceased. Depending on if they moved away, you might have to decide which is more appropriate: their new or old home.
You can talk to family members and recall conversations to figure out which place will honor them the best. It also helps to consider where most of the family and friends of the deceased live.
Below are a few other factors to consider when finding a home.
Whether you want to compare the cremation cost or burial cost, there are other fees to consider.
Holding the ceremony at a large venue or church can cost more money in the long run, especially if services get billed separately. Most churches have packages that you can purchase, they will follow a burial or cremation path and include all that’s necessary. Buying a casket, burial site, and cremation options should be easy to identify from the start.
Before going with the cheapest packages to save money, ensure that all of the desired services will be included. You can show your list of priorities and requests to the funeral home teams to ensure they can accommodate your plans.
Select Your Funeral Date
Since no one can control or anticipate when someone will pass, it can be difficult to prepare ahead of time.
Selecting the funeral date or having a few possible days written down can help you decide on a venue. Instead of talking to a venue for hours only to discover they are booked the entire week, request your dates from the start.
Most venues have multiple viewing rooms and sections. This allows more than one funeral ceremony to go on at a time, preventing people from having to go somewhere else.
Try to look for the best venue that can host the viewing and ceremony at the appropriate time. This is a particularly important factor if the deceased will be on display.
Plan the Service
It helps to build an agenda for the day of the service so that everything flows.
The funeral directors will do most of the work for you, but there will be personal decisions to make. Take time to think about the atmosphere of the funeral ceremony. If the person who passed wanted others to smile, try to bring an uplifting mood to the building.
With music, flowers, and photographs, you can transform the space and help others connect. Funerals help people grieve, but crying isn’t the only answer. When loved ones can gather and have a chance to tell stories, smile, and listen to music, it can honor the deceased.
If you are following a religious or spiritual ceremony, you can refer to common traditions.
Flowers aren’t required at a funeral, but many people get them to brighten up the room and show love.
You can order your loved one’s favorite flowers or get their favorite colors. Some people use white flowers and roses to represent peace, innocence, and compassion. If you are a spouse or child, red and pink are used to show connection and love.
Most people order flowers or bring a plant to the service. These plants can get displayed in the viewing and go home with the immediate family. If you need help transporting flowers, you’ll have to request services from the florist.
Florists often have experience preparing flower orders for funerals. If you find a florist near the funeral home, they can also help set up the arrangements for the best appearance.
Consider Food & Drinks
Depending on the length of the ceremony and viewing, you might want to get food and drinks for the guests.
Telling stories, crying, and laughing can all make people need a glass of water. You can get other beverages, like lemonade or coffee and pop as well. Easy-to-eat and prepare foods are best for funerals. The food and drinks must stay out of the viewing room, however.
Some cultures use funerals as a chance to celebrate life and honor the deceased in an uplifting way. If you want to have a more intimate gathering with dinner and beverages, you might want to consider planning a get-together at someone’s home.
If you are planning a burial funeral, you will need to arrange transportation.
Most funeral homes will provide this service for you, especially if they are nearby the cemetery. Funeral homes typically have several hearses and if it’s part of your package, they will transport the body to the gravesite.
Typically, the hearse leads the line when traveling from the funeral home or viewing location to the cemetery.
Funeral Planning with Ease
Funeral planning is difficult on a good day, but when you are grieving it can quickly become overwhelming.
Following these funeral planning tips can help you tackle the most important things first. You can honor your loved one’s wishes and produce a beautiful ceremony. With the help of funeral home directors, you can trust that the day will go smoothly and on schedule.
Don’t be afraid to discuss their funeral arrangements with other close family members. Each person can add love and thoughtfulness to the ceremony that others can appreciate.
If you want to learn more about the funeral planning process, check out our blog for more information!