Planning a funeral for a loved one is one of life’s rituals that almost all of us will encounter at some point in our lives. You may feel deep sadness as you plan this funeral but creating a meaningful tribute for someone who meant so much to your own life can help put you on the path to healing.
As you consider the various aspects of a funeral for a burial or cremation, there are several elements that you will need to select in order to create a touching tribute for your loved one. Here we have outlined some of the choices you will make as you move through the planning process.
Learn more about the choices that are part of a meaningful funeral by clicking on the tabs above.
The casket typically becomes the visual and emotional focal point of the funeral service, and just as important, serves as the final resting place for your loved one. The casket you choose can be more than just a burial vessel – it can become a touching reminder of all that made your loved one special. When selecting a casket, the first decision is typically the casket material – wood or metal.
Burial vaults enclose the casket when it is placed at the gravesite and are designed to prevent the weight of soil and heavy equipment from damaging the casket. Burial vaults are available in a variety of materials including metal, concrete and composite materials. Your local funeral professional can help you select the correct vault for your needs.
Traditionally, families have chosen to bury their loved ones in a cemetery or place the casket in an above-ground structure called a mausoleum. Often families choose a nearby cemetery because it allows them to visit the gravesite as often as they like. This helps them continue to feel close to the person who died, while still acknowledging the death. If you haven’t already purchased a cemetery plot or mausoleum space, your funeral director can help you make a purchase appropriate for your needs.
Also called headstones, grave markers are used in cemeteries to memorialize and identify the gravesite of the person who has died. You may want to personalize the grave marker by including a poem, a drawing or a short phrase that defines the person who died. Monuments and grave markers are available in a variety of materials, including natural stone, concrete and bronze. Styles can range from very simple to ornate, as single markers or companion monuments.
The casket or container is the resting place that gives dignity to your loved one. Cremation caskets are made of wood and available in a wide variety of styles that are suitable for services with a visitation, viewing or gathering held prior to the cremation. Cremation containers are made from both composite and solid wood components and are fully combustible. These are most appropriate when a private viewing has been scheduled.
The urn or personalized memorial will become the final resting place for your loved one and it typically complements the final placement.
Urn vaults enclose the urn when it is placed at the gravesite and are designed to prevent the weight of soil and heavy equipment from damaging the urn and for environmental protection.
Keepsake urns are smaller versions of full-size urns and are manufactured to hold a small portion of cremated remains, a lock of hair or ceremonial flowers. Keepsake urns allow you to share your loved one’s cremated remains with family and close friends.
Designed to hold a small portion of cremated remains, a lock of hair, flower petals, or earth from the gravesite, keepsake jewelry is a unique and elegant way to hold a loved one close with a fashionable and lasting remembrance. Available in men’s and women’s styles, consider selecting a matching piece for family members or friends to share a special and lasting bond.
When someone we love dies, we often feel the need to share their story and the story of our loss with family, friends and our extended communities. Memorializing loved ones through interactive webpages that house online video tributes and collect guestbook entries from family and friends is a service that many funeral homes offer.
A video tribute is a unique way to personalize a memorial service – giving you and your family the opportunity to pause and reflect on the life of the person you knew and loved. These touching montages can consist of music, photos, memorabilia, or newspaper articles that take viewers through the life of the person who has died.
Your video tribute can be played during the funeral service, during a visitation, or at any other time you and your funeral service professional decide upon. Many funeral homes can also post your video tribute to their website so that others can view it at any time. Tributes can also be made into DVDs or saved electronically for your family to keep. Your funeral home may offer this service or can recommend a local vendor who specializes in this area.
Friends and relatives often share memories, stories, photos and condolences in guest books, both at the funeral and on the funeral home’s website. At the funeral, invite people to write down a memory of the person who died. Ask children if they would like to write a letter or draw a picture for the person. Many funeral homes offer keepsake book publishing services that collect and document these important memories.
Batesville’s Living Memorial® Program is a unique and special way to honor the memory of a loved one. When you select a Batesville® burial product or cremation product, arrangements are made for a tree seedling to be planted as a living tribute–at no additional cost to you.
Seedlings are planted in national forests in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, The Canadian Forestry Association, The Grand River Conservation Foundation, and other international organizations to re-establish woodlands destroyed by forest fires, blight and other natural disasters. You will receive a special letter that verifies a tree has been planted where the need is greatest.
This guide will walk you through the information you will need and the decision you will need to make. Complete this prior to the arrangement conference or as part of your pre-need planning and share it with your funeral director.
Where your loved one will be laid to rest is an important decision. Whether you choose burial or cremation, you can use elements of ceremony to honor the life of your loved one and to allow you and your family to say goodbye in a meaningful way.
|Final Resting Place||Description|
|Cemetery||Land specifically designated as a burial ground|
|Mausoleum||Above-ground entombment, usually in the form of a building|
|Niche||Enclosed space designed to hold a container of crematedremains – most often located in a mausoleum, cemetery or church|
|Home||A commemorative urn or other container of cremated remains displayed in a place of honor in the home or garden|
|Scattering||Cremated remains returned to the Earth (scattering over a favorite spot, such as a garden, lake or private property)|
You can choose from a variety of funeral service types and formats. Just as grief has many dimensions and is experienced in different ways by different people, funerals are also unique. A funeral should simply be fitting for the person who died and the family and friends who survive him. This is an opportunity to be creative and to share an honest expression of your most heartfelt values. There are no rigid rules that need to be followed, but there are guidelines that can help you if you are unsure how you might proceed.
This compassionate, friendly workbook affirms the importance of the personalized funeral ritual and helps families create a ceremony that will be both healing and meaningful for years to come. Designed to complement the role of the clergy, celebrant and funeral director in the funeral planning process, A Guide for Families walks readers through the many decisions they will make at the time of a death.