A funeral is an occasion that gives friends and family members a chance to remember their loved ones and bid them farewell.
Today, one of the most important aspects of planning this event is deciding whether you want to work with a modern funeral home or a crematorium. While working with a funeral home is the traditional way to go about planning a funeral, some circumstances, like the last wishes of the deceased and financial strains, may make a crematorium the right choice.
In the US, the use of cremation may increase to 63.8% by 2025 and it’s expected that 69.4% of Americans may choose cremation over burial in 2030.
Despite how common cremation is, traditional funeral services from funeral homes are still a viable option, and they may offer services that you won’t normally get from crematoriums.
Funerals can be expensive, and planning them during mourning can be difficult, so it’s important to understand the differences between modern funeral homes and crematoriums before deciding which one to work with—this will help alleviate some of the stress and financial concerns.
Funeral homes will manage all arrangements for the funeral. Modern funeral homes will provide the following services:
- Provide a funeral director and staff for coordinating the funeral.
- Arrange for clergy and even write obituaries for the deceased.
- Arrange the memorial service if the family agrees to it.
- Offer guidance to family members on funeral finances, insurance claims, and social security.
- Arrange props for the funeral, as well as flowers, photography, music, and memorial items.
- Communicate with the cemetery to arrange a plot for burial.
- Arrange a casket for the burial.
Crematoriums forgo many of the services you’ll get from a traditional funeral home, mainly because they only provide services related to the cremation itself. Some of their services include:
- Offering an alternative vessel to contain the body. Traditionally, funeral homes offer caskets but crematoriums may offer a range of vessels to contain the ashes of the deceased, these can be inexpensive clay or plastic urns.
- Returning the ashes of the deceased to the family if requested.
- Offering to store the body until the day of the cremation.
It should be noted that funeral homes also offer cremation services but these are done via third-party using the services of a crematorium.
As far as costs are concerned, working directly with a crematorium will mean avoiding viewings, visitation, memorial services, arranging for flowers, embalming services, finding a cemetery plot, arranging a clergy, and setting up funeral props. This would make working with a crematorium a relatively cheaper option, given that the family does not wish for a traditional funeral procession.
Crematoriums, however, have a few additional costs that need to be considered, such as:
- The cost of completing the death certificate.
- Purchasing a combustible container for the body.
- Fees for witnessing the cremation.
Not all crematoriums allow friends and family to witness cremations but the few that do will charge an additional fee.
Funeral homes provide significantly more services than a crematorium. If a family chooses a full, traditional funeral with all the services included, the cost may be higher than when working with a crematorium.
Funeral homes offer customized services. This allows their clients to pick which services they want, allowing them to bring down costs to an affordable amount.
Losing a loved one is a very difficult experience and having to plan their funeral while grieving can be challenging for family members.
Funeral homes, as mentioned earlier, offer the services of a funeral director. These individuals don’t just coordinate the funeral services, they are trained to provide grief counseling for family members as well.
Crematoriums don’t usually offer funeral directors, though some states require crematoriums to have them. Most crematoriums are very to the point and only focus on matters related to the cremation of the deceased and returning the ashes.
Though some crematoriums may offer some services akin to grief counseling, this isn’t always very common and such services aren’t as specialized as what you’d see at a funeral home.
Modern funeral homes or crematoriums: which should you choose?
Choosing between working with a funeral home and a crematorium all comes down to the costs involved, the wishes of the deceased, and the decisions of the family members. Choose whichever option you feel would help you and your loved ones come to terms with your grief.