When a family member passes away, it is inevitable that you may feel overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done.
Along with the sadness and grief that comes with the situation, dealing with the preparations for a family funeral and cremation service is going to bring added stress and may be more challenging than you’d expect.
We’ve compiled some of the most important steps you need to take when preparing for a funeral and cremation service so that you can pass on the burden of the preparations to the funeral home seamlessly.
1. Decide on a funeral home
The first step when organizing a family funeral and cremation service is deciding on a funeral home.
You should speak to a professional in the industry to clarify any doubts or concerns you have and ensure that the funeral home of your choice can support all your requirements.
Once you have decided on an option, you can arrange for the transportation of the body from the place of death to the funeral home.
2. Decide on the casket option
For a family funeral and cremation service, you will need to purchase a casket that is combustible—the only requirement is that it cannot have any metal parts.
While this container can be a traditional casket, it doesn’t have to be, as caskets are often on the pricier side.
You can opt to get a simple box constructed out of cardboard, plywood, composite wood materials, or pouches made of plastic or cardboard. These are often called “alternative containers”.
Many funeral homes even offer rental caskets, so you can keep the body in a rental casket, if you would like to host a viewing, and then move it into an alternative container for the cremation.
3. Pick the cremation option
The decision to have a cremation service is often a very personal one, with a number of different reasons going into why people choose cremation.
This can reflect on the type of cremation and family funeral service you decide to opt for.
Traditional cremation services
This service is very similar to traditional funeral services, with the obvious difference being that the body is cremated and not buried.
The ashes of the deceased are placed in a cremation casket, and the casket is selected by the family and made to be the focal point of the service.
A service often includes a visitation or viewing before the actual burial or cremation where attendants express their sympathy to the family.
The key difference between visitation and viewing is that a viewing service would have the body displayed, while a visitation service would not.
As such, while a viewing service will usually end with a burial, a visitation service will end with a cremation.
Once the body has been cremated, the remains are returned to the family, and they can decide on whether to scatter, bury, or keep the remains in an urn.
This option is viable for those who would like to follow a more traditional funeral proceeding.
This service involves a simple cremation. It requires the completion of all the required paperwork, the preparation of the body by the funeral home, and the transportation of the deceased to the crematory.
One of the reasons why cremation has been growing in popularity over recent years is because it allows families a good degree of flexibility when planning a funeral service.
As the cremation process can begin as soon as the required paperwork is completed, families can take their time planning a meaningful memorial service in a more orderly manner.
This can be followed by a number of funeral services, including:
A memorial service
These services can take place in any setting preferred by the family, with the urn or container usually on display at the service.
This service is designed to honor the life of the deceased and for attendants to pay their respects.
This ceremony involves releasing the ashes of a loved one.
This can be preceded by a short ceremony done with readings or a eulogy, or can be as simple as gathering together to scatter the ashes and share memories of the deceased.
Celebration of life service
You can also opt to have a celebration of life ceremony, which is similar to a memorial service, but is more about celebrating the life of the deceased.
This offers a lot more room for creativity, especially if you take the time to plan it in a way that is unique to the deceased and their memory.
4. Make the service personal
Making the service unique to the deceased is important to properly commemorate their life and the memories you have shared.
Get friends and family to contribute by gathering photos, or even writing down stories that they would like to share. They can also help with selecting music, prayers, or other readings for the proceedings that would honor the deceased.
These can then be played, recited, or read at whichever service you choose to have.
Choose the right cremation and family funeral service for you
While some would rather wait to plan a funeral service, others prefer to honor their loved ones as soon as possible—cremation allows enough flexibility for both.
But, as with all funeral and cremation services, it is important that you organize one that is in line with what the deceased would have wanted, which is made easier with the support of a professional funeral home.