When it comes to planning a funeral, you want to give the best send-off to the person you lost, express your respect for them, and grieve in a meaningful manner.
While it may not be the easiest task—especially when you’re going through an emotionally draining time—it’s necessary to consider all the possible options, the wishes of the family, and other requirements so you can plan a seamless event for your loved one.
Here are some of the main things you need to consider and include when planning a traditional funeral service.
Talk to the family
Whether you’re solely in charge of planning the funeral or coordinating it with a funeral director, a funeral is first and foremost a family matter.
While difficult, avoiding the topic instead of discussing it will only make it more challenging to plan, especially since each family member may have their own way of expressing grief and saying goodbye to the deceased.
A conversation with the rest of the family will not only make this painful time easier to bear, but also help you determine the best way to proceed with the ceremony and come up with a plan that will respect family wishes, honor the wishes of the deceased, as well as any religious and cultural requirements.
Plan your program
There are many ways to honor the dead—much of which will be decided by their personal philosophy or faith.
When it comes to allocating the budget, however, the family can choose simple arrangements—like a cremation with no ceremony, or more elaborate plans, such as a long wake before a funeral.
Make sure the program you choose is something meaningful to you, which may not necessarily translate to having the most elaborate ceremony. Of course, if you prefer to have a larger ceremony—including personalized funeral accessories and a life commemoration event—a funeral planning service will be able to help you put it all together.
Traditional funeral services don’t have to be extravagant ceremonies either. If you prefer to keep it simple and within a set budget, you can plan a meaningful service accordingly. All that matters is giving it the respect that is due and making it thoughtful for the closest family and friends of the deceased.
Here are some of the things that need to be considered when planning the program:
- Floral arrangements
- Speeches and eulogies
- The will of the deceased
- Getting a grave plot for a burial
- Printables for the memorial service
- Choosing between a casket or a coffin
- Buying an urn for the ashes and/or scattering ceremony
- Music, food, and refreshments if you plan on having a memorial service
Know your options
Traditional funeral services may include the typical services like embalming, open-casket wake, funeral ceremony, procession, and graveside service.
The funeral ceremony:
The purpose of the funeral ceremony is to pay tribute to the life of the deceased and say a final goodbye. This part of the funeral is held at a funeral home, church, or cemetery and may also include liturgy or religious passages being read, hymns being sung, and eulogies.
A wake or visitation allows people to share their sympathies and condolences with the family of the deceased. The body will also be present in an open or closed casket where people can go up to and usually say a short prayer.
After the service, there will be a vehicle procession—usually from the funeral home to either the cemetery or crematorium. In the case of a burial, the family and guests gather around the plot or mausoleum. During cremations, people gather in the cremation columbarium.
The memorial and life commemoration:
Many families decide to have a social gathering after the service. This is a chance for the family to thank guests for attending, as well as allowing everyone to share their memories and provide support for each other. This often also includes food, drinks, and music that commemorates the life of the loved one you lost.
If you want to go the traditional route, you can choose to include all these aspects. If you prefer an alternative, however, you can speak with your funeral home and funeral planner and opt only for the most relevant functions like the ceremony and the final rites.
Traditional funeral services can still be simple and heartfelt
While it may feel like tradition dictates funeral arrangements, planning the most meaningful service doesn’t need to tick all these boxes.
By speaking with an experienced and professional planner, you can balance both tradition and personal preferences so you can plan a respectful and heartfelt service.