Funeral Tips

When it comes to Funeral, we've been there, done that, now serving 104 tips in 24 categories ranging from Alternative Disposition to What Happens First.

How can I personalize a funeral or viewing?

Creating a Memorial Display

A personal memorial display can be a comforting and uplifting addition to any viewing or funeral. A memorial display will provide friends and relatives with a glimpse of the loved one in a unique way.

The memorial display will require several long, buffet-type tables (round can be used as well) to display personal articles of the loved one. Set the tables up so they can be viewed as guests wait in line for the viewing or enter for a funeral. Here is a list of items that may be displayed. Be creative and lay them out in a pleasing way:

- Personal belongings of the loved one such as favorite shorts, books, sports attire, homemade items, etc.
- Favorites of the loved one such as posters of their favorite movie, favorite snacks or food, decorations for their favorite place to travel, favorite quotes, etc.

Memorial displays provide a personal closeness to the loved one and lift the heart at a time of sorrow.


Types of Funeral Caskets

Many different types of funeral caskets are used in today’s society. The most important thing to know when purchasing a funeral casket is that you are not required to purchase it from the funeral home that is handling the burial. The law states that you have the right to purchase the casket from anywhere that you wish and that the funeral home must make reasonable accommodations to use it.

Traditional Caskets

An image of a traditional casket is probably what comes to your mind when you think of funeral caskets. They are commonly made of finished wood or metal and are lined with padded satin. These can range from a simple design with plain handles up to ones finished with precious metals. The primary purpose of these caskets is to preserve the remains.

Cremation Caskets

Designed to carry the body into the cremation chamber, these caskets are much less elaborate. Funeral caskets designed for cremation are made of natural materials ranging from cardboard to simple pine boxes to materials such as bamboo.

Green Caskets

Green funeral caskets are designed to biodegrade, the direct opposite of a traditional one. The materials used are similar to those used in cremation caskets, plain wood, cardboard or a simple shroud.

Themed Caskets

Imagination is the only limit for themed caskets. They have been made in the shape of cars, boats, and animals among other things.


Memorial Service

A memorial service differs from a funeral service in that the body is not present. Because of this, the service does not have the tight time constraints that a funeral does. It can be held at a time when more members of the family can be in attendance.

There is no set ceremony for a memorial service, they are generally less formal affairs than a traditional funeral service. Often clergy will be present and at the head of the ceremony. Customs vary but eulogies and speaches about the departed person are common. There is often a reception with food afterwards where everyone is encouraged to mingle and share their memories.


Traditional Funeral

A tradtitional funeral is the most common type of service in the United States. In a traditional funeral the body is picked up by a funeral home and prepared for burial by professionals at the funeral home. A funeral director will be in charge of leading the family through the process of setting up the arrangements.

There is usually a set time for visitations. The family is present and accepts visitors. The body is present in the casket and it may be open or closed.

A funeral service is held at either the funeral home or church followed buy burial in a cemetery.


Burial Vaults

A burial vault is a concrete box that is placed into the grave before the casket. It is used to protect the casket and to prevent the ground from sinking due to the decaying of the casket.

It has become common for most cemeteries to require the use of a vault. This keeps the grounds from becoming uneven and difficult to walk on. It also helps the headstones to stay upright and makes maintenance of the grounds easier.

Natural burial grounds do not require the use of a vault.


What Happens During Cremation

Cremation is simply the burning of human remains. This method of disposing of the dead has been used for many, many years but various cultures.

After the funeral service the body is delivered to a crematorium. This is a place that specializes in and is liscensed to do cremations.

In some places the body is required to be in a simple casket such as one of wood or cardboard. Other places do not require any form of casket.

The body is moved into the furnace chamber and the burning process begins. Only one body is allowed in a chamber at once. It takes anywhere from 2 to 3 hours for the process to be completed. Some crematoriums allow family members to be present.

What are commonly refered to as ashes are made up of ash and crushed bones. Some bones do not burn completely and they are put through a crushing mechanism before delivery to the family.

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Patricia Walters-Fischer