When someone you love dies, knowing what to do or how to feel can be hard. You may not have experienced the death of a loved one before and may not know how to handle the situation. The following are some tips for planning a funeral or memorial service:
Prepare the Body
When you lose someone close, you may be surprised by the many details that need to be taken care of. According to the NFDA (National Funeral Directors Association), the median cost of a funeral that includes viewing and burial is USD 7,848, and the median cost of a funeral that includes viewing and cremation is USD 6,970.
The first thing is preparing the body for viewing and burial or cremation. You can do this on your own or with the help of a funeral home and/or a mortician.
Preparing the body can include:
- Cleaning it up so it looks presentable for visitors who will want to see their loved ones one last time before burial or cremation.
- Making sure there aren’t any signs of injury on them caused by medical devices such as IVs/tubes used during treatment while they were sick.
Make the Funeral Home Arrangements
When you are ready to make the funeral home arrangements, have a list of funeral homes in your area that you can call. According to Statista, there were 19,000 funeral homes in the U.S. in 2023.
You can also ask friends and family if they know of any good ones. Call the funeral home and ask about their services, policies, and costs. Make sure that you feel comfortable with them before signing anything.
Take Care of Clothing, Jewelry, and Footwear
Once you have accepted that your loved one has passed, it is time to take care of them. They must be dressed appropriately for the weather and the religious ceremony they will attend. If you are unsure exactly what clothing or jewelry they should wear, ask a family member or close friend to help you decide.
In addition to dressing the body in clothing that is appropriate for their environment and religion (if applicable), it’s also important to make sure they’re wearing footwear. If there is no footwear present, try talking with other family members about purchasing some shoes before attending their funeral service.
Write an Obituary or Eulogy
An obituary is a short biographical article that gives the details of a person’s life, such as their birth and death dates, important positions they’ve held, and notable achievements in their career or personal life. It also includes where they are buried or cremated.
A eulogy is a speech meant to honor someone who has died. Eulogies can be written by any speaker but are often given by the deceased’s family members or close friends.
In the case of a private service, the funeral director will select pallbearers to carry the casket. The funeral director will ask you to choose them for public service. It is best to enlist help from those who knew your loved one well and were close to him or her. The number of pallbearers should be no more than eight. There’s usually one for each side of the casket.
Order a Casket Spray or Flowers
If you’d like to have flowers at the service, it’s best to order a casket spray. A casket spray is an arrangement of flowers or plants that are placed on the coffin.
The flower arrangements can be made of fresh flowers or dried ones and can also be arranged in many different ways, depending on your style preferences.
If you do choose to have real flowers in your arrangement, you must research what type of flowers will be available during the time of year when your loved one passed away. This will ensure that their final send-off will be a beautiful representation of their life.
Select a Headstone
There are many options for headstones. You can select a headstone made of granite, stone, or marble, but it is also possible to choose one made of metal or plastic. The most common materials used for funerary markers are granite and marble, the latter being less expensive than the former but more prone to discoloration over time.
According to CNN, granite prices for headstones rose 4% in January 2023 and then another 8% in midyear. It rose 8% again at the start of 2023.
Some headstones include family crests or other symbols, such as angels or crosses, that may be meaningful for you. But remember that your choice will be permanent. Once you make your decision, it won’t change until you rebuild or replace your loved one’s grave marker.
If you want something unique and personal but aren’t sure where to start looking or how much they’ll cost, ask for additional information from headstone makers about which styles they offer and what they cost so that you can get an idea before going shopping yourself.
Send Out Invitations to Family and Friends
When you have lost a loved one, it is important to let family and friends know. You can do this by sending out invitations to the funeral service. This will allow them to pay their respects at the service in person and also help them plan their schedules around the date of the funeral.
You should also include a condolence note explaining how they can help you during this difficult time. This might include helping with arrangements or attending events such as wakes or funerals. If there is anything else you need from them, now is the time to ask because it’s likely that they are going through similar emotions as well.
It’s also important to make sure everyone knows where and when the funeral will take place so those who cannot attend can still pay their respects from afar by sending flowers or making donations online.
Plan the Music for the Funeral
You may want to ask for help from friends or family members in choosing which music to play at the service. You can choose any kind of music that would be appropriate for your loved one. Music can be chosen by the deceased, the funeral director, family members, or a combination of all three.
In conclusion, funeral planning is a very personal and emotional process. We hope that our article has given you some insight into what to expect when someone dies and how to plan their funeral.