Valuable Funeral Planning Tips Everyone Needs to Know
Most of us will need to plan a funeral or memorial service for a family member at some point in our lives.
There are many decisions to be made during this difficult time, but understanding what is involved can be an enormous help. Whether you need to make funeral arrangements for a loved one or are considering a pre-planned funeral for yourself, here is some important information that everyone should know.
Start with the basics.
The three general elements of a funeral include the preparation of the body, the funeral service, and interment. Within each of these components, a number of decisions must be made, such as burial vs. cremation; service at the funeral home, church, or graveside; who should be in attendance; whether or not there will be a viewing; and many others. Your decisions will be shaped by your life experiences, your relationship to the departed, what he or she wanted, what you can afford, and several other factors. Many funeral planning resources are available online to help you understand the decisions that will be required.
Establish a realistic budget.
Shopping for a funeral should be like making any major purchase—determine what you can afford before you begin your search. Together with your family members, discuss a budget and decide on an amount that you’re able to spend without undue hardship. Did your loved one express any specific wishes regarding his or her arrangements? For example, is a traditional funeral service with burial favored, or would cremation with a memorial service be more fitting? Considering questions like these will help guide you in setting your budget and in the funeral planning. And be sure to determine if your loved one already has a pre-arranged funeral plan in place. If so, that document will provide direction for the selection of the funeral home.
Meet with the funeral director.
Also called an arrangement conference, this first meeting would typically take place in person or over the phone. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, however, these arrangements are currently being made remotely by phone, or Zoom. This discussion represents an opportunity for you to ask questions and learn more about the services offered. The funeral director you speak with should be friendly, courteous, well-informed, and compassionate. Among the primary things to take into consideration are:
- Your level of comfort: Do you feel like the funeral director understands the type of service you want and is committed to achieving your vision?
- Goods and services: Does the funeral home offer the goods and/or services you’re interested in purchasing?
- Pricing: Are the goods and services offered within your budget?
- Amenities: Does the funeral provider have the type of accommodations you need, such as accessibility for the disabled and the elderly, a private area for family to gather, etc.? Are the facilities clean and attractive?
- Religious and cultural considerations: Does the funeral director understand your religious or cultural needs?
Consider ways to personalize the service.
A personalized funeral or memorial service reflects the unique life and personality of the departed. Today, many families prefer to create an event that is focused on remembering the deceased as he or she was in life. As you plan for your goodbye, take time to imagine ways that you can capture the special qualities of your loved one while providing a memorable, meaningful opportunity for mourners to express their grief and comfort one another. Some things you might wish to consider include your choice for the officiant, the readings and who will deliver them, musical selections that were favorites of the departed, special repast food selections, and personal memorialization options, such as photo displays and videos. Your funeral director can assist you in identifying these special touches to create a deeply personal, moving ceremony.
The funeral or memorial service offers a remarkable opportunity for those left behind.
You don’t have to spend excessively to have a beautiful ceremony. The most important thing is that you honor the departed’s memory in a way that is loving and meaningful for your family and friends.
Planning a funeral isn’t an easy task, especially when you are grieving. If you need to make arrangements for a loved one or wish to pre-plan arrangements for yourself, our caring professionals are here to assist you. Please reach out to us anytime.
About Vaughn Greene Funeral Services: For more than 20 years, Vaughn Greene Funeral Services has been providing a ministry of care to Baltimore’s African American community. As a leading local, minority- and family-owned provider, we promise to provide our highest level of service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved ones. For more information, please call us at 410.655.0015 or visit us online at https://vaughncgreene.com/.