Tips for Planning a Beautiful Funeral Ceremony
Although many people view funerals and related ceremonies as an unpleasant experience, these rituals are an inherent part of what it means to be human. We all die, and honoring the deceased is one way we can make sense of this world. As you can imagine, humans mourn the lives of their loved ones in countless ways — with no one way more correct than another.
The need for some type of funeral service is a common thread connecting all of humanity. So, whether it’s by gifting flowers, listening to sermons, dancing it out, scattering ashes, or visiting a gravestone, such expressions of grief are not all that different from one another.
We’ve provided five tips to make your funeral an event that those left behind will cherish as they celebrate your life and legacy.
What is a Funeral Ceremony?
Every culture, religion, sect, country, and family has their own way of saying goodbye to their loved ones. A funeral ceremony, then, is a way for those left behind to close their loved one’s chapter on earth.
Not only is the global diversity of funeral ceremonies so profound, but they also change with the times. The ancient Egyptians, for example, embalmed their loved ones to prepare them for the afterlife. Today, the common practice in the U.S. is either a burial or cremation.
What matters is that whatever you choose honors both the departed and their loved ones in a way that is meaningful to them.
7 Common Types of Funeral Ceremonies and Services
Traditional Funeral Ceremony
A traditional funeral is still the most common type of ceremony held for the deceased in the U.S. today. It typically consists of three parts:
- The memorial service where the body is present
- The committal (or burial) held at the gravesite
- The reception which can often include food
Additionally, there may be a visitation or viewing before the funeral, which we discuss a bit more in-depth below.
A memorial service is similar to a traditional funeral, with the only difference being that the body is not present. The benefit of a memorial service is that you have time to plan the event since it is not contingent on the presence of you or your loved one’s body.
Thus, we call this a memorial service, as it has more to do with the memories of you or your loved one rather than a physical body.
Graveside or Committal Service
Sometimes, people prefer the funeral ceremony to take place solely at the gravesite. There’s no shuffling to and from the reception to the burial site. Instead, it’s held at one location, often making it a much shorter service.
Viewings, Wakes, and Visitations
Viewings, wakes, and visitations are all similar in that they happen before the official ceremony. Think of them as a ceremony before the ceremony. Wakes and visitations typically have the body present, whereas a visitation does not. Either way, these events are more informal and dedicated to the grieving process with close friends and family rather than a formal ceremony involving the departed.
Direct Cremation or Burial
These options are not considered formal ceremonies, in that the funeral home or crematorium will simply bury the remains. They are typically more affordable, and they allow the family to later plan for a memorial service if they so choose.
Celebration of Life
This type of ceremony is becoming more common in today’s society. Instead of focusing on mourning a loved one, people instead celebrate them with a party similar to an anniversary or birthday.
These events usually happen after the deceased has been buried, but in some cases, it can happen beforehand, if the person so chooses. This is often referred to as a “living funeral.”
A deeply personal event, the departed’s loved ones scatter their ashes in someplace special to that person. This can be the ocean, a forest, a river, or anywhere the deceased indicated would matter to them. It is often accompanied by a prayer, poem, or some other type of reading.
5 Tips for Planning a Funeral Ceremony People Will Cherish
Whichever type of event you choose to plan, it’s important that it strikes a good balance between your wishes and your loved ones’ wishes. After all, funerals are not just to honor the dead; they’re also to help the living grieve the dead.
1. Make Plans for Your Wishes
It’s your funeral — do what you want! Whether you’re very traditional or contemporary in your views, your opinion matters as to how your funeral will go. If you want your favorite upbeat music, then write it down in your planning documents. If you want a very traditional service, then write that down, too. What matters is that it’s what you want, but make sure your loved ones know your wishes.
2. Ensure Your Loved Ones’ Wishes are Respected
In addition to your own wishes, though, you also want to accommodate those of your family and friends. After all, you won’t actually be in attendance; it’s your loved ones who will be there.
Have an open dialogue with your loved ones about what you want, but also consider what they want to see. It can be a hard conversation to have. Here is a good resource to get you started on your end-of-life planning journey.
3. Determine How Much the Funeral Will Cost
Another very important part of funeral planning is calculating how much your ceremony will cost — and more importantly who will pay for it.
Our recommendation is that you plan and pay for your funeral in advance. Funeral prices are only going up, and by paying for it now, you can lock in a certain price and the funeral home of your choice. It will save your loved ones from having to spend money they might not have, and take the stress off arranging the event.
4. How Do You Want to Be Remembered?
This is the big question. How do you want people to remember your life after you’re gone? It’s a difficult question to ask yourself, let alone translate it into a ceremony.
Luckily, you have many available choices besides the actual ceremony to leave a legacy behind that honors you and helps your loved ones grieve your loss.
- An ethical will
- Preparing for communication and letters to send after death
- The aforementioned celebrations of life
- A living will
The options you have to leave a legacy are endless, and you can plan and store them with The Postage.
5. Write Everything Down
Finally, this is where the rubber meets the road. Making plans and talking about them is simply not enough. You must make concrete actions and ensure they get to the right people at the right time when you pass.
Much of this can be covered in your will, and there are many types of wills you can create, including an ethical will. It’s more of a “last words” type of document that can close everything out the way you intended, even though it isn’t legally binding.
Find Peace of Mind with The Postage
All of this and more can be accomplished with The Postage. With our online platform, we make it easy for you to plan your estate and create the funeral ceremony you’ve been wanting — and store it for life. Even more, you can leave a lasting legacy with our messaging software. Send memos and heartfelt messages to loved ones long after your passing.
With The Postage, your life is just getting started. To get started today, click below and begin your journey to a better life and afterlife.