Funeral planning doesn’t necessarily mean you’re holding a funeral.
Each end-of-life event is different, with elements you can choose to do, or not. Your family traditions, religion, and individual beliefs will help guide your choices. Here’s a quick outline of choices:
- Funeral: A service held within a week of death with the body present, followed by burial, entombment or cremation. Viewing the body is an option.
- Memorial Service: A service held without the body present, or with cremated remains, within a flexible time schedule – often within a week of death, but sometimes weeks or months later.
- Visitation: One or more opportunities for community, relatives, and friends to visit the bereaved family, usually held at the funeral home prior to a funeral. Visitations may include viewing of the body, if that is the family’s tradition, and Catholics may incorporate a rosary service as part of a visitation.
- Burial/Entombment: If the funeral is held anywhere other than graveside, a procession of funeral attendees will follow the body to a cemetery. A separate ceremony is held to commit the body to its final resting place.
- Reception: After the ceremony, the family may host or friends may help provide food for a post-funeral or memorial service gathering.
Within these end-of-life event elements, there is a wide range of options that influence costs, the meaningfulness of the ceremony, and how well the family starts to process their grief.