What Kind of Funeral Do You Want?
Every family is different, and not everyone wants the same type of funeral.
Funeral practices are influenced by religious and cultural traditions, costs and
personal preferences. These factors help determine whether the funeral will be
elaborate or simple, public or private, religious or secular, and where it will
be held. They also influence whether the body will be present at the funeral, if
there will be a viewing or visitation, and if so, whether the casket will be
open or closed, and whether the remains will be buried or cremated.
Among the choices you'll need to make are whether you want one of these basic
types of funerals, or something in between.
"Traditional," full-service funeral
This type of funeral, often referred to by funeral providers as a "traditional"
funeral, usually includes a viewing or visitation and formal funeral service,
use of a hearse to transport the body to the funeral site and cemetery, and
burial, entombment or cremation of the remains.
It is generally the most expensive type of funeral. In addition to the funeral
home's basic services fee, costs often include embalming and dressing the body;
rental of the funeral home for the viewing or service; and use of vehicles to
transport the family if they don't use their own. The costs of a casket,
cemetery plot or crypt and other funeral goods and services also must be
The body is buried shortly after death, usually in a simple container. No
viewing or visitation is involved, so no embalming is necessary. A memorial
service may be held at the graveside or later. Direct burial usually costs less
than the "traditional," full-service funeral. Costs include the funeral home's
basic services fee, as well as transportation and care of the body, the purchase
of a casket or burial container and a cemetery plot or crypt. If the family
chooses to be at the cemetery for the burial, the funeral home often charges an
additional fee for a graveside service.
The body is cremated shortly after death, without embalming. The cremated
remains are placed in an urn or other container. No viewing or visitation is
involved, although a memorial service may be held, with or without the cremated
remains present. The remains can be kept in the home, buried or placed in a
crypt or niche in a cemetery, or buried or scattered in a favorite spot. Direct
cremation usually costs less than the "traditional," full-service funeral. Costs
include the funeral home's basic services fee, as well as transportation and
care of the body. A crematory fee is included. There also will be a charge for
an urn or other container. The cost of a cemetery plot or crypt is included only
if the remains are buried or entombed.
Funeral providers who offer direct cremations also must offer to provide an
alternative container that can be used in place of a casket.