Planning a loved one's funeral can feel like some bizarre and unreasonable test—requiring you to make a variety of important decisions during an incredibly difficult time. Don't worry; it's not a test, and so there are no wrong answers. Additionally, you can take time to think about any part of the funeral. Decisions must be made, but they don't need to be made on the spot. If possible, you should meet with your chosen funeral director with another family member or close friend, which can make the decision-making process easier. What are some of the main questions your funeral director is likely to ask?
Burial or Cremation
This is a big decision, and needn't be made immediately. If your loved one didn't leave any specific instructions, you might want to consult other family members. Cremation is generally less expensive than burial (and is the more common option). It traditionally takes place after the funeral service, but this certainly isn't mandatory. It may be more appropriate to have the cremation performed beforehand, with the ashes then on display in an urn during a memorial service. Cremation usually requires a plain casket, but if burial is decided upon, you may wish to opt for a more ornate casket. Again, this isn't mandatory, and there are many plain, eco-friendly burial caskets available.
Choosing a Date
Funeral services don't need to take place within a certain period after your loved one's passing. You may wish to delay the service in order to allow out-of-town family and friends to make travel arrangements. There's no right or wrong date unless the schedule is determined by your loved one's religion. Your loved one's remains can be appropriately stored for extended periods of time until the date arrives.
Choosing a Venue
Your loved one's religion plays a role in this particular decision, and whether they wanted a religious or secular service. A religious service will be held at a church, so the date and time may be determined by their availability. Your funeral director should be able to coordinate with the church to make these arrangements. A secular service can be held at the funeral home if there's no other venue of particular significance.
There are a considerable number of smaller decisions to be made as part of funeral planning, but once you've decided upon the major aspects of the funeral (burial or cremation, date, and venue), these other decisions won't seem quite so overwhelming. For more information, contact a funeral home near you.