Determining How You Want to Honor Your Loved One
One of the biggest decisions you need to make is how you want to handle your loved one.
Whether you choose burial or cremation, this doesn’t limit the variety of ways
you can honor your loved one's life in the celebration you create. Here are
a few things to consider when determining which way you want to go.
Traditionally, a burial service involves a visitation, followed by a funeral service in a church, memorial chapel, or other place of worship. It can also include a shorter graveside service at the cemetery where the casket is laid to rest. However, there are other variations on this. You can decide on burial followed by a reception in a more relaxed setting, even in your family home.
The casket is typically present in traditional services; however it is up you if you want to have it present, and if you do, you can decide whether you want to have the casket open or closed throughout visitation and memorial services.
Types of Burial Options
There are also several options for burial of the casket. You can have the casket interred (earth burial), or it can be entombed in a crypt inside a mausoleum (above ground burial). Or in some cases, you can have it buried at sea.
Family or religious traditions are often a factor for choosing burial. You will need to decide if you want the body embalmed, which kind of casket will house the body, and whether the cemetery requires a vault or grave liner. You'll also need to select the cemetery and a plot where your loved one will be buried, and a headstone for the grave. You'll need to select pallbearers that carry the casket during the ceremony.
There is no ‘hard and fast’ formula for honoring your loved one when burial has been selected. We can help you to create the perfect way your friends and family can gather together to memorialize the deceased before interment in the cemetery of your choice.
If you choose cremation for your loved one, there are endless possibilities on how you can honor your loved one's life with a visitation or by creating a funeral or memorial service where you can celebrate the life of this individual who was so important in your life.
We can work with you to choose how you want to celebrate your loved one's life and how you want to handle the ashes. You may want to spread the ashes as part of your service, bury the urn at the cemetery, or retain the urn as a keepsake.
You can determine what type of celebration you want to create. You can select a more traditional service, using your own clergy, minister, priest or rabbi, or you may want to create a more contemporary service, where a close relative or friend leads the service.
In addition, we also offer celebrant services where one of our staff will work with you to create and lead a service that's tailored to your loved one. It can include the types of readings that resonate with you and bring healing to you and your family.
Click here to see what we offer for celebrant services.
You may also want to have a visitation prior to the funeral. A visitation is when the body is laid out in the casket (which may be open or closed) before the service so that mourners may come to pay their respects.
Just as important, the visitation can be a time for mourners to meet and console each other in a more informal setting than at the funeral. You can schedule a visitation for as little as half an hour on the day of the service, or it can last for several days before the service. The visitation can be restricted to just close friends and family, or be open to the public. You can even have a combination of private and public hours.
As part of the visitation, you can arrange a formal ceremony, an informal ceremony, or none at all. The formal ceremony might be a brief service with the saying of the rosary (for Catholics) or prayers for the dead led by a mourner or member of the clergy.
Monumental Cemetery: A monumental cemetery is the traditional style of cemetery where the headstones or monuments are made of marble or granite and rise vertically above the ground. There are countless different types of designs for headstones, ranging from very simple to large and complex.
Lawn Cemetery: A lawn cemetery is where each grave is marked with a small commemorative plaque placed horizontally at the head of the grave at ground-level. Families can choose the design and information contained on the plaque, however in most cases the plaques are a standard design.
Green Cemetery: A green or natural burial is a way of burying the dead with minimal environmental impact and the preservation of the habitat. Green burial necessitates the use of non-toxic and biodegradable materials, such as caskets, shrouds, and urns.
Mausoleum: A mausoleum is an external free-standing building constructed as a monument enclosing the interment space or burial chamber of the deceased.
Columbarium: The walls of a columbarium are generally reserved for cremated remains and give friends and family a place to mourn and visit their loved one.