M ost people have never had to arrange funeral services. It is a topic few people discuss and as a result, many people are unaware of all the possible options available to them. Personalizing the arrangements to reflect the life that was lived can be a real source of comfort to family and friends.
In personalizing the service, here are some things to consider that may help you: What did the person do for fun? What did they enjoy in their free time? What things gave them pleasure and interested them? What accomplishments made them proud? Were they a member of any clubs or organizations? How would they want to be remembered? What stories might they want passed on to future generations? These stories and experiences can be talked about at the service by family members or you can share them with the person conducting the service and ask them to add them to their eulogy of your loved one.
You may wish to consider what items or objects you could have on the Memory Table that would capture what they were about or what they enjoyed. If someone enjoyed creating pottery, consider having some of their pieces present or some poetry they may have written. Perhaps a favorite poem could be read during the service. What about having some trophies, golf clubs, bowling balls or fishing poles present if this is what they enjoyed? If someone was known for making birdhouses, quilts or other crafts, consider having a number of them on display.
Many families put together a collage of photos on poster board which can be the story of their loved one's life through photos and we have easels available for displaying them. We also have a large-screen TV in our chapel should you wish to put together a montage of photos set to music on a DVD. This would play continuously during the visitation.
Music is another way to personalize a service. You may consider having your loved one's favorite artist's CD playing throughout the visitation and then some of their favorite songs during the funeral. You may have your own ideas for an organist, soloist or vocal group, or we can assist you with them as well as a harpist, cellist, violinist, flutist and bagpiper to name a few. We have had a men’s choir, a 10-piece brass band and a Mexican mariachi band to give you an idea of the diversity selected.
For many more ideas and suggestions, please click on the Consumer Info link in the margin to the left.
Here are a few of the more commonly selected arrangements that you may wish to consider:
TRADITIONAL FUNERAL: This type of service generally includes a visitation and funeral ceremony at the funeral home or other location followed by burial or entombment at a cemetery.
VISITATION ONLY, WITH NO SERVICE: Family and friends gather for a time of remembering and sharing stories and experiences. The deceased may or may not be present or cremation may have taken place. This gathering can be at the funeral home, in a private home, private room at a restaurant, etc.
DIRECT BURIAL: This service is when arrangements are made to have the deceased buried or entombed in a cemetery without any visitation or ceremony and usually no embalming.
TRADITIONAL CREMATION SERVICE: While very similar to a traditional funeral service, the difference is that following the funeral ceremony there is no procession to a cemetery and the cremation takes place. Wood cremation caskets are used or a rental casket is an option.
DIRECT CREMATION: A direct cremation is selected when no visitation or ceremony is desired. In most circumstances it is the least expensive option.
MEMORIAL SERVICE: This is a gathering without the deceased present and a visitation or even the burial of cremains may have preceded the gathering. The service can be held at the funeral home or a church. Some other options are a private home, a park shelter, a private room at a restaurant and many other places and may or may not have clergy present; it could perhaps be a time of visiting and remembering only.
PRE-PLANNING: This allows your loved ones to say farewell the way you want and then concentrate on sharing memories.