Did you know that there are around 2.4 million funerals in the US every year?
Planning a funeral service is never easy. But it’s something that most people have to do at some point in their lives and it can be a beautiful way to honor your loved one.
If you’re finding the process of planning overwhelming, it’s important to get help. Or, if you just aren’t sure where to start, take a look at some tips for planning funerals that can help make it easier.
For more, here’s our guide on how to plan a funeral service.
1. Create an Obituary
When planning a funeral service, guests aren’t usually directly invited. Of course, it’s important you let your close friends and family know the details of the funeral, but this is usually done in person or over the phone.
For every one you don’t speak to, you need to publish an obituary to let them know. This will announce the passing of your loved one as well as where and when the funeral will be held so that anyone who wishes to can come and pay their respects. Traditionally, these are published in newspapers, but nowadays you should also post one online, such as on social media.
If you’re working with a funeral director, they’ll usually handle the obituary for you so you don’t have to worry.
2. How Will They be Buried?
One of the main decisions to make when planning a funeral service is how your loved one will be buried, unless they’ve already specified their wishes in a will. There are a few different options that you can choose from, including:
- Traditional burial below or above ground
- Natural or green burial that minimizes environmental impact
Choose one that you think your loved one would like. If you’re not sure, then base the decision on whether you’d like to keep or scatter their ashes, or would prefer a grave that you can visit to pay respects.
3. Specify the Dress Code
Most funerals specify a dress code. If you don’t, it’s likely that mourners will turn up in formal black attire. If you think your loved one wouldn’t like this or has specified something else, make sure to include details in the obituary.
A lot of people now ask that mourners wear bright clothing to celebrate someone, rather than black mourning clothes. Or, perhaps they would like a theme, such as people dressing as superheroes or coming in football kits. Whatever the wish of your loved one, make sure to incorporate it into your funeral planning.
4. Who Will Officiate the Funeral Service?
When arranging your funeral memorials service, you need someone to lead the occasion. This is known as officiating the ceremony. Typically it’s done by a religious minister, but it definitely doesn’t have to be.
If your loved one wasn’t very religious, you can a member of the family or a friend to lead the ceremony. They can tailor their service to fit the interests and personality of your loved one, providing a very personal service.
5. Plan the Service
The order of service is the events that will take place during your funeral. Usually, the order is listed in a funeral program, along with the lyrics of any hymns or songs that will be sung so that mourners can sing along.
If you’re planning a religious funeral, there might be some guidelines you have to follow for your order of service. Make sure you know these before you start planning.
6. Choose Funeral Music or Hymns
One of the main parts of an order of service is the music. This usually reflects the personality of your loved one and they may have even requested certain songs to be played. From rock songs to love ballads, nothing is out of bounds as long as your loved one would have enjoyed it.
If your loved one was religious, you may want to pick out some hymns that were important to them or that resonate with you. If you have a musician in your family, they also may want to perform.
It’s best to run through the music choices with your funeral location before the day, particularly if you’ll be in a religious setting.
7. Personal Eulogies
When it comes to how to plan a funeral memorial service, you can get others involved by asking who would like to give a eulogy. This is when a family or friend write a piece that honors the life of their loved one, and it can contain stories of their life or what that person meant to them. There’s no limit on the number of eulogies you can have in a service, so be sure that everyone who wants to give one can be included.
The eulogies can be delivered by the person who wrote them, another friend or family member that will speak on their behalf, or the person officiating the funeral.
8. Plan the Funeral Wake
After a funeral service, there’s often a wake. This is a celebration of your loved one where everyone can share stories, grieve together, and honor the life of the one who has passed. If you’re struggling to plan the perfect wake, you should bring in the help of some other close friends and family to help.
Celebrate the Life of Your Loved One
The purpose of a funeral service is to honor and celebrate the life of the person who has passed, so make sure it reflects their personality. As long as you do that, you really can’t go wrong.
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