Making funeral arrangements involves many decisions.
You will want to settle on where you are going to hold the funeral. -- At the funeral home or at the deceased’s church. There is not a right or wrong answer about this – just what works best.
You will also want to decide who is going to conduct the service. If your loved one belonged to a church – his/her own pastor is the natural choice. If you do not know who to have the funeral director can give you some suggestions. They know of different clergy that could be available.
You will want to discuss the format of the service. The pastor will probably want to talk to you about the style of the service and what bereavement message to speak on.
It is good to have a plan of how long you want the service to be. If it goes overlong young children can grow restless.
There will be decisions to be made about what bereavement verses, funeral prayers and scriptures to use in the memorial service eulogy.
You will also be asked what funeral music you want. There will be choices about what songs you want played and sung. After the interment at the cemetery, my mom chose to have a memorial service celebrating my dad’s life at the church where we all sang all of my dad’s favorite hymns.
Who do you want to be the pallbearers? Usually there are four or six. If you cannot think of enough people to help, the funeral staff can generally provide one or two.
Generally most funeral directors have a showroom of caskets. This provides you the opportunity to select one personally.
At a later date you will want to visit a monument company to decide on a headstone.
An obituary will need to be written. The funeral director can help you do this. Be prepared with all of the data that you want included. Decide what newspapers to notify. My mother had quite a few that she wanted to print the notice. It was helpful to the staff that she had contact information for those papers that were not local.
Are you going to have a funeral dinner? And where? Often people will have a funeral dinner at the church following the memorial services. There is often a committee at the church that handles the details of a bereavement dinner. This takes the burden off the family.
My mom wanted a family-only visitation and service for my dad – followed by the public memorial. We chose to order a simple catered dinner that we ate at my uncle’s house. It was nice and low key, giving us a chance to share our memories together. It was very healing. Somehow “breaking bread” together does that.
There is not a right or wrong in regard to any of these decisions. Make choices that are best for you and your family. After all that is who the funeral service is for.
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