Arranging a funeral service can be a challenging experience if you are not prepared. This page will give you some things to think about as you go through this process. Whether you are making arrangements for another person or yourself, keep these suggestions in mind.
Burial or Cremation? This is the first decision. Remember that a cremation can have all of the "services" of a casketed burial including interment of the cremated remains in a cemetery.
Make sure that the clothing has been washed or dry cleaned. Set aside a complete set of under garments. Think about all of the clothing that the person would normally wear. Shoes are optional.
HAIR and MAKE-UP:
Make-up/Cosmetics - be prepared to bring in the cosmetics that are normally used by the person. It is much better to have the correct colors than to guess.
Have a photograph for the hairdresser that shows the correct hairstyle and make-up
Shaving facial hair (beard, mustache, side burns) let your funeral director know. Photographs are helpful.
Photographs - Set aside a clear photo for the newspaper, service folder and the online obituary.
Write some notes to be used for the obituary. Biographical info, survivors, relatives who have already died, memorial donation info, special people you wish to thank, etc. Have a list of the newspapers that you want the obituary to appear in.
THE CALL FOR PICK-UP:
If the death will occur at home under hospice care, think about the following: Is the room accessible? Are there tight turns? If the house/apartment is 2 or 3 stories will the person be on the first level (stairs are very dangerous)? If multi-level apartment is there an elevator? What is the weight of the person (please let the funeral home know if extra help will be needed)? What door or entrance will the funeral home use? Is the pathway clear or obstructed? *remember to move cars out of the drive to allow the funeral home car access.
Will you require extra time from the time of death to the time that the funeral home arrives at the residence or facility? Please let us know.
NEXT OF KIN:
Who is the legal who will make funeral arrangements? Has someone been appointed to make funeral arrangements? Don't wait until the last minute to figure this out.
Have arrangements been made for cemetery property? If there is cemetery property, have you recently visited with the cemetery personnel? Is there already a grave marker/monument in place? Who will mark the grave? Get to know the people at your cemetery.
Where will the service be conducted? Chapel? Church? Graveside? Private service for the family only? No service at all?
What order do you want the funeral service? Burial first and then a memorial service after. Funeral service first followed by the burial. Private burial for family only. Immediate burial without a funeral service. Open casket or closed casket? There are lots of options.
Do you have a minister to conduct the funeral service?
Do you have special music in mind for the service? Make a list of the songs. Will the music be played electronically or by a musician/singer?
What flower shop do you prefer? What flowers do you want in the casket spray? Roses? Carnations? Mixed seasonal flowers? Do you want people to send flowers/plants to the service, or suggest a charity to make memorial donations to?
Do you know who you would ask to be pallbearers? Make sure they are able to handle the lifting required.
How many people would you expect to attend the funeral?
How many family members (immediate and extended) would require reserved seating at the funeral service?
Will the deceased have any jewelry on in the casket? Do you want the jewelry removed prior to burial or left in place?
Will a meal be served after the funeral? Will the family and friends gather somewhere for fellowship?
What is your budget for the funeral service?
If you are paying with a life insurance policy verify the following: is the policy paid up and in force? Is the policy over 2 years old? Is there a designated beneficiary who will assign a portion of the insurance proceeds to pay the funeral expences?
How many death certificates will be needed to handle the estates business?
THE ARRANGEMENT CONFERENCE:
This is an important business meeting. Only bring the people with you that are helping to make decisions. You do not need a lot of distractions. Please be on time for your appointment and spend around one and a half hours (estimate) making the arrangements.