Designing A Funeral

There are two facets of the design process. First, we ask you to consider how you wish to honor and celebrate the life. When those important decisions are made, we’ll turn to the issue of how you wish to care for the physical remains.

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How to Honor a Life

It’s about bringing those you love together, at a time of loss. It’s a natural thing to do, and over time, has become a socially-expected practice. More importantly, a funeral or memorial service, whether traditional, or contemporary, is the first step in healing.

You can have your service anywhere, and any way, you want. Your choices include the place of celebration, day of the week, and time of day; the musical selection, what prayers will be said or songs you’d like sung. We can arrange to have doves, butterflies (availability of doves or butterflies is determined by the season), or balloons released at the close of the service. Keepsake gifts of wildflower seeds or a tree seedling can be given. We’re here to help you create the most memorable and meaningful service to honor your loved one.


Burial or Cremation?

Your next consideration focuses on choosing between burial and cremation. Usually, people are clear on this point. In fact, your loved one may have told you, or someone else, exactly how they wish to be cared for. But it can be a hard decision for some families, especially when the wishes of the deceased were never clearly stated. If that's the case, please know we're able to help you come to the perfect decision for your loved one, and for you.

Once you decide, the finer details come into focus. If you've chosen burial, then selection of the casket, vault, and desired cemetery follows. Naturally, we’re here to help you.

If cremation is your choice, then you'll need to make the next decision: whether the cremated remains will be placed in a cemetery or mausoleum niche, buried on the cemetery grounds, scattered, kept by family members at home in an urn or in a place desired by the family.  Many people have also chosen to keep a loved one near by depositing a small amount of the remains in a piece of jewelry that is designed for keepsakes. 

In some communities, there's the option for a 'green burial.' If that's what your loved one would prefer, we'll help you select an environmentally-friendly choice.


Designing A Funeral 

Choosing the speakers and musicians for the service are important.  The ceremony leader, or officiant, oversees the ceremony.  This person is responsible for starting and finishing the service, performing official duties within the ceremony and coordinating all the activities in between.  If your loved one attended a church, the clergy from that church would be the logical choice.  If the deceased was not a member of a specific church, you can invite clergy from another church or an officiant with no church connection to perform a religious ceremony.  If a non-religious ceremony is desired, then a professional funeral celebrant may be the solution.  A celebrant will work with you to design a fully customized ceremony that can meet a variety of needs.  Your funeral director can help arrange for an officiant.

Another important choice is the person or people who will write and deliver a speech or eulogy about the life of the person who has died.  The speech is given by someone who knew the person well.  Sometimes the choice is obvious within the family.  In other cases, the family will have a friend of the deceased perform the eulogy.  In some cases, the officiant gives the eulogy.  Many families choose to have more than one speaker cover different aspects of their loved one's life.  In all, no more than 30 minutes is usually planned for the eulogy part of the service.  Keep in mind that even though a family member may wish to speak at the funeral to help with the healing process, he or she may be emotionally distressed when the time comes.   

Many services include readings from the Bible or other sacred texts which may be read by clergy or other guests.  During some funerals there is an "open microphone" to allow guests to share additional memories.  Clear time limits should be set and respected. The officiant must be prepared to politely guide those speaking.                                                                                                                                

There are formal and informal rules, rites and traditions involved in almost any funeral or memorial service.  Make sure you meet with the selected officiant ahead of time so you understand what to expect and have a chance to discuss any special requests. 



What's Next?

Now that we've given you the basics, it's time to reflect more on exactly what is appropriate for you and your family. If possible, gather everyone together to speak of their feelings and desires.

Still looking for inspiration? Speaking with a professional funeral planner will help to clarify your thinking. Reach us at (918) 663-2233.