In North America, the traditional funeral requires detailed planning involving a funeral home. No two funerals are the same, and details will depend on individual preference and vary according to religious beliefs.
Standard Funeral Plans, Step-by-Step
The funeral home will take care of the deceased once they are brought in from the hospital or coroner’s office, depending on the cause of death. The initial objective is preparing the individual for viewing if there is to be an open casket. The embalming process is also carried out.
Once a person dies but no prearrangements have been made, the family will contact a funeral home to meet with one of the funeral directors. Here is where the details of the funeral are planned. In North American funerals, customs and practices vary, but the steps involved are very similar:
- Choosing a casket
- Deciding on clothing that is to be worn by the deceased and bring them to the funeral home.
- Those who specialize in hair, makeup, and dressing of the deceased prepares them for viewing.
- Items of sentimental value that the family wants to be put in the casket are brought in (e.g. photographs).
- Picking out music for the service.
- Composing an ad for the newspaper.
- Arrange for visitation hours (when friends/family comes to view the deceased prior to the funeral).
- Arrange for the actual ceremony details on the day of the funeral.
- Arrange for the casket to be taken to church.
- Arrange for the casket to be taken to cemetery or mausoleum.
- Arrange for refreshments for the guests at the funeral home while they are visiting.
Some of the following details are arranged through other providers:
- Flowers are discussed and ordered through a florist and brought to the funeral home.
- Arrangements for a minister to officiate at the service/ceremony.
- Arrangements for a burial plot at the cemetery of choice (if the family does not already have one).
- European tradition may involve internment of the deceased into a mausoleum, rather than an outdoor cemetery burial, so this needs to be prearranged.
- ‘Planning for a separate place for guests to come following the funeral for a lunch.
- Arrange for a police escort (if it is required in the city where you are) to help with traffic during the funeral procession from the funeral home to the cemetery.
These are the basic arrangements but there can be additional ideas or themes added.