How to Plan a Funeral Service

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Planning a Funeral Service can be somewhat stressful when dealing with the passing of a loved one. We are sharing everything you need to know about planning a funeral service in hopes that we can make this time a little less stressful for our readers.

How to Plan a Funeral Service- Helpful Things to Know

It can be a very sad and stressful experience to be the one to help plan arrangements for a loved one. If you're making a list of things to discuss, or that must be done, read below for important things to know.

First – Finding a Funeral Home

Funeral homes can take care of a lot of arrangements for you, so I would have to say– start here! They have a lot of resources you might not have even thought of. A good funeral home staff can be surprisingly helpful in taking that stressful feeling of having to “plan things” down just a bit.

If your loved one did not make funeral home arrangements prior to his or her passing, we recommend making a call to the funeral home directly and speak to a staff member to discuss how the funeral home can help with arrangements. This is only because there may not be a lot of specific information on your funeral home website.


When working with a funeral home when figuring out how to plan a funeral, consider these factors:

  • Location of family— find a funeral home in close proximity to family members if possible
  • Cost of arrangements— you can schedule a meeting with funeral home staff for price information
  • Viewing and other services– if possible, family members should be on the same page on what services you prefer from the funeral home. Funeral homes have a lot to offer. They can offer on site services, viewing rooms, floral services, and much more. It will be something the funeral home can discuss with you as a group– but have a general idea of what services you're needing and wanting if it's at all possible!

Secondly- How to Plan a Funeral Involves Deciding on Burial

Unfortunately, this isn't something many family members often want to discuss. If your loved one left instructions for burial vs. cremation or they have planned their own arrangements, that can make the process easier. If not, discuss with your family and funeral home staff the possibilities.

Burial options and costs will vary widely with your location. The funeral home will also inform you of any city and state requirements such as purchasing a vault. A vault is a very heavy outer container that contains the casket. Vaults are used to keep the ground from collapsing, and are required in many areas.

If cremation services are needed, you can consult your funeral home about that also. Keep in mind that cremation does not mean you can't have a viewing or funeral! Just discuss specific arrangements and timing with your funeral home. There are certain rules about spreading a loved ones ashes so make sure you check your states rules on that.

Money Saving Tips

Some people prefer to purchase a beautiful ceramic cookie jar instead of those really expensive funeral home Urns. I have seen some really beautiful ones and you wouldn't even know the difference. Here are a few examples:

You can also have your loved one's ashes buried in the cemetery, or an urn placed in a cemetery building. This is an ideal option if you prefer to have a visible memorial family members can go visit. I'm glad to say, in learning how to plan a funeral I was glad to learn there are so many options available to surviving family members.

One last note on burials– if your loved one does have a pre-arranged or prepaid gravesite, be aware that this can be a valuable asset. Burial ground deeds can increase in value drastically over time. If your loved one has one arranged, it is wise to use if possible! Do your homework to see if arrangements have been made prior.

Finally, Plan the Details

Here are a few more items to put on your list for planning funeral for your loved one:

  • Location– Reserve the funeral location and date and time, and schedule with your funeral home. It's important to have an idea of how many will attend to follow any capacity and social distancing restrictions.
  • Flowers– For the funeral service, many people choose a casket floral arrangement which is paid for by the family. The family will take home all flowers and containers as they wish, after all the services have been completed. If you're searching for a good price on flowers, we like using Teleflora, as they are reasonable and currently offering a $10 off code!
  • Obituary– This one is will vary a lot but be sure to ask immediate family members for details, and make sure all obituary information is accurate. The funeral home can publish the obituary online. You can also choose to publish it in the local newspaper for a fee.
  • Stationery– this one may come as an afterthought, but if you're having a funeral service it's helpful to guests to have a card available. You might have received one if you attended a funeral in the past. The stationery often contains your loved one's name, perhaps a photograph, and the order of the funeral service. You can also include the obituary or a shortened form. You can really add anything you wish, including a poem or special verse, etc. This is optional– and if budget is an issue you can also do this on your own.
  • Meal for Family— many religious organizations offer a meal for the family, either before or after the service. You can discuss with the staff where your funeral is hosted. If not, consider a catered/served meal on site.
  • Accommodations— if you're helping plan a funeral and many guests are coming from out of town, accommodations may be needed. Check around to see if there are family members who can host out of town guests to avoid hotel fees!
  • Music – The music can really set the tone of the funeral. Some loved ones will have special requests already written down. If your loved one hasn't specified any songs to be played, we have a few suggestions for you.
Thanks for Reading

I hope this post is helpful and gives you some general information if you're planning a funeral. Even if you're feeling overwhelmed, remember there are lots of resources out there. ~ Best wishes from the Consumer Queen and team

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