Thursday, January 16, 2014

A consumer’s guide to planning your cremation service.

If you are choosing cremation, plan ahead of time. Planning your own cremation service takes the burden off your loved ones and you’ll be sure to have your final wishes honored.

There are two ways to plan your own cremation service. You can plan your service with the assistance of a funeral director or you can plan it on your own. You can write your plans and attach it to your will or leave it with the funeral home if you are pre-planning your service.

Since this is a “once in a lifetime” event and you don’t want to make mistakes, I suggest you consult with a funeral director from a good funeral home, who has done this hundreds if not thousands of times. They have great ideas that you might not have thought of and can get you items that are only available to funeral homes.

Think about what you would like your service to be like. Remember this is your last hurrah, so make it memorable. 

Here are some things to consider when planning your cremation service:

· Visitation. Would you like your loved ones to be able to say their final goodbyes? When making this decision, think about what your family and friends would like. Will it give them closure and ease their grief? If so, then choose a visitation. You might want to choose two hours in the afternoon and two hours in the evening to accommodate those who are working or need to hire a babysitter..

· Rental or cremation casket. You can choose to rent a casket or purchase an inexpensive wood or cloth cremation casket. If you choose a cremation casket, basic wood is a good choice. You can plan to have the cremation casket covered with a special memorial blanket or a silk covering. Your funeral director can show you different options. There is no need to purchase an expensive casket if you are going to be cremated. Rentals are equally beautiful and will save you money.

· Memorial service. Would you like a memorial service or a religious service in your place of worship? Perhaps you would prefer a non-denominational or spiritual service? The memorial service can take place in the funeral home after visitation if desired or at a later date. You can also have a religious memorial service in your house of worship.

· Personalization. You can make a collection of your favorite photos, videos and mementoes to be displayed at your service. You can also create a DVD with a slideshow of your “life story”. If you have musical friends, ask them to do a medley of your favorite songs or create a music list on your iPod of the music you would like played at your service. Look into using web services for those who cannot travel to your wake. This is your last goodbye. Surround yourself, your family and your friends with the things you loved and cared about.

· Eulogy. Who would you like to give your eulogy? A close friend, family or a colleague are good choices. Choose an alternate in the event that your first choice is not available physically or emotionally. You might want to prepare a short biography with some of the things you want to be remembered for. This is the last story that you will tell. Let your voice be heard!

· Clergy. Is there a Priest or Rabbi who you would like to say a prayer or a reading? If you are not religious, hiring a celebrant is a great alternative. The celebrant can personalize your service any way that you would like. Think of the celebrant as a kind of event planner for your final sendoff. You can even choose a small gift to be given to those at your service like seeds to plant in your memory or a small photo book.

· Cremation Ashes. Think of where you’d like your cremains to be buried or scattered. There are many options from using a traditional urn to using keepsake urns and dividing up your cremains so each family member receives a portion. Having your cremated remains made into jewelry is also an option, so that family members can keep you close to their hearts. Burying your cremains in a biodegradable earth or sea urn or scattering your ashes on land or sea is also gaining in popularity.

We’re all going to leave this earth one day and planning your own cremation service will give you peace of mind that you will be honored in a way that is respectful and tells your life story.

Nancy Burban 2014


  1. Forgetting another option? A cemetery. Where pre planned arrangements can be made as well. Also offering mausoleum nyches, lawn crypts, and traditional ground burials for a cremation

  2. Wow, thanks for all of this cremation information. I appreciate the point that you made about what to do with the ashes. I imagine being able to choose between burial or scattering is helpful. My grandmother has said she would prefer to have these services in her will. I will be sure to bring this valuable cremation information to my family conversation as we continue planning for this process.

  3. As each human life is singular and special, each funeral can be as well. Funeral services designed to represent the unique life being celebrated are easy to achieve. Thinking creatively and utilizing the suggestions below will earn your funeral home a reputation for recognizing the distinct impact of each life lived and lost. See more here cremation

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