How to Plan a Funeral: A Guide

Planning a funeral can be tricky. After all, you are probably still reeling from the loss of your loved one, so it can be difficult to plan an event during such a tough time.

However, having some kind of ceremony is very important when you lose someone, as it will give you and others the chance to say goodbye and have some closure, and it will also give everyone the opportunity to celebrate the life the person lived before they died.

If you need to plan a funeral but you feel overwhelmed and unsure of where to start, this post is here to help.

Cremation vs. burial

One of the first things you will need to decide is whether you will want to cremate or bury your loved one. This is a very difficult choice and one that many people struggle with if their loved ones didn’t leave instructions for what they want to happen.

In the end, you will need to do what feels right for you, and what you feel your loved one would have wanted. Keep in mind that while traditional cremation and burials are the most common, there are also other options like human composting.

Figure out the logistics

You will, of course, need to decide when you will be hosting the funeral. Many people find themselves instinctively wanting to put the funeral off for as long as possible, as a funeral means facing the fact that your loved one is truly gone. However, it’s better to do it sooner rather than later, to help you get closure.

Depending on the person’s religion, there may be a certain timeframe for when the funeral needs to take place, so be sure to keep that in mind when planning the funeral.

You will also need to arrange a venue, get caterers and music sorted out, and figure out what you will be wearing. If you are planning the funeral with someone else, you may get into some disagreements so you can click here if you need some help with solving family disputes.

Decide who to invite

You may choose to have an open event and allow anyone to attend the event, or you may prefer to have a more private funeral with a select few people.

Either way, you will need to make the details known to everyone. If you decide to have a public funeral open to everyone, posting the details of the funeral on social media is a good start. If it will be a private affair, you can send out digital invitations to those you want at the funeral.

You may also want to set up a live stream so that people who live far away can watch the funeral.

Consider your loved one’s wishes

Many people take the time of planning out their own funerals, or at least writing down some wishes that they have for their funerals. This means that the pressure doesn’t fall on those they leave behind, and it also ensures that the funeral goes the way they would have wanted.

Find out if there was any information included in your loved one’s testament, or whether they perhaps took out a funeral policy. Having some instructions and wishes to follow will make planning the funeral much less stressful for you. Your loved one may have left information such as which music they want to have played at the funeral, whether they want to be cremated or buried, and who they want at the funeral, so be sure to follow any instructions that they left you.

Find a venue

You should also consider where you will be hosting the funeral. Even if someone will be buried, you probably won’t want to have the actual funeral at their grave, so you need to find somewhere else to do it.

If the person who died was religious, hosting the funeral in a religious building like a church is a good idea. Alternatively, if you want it to simply be a small get together with close friends and family, you can host it at someone’s house. This will be much more affordable and intimate. If you want to host the funeral at your house, you might want to read this post as it discusses some things you should know about hosting events at your house.

Consider what type of funeral you want it to be

When we think of funerals, we often have a particular image in mind. Most people imagine sad music and people dressed in black when they hear the word ‘funeral’.

However, there are many ways to host a funeral. You can, of course, go the traditional route of having people gather in a formal venue and take turns giving eulogies, but that’s not your only option. More and more people are skipping traditional funerals and instead hosting memorials or ‘celebrations of life’ that are aimed at celebrating their loved one’s death rather than mourning their loss.

Consider any religious beliefs

If the person who died was part of a particular religion, that’s something else to keep in mind. Many religions have specific rules or traditions that need to be followed when someone dies and also at their funeral, so it’s a good idea to look into this and honor any religious beliefs of the person you have lost.

While funerals may be more for the living than the dead, you should still respect the deceased person’s wishes, which includes honoring their beliefs. If you don’t know much about their religion, you can always ask someone to help you.

In conclusion

Losing a loved one is hard enough, but having to deal with that loss while also planning a funeral is enough to make anyone reach breaking point.

Every person and every funeral is different, so when planning a funeral, you should keep your loved one in mind and consider what you think they would have wanted, rather than simply prescribing to societal norms. That being said, there are a few things that you can do to make the planning process easier, and this post discussed a few of them.  

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