How to Plan a Funeral Service
If someone you love has passed away, we want to start by offering you our sincerest condolences. At Blue Ridge Funeral Service we understand this is a tough time for your family, and want you to know that we are here for you. We have been serving Western North Carolina for many years and continue to be the first choice for families in this area. Blue Ridge Funeral Service offers affordable funeral arrangements that Western North Carolina families have grown to trust. Our goal is to simplify the funeral planning process and make it as easy for you as possible. By providing compassionate funeral services and operating with transparency, we hope to give grieving families peace of mind that their loved one is in good hands. Not only will we show you how to plan a funeral, but also we will help you every step of the way. We understand that planning a funeral service is a very emotional process, and we believe that being informed is crucial. Whether you are looking for a traditional funeral service, a traditional cremation service or an affordable memorial service, we can help.
Below you will find a list of resources that we have put together about how to plan funeral service, along with some of the current funeral trends. Please take the time to read through each one so that you understand what your options are, and can make an informed decision about which type of funeral is best to remember the life of your loved one. We are confident that the following information will help you, and show you why we are known as a provider of professional and affordable funeral arrangements.
A Short History of Funeral Services
Burial services in one form or another have been a part of human communities for millennia. If you scan our history, it really doesn't matter "when" or "where" you look, burial practices can be found. Graveside burial services can be seen in hundreds of Hollywood films and television productions; some are uplifting, others are humorous; and some merely attempt to convey the emotional weight carried by the characters involved. Because of these cinematic efforts, most are familiar with the appearance and traditional ceremonial format of a burial service. But when it comes time to make arrangements for a graveside service on behalf of a deceased family member, it can be challenging to turn what is only vaguely familiar into a truly meaningful, deeply personal event.
This graveside service planning guide outlines the major steps involved and identifies the primary "talking points" when meeting with the funeral director. If you have questions about what you read here, please call us at 828-680-9963. A member of our staff is available, ready with the answers you need.
Reasons to Hold a Burial Service
When it comes time for you to make final care arrangements on behalf of a deceased family member you may be surprised to learn of the benefits of well-crafted burial services. During the arrangement conference with a funeral director you'll have the opportunity to discuss the features and benefits of funeral services and look at the top three reasons why families choose a funeral service:
Many people today hunger for greater simplicity in their lives; a natural, uncluttered, uncomplicated life. This is a desire which is nothing new to the human heart. Consider the Roman Catholic, Anglican and Quaker religious orders who continue to strive for a simple, sincere approach to life. We've long wanted to focus on what is most important, and the simplicity of graveside services does just that.
The Natural Setting
What better place to celebrate the life of a loved one than under the open sky, beneath trees, or beside flowers? No matter the type of cemetery that your loved one's burial services is held at, the emotional and spiritual comforts of the natural surroundings will be keenly felt.
There are profound religious reasons families choose burial services over any other final care option. For example, the Christian concept of resurrection of the body is deeply held by many and makes burial an act of religious ceremony. Jewish families and those practicing Islamic traditions also have strong religious and social commitments to burial.
The Importance of Witnessing
As mentioned earlier, human societies of all times and in all places have incorporated burial into their cultural or religious practices. This long-lived social relationship with burial has resulted in a core belief shared among peoples around the globe: burial is an act of respect, made most meaningful when witnessed.
What's Involved in Planning a Funeral Service
All reasons aside, let's look at what's involved in planning a funeral service. We've broken down the discussion into three areas-of-concern: the selection of cemetery and burial property, choosing a casket and burial vault; and planning the details of the graveside service.
1. Selection of Cemetery and Burial Property
Before we get too far into the subject, we should mention that a family member may have already chosen and purchased a burial plot or mausoleum crypt. It's also very possible a distant relative purchased a large section in a local cemetery intended for the future burial of family members. In either of those situations, you'll need to obtain the documents necessary to prove ownership of burial rights and then bring them to the initial meeting with the funeral director.
What if there is no such pre-plan in place? Then you will need to locate a cemetery and select the burial property on your own. And while we know today's consumers are smart and have access to more information about products and services than ever before, we also know that the purchase of cemetery property isn't a commonly-made transaction. For that reason, we offer the following information:
Unlike when you purchase a house (where the structure and the land are yours to do with as you like); when you buy a cemetery property, such as a burial plot, mausoleum crypt or columbarium niche; you are merely buying the right to inter (or bury) an individual (or individuals) in that location. The property you now have the rights over remains the property (and the responsibility) of the cemetery administration.
A stated portion of the money you pay for these interment rights will be contributed to an irrevocable fund used in the on-going care of the cemetery grounds.
The burial, as well as any future commemorative visits you make to the location will be subject to the specific by-laws as written by the cemetery administration.
Just like when you buy a house, the cost of burial property rights range widely in price, depending on the exact location of the plot, crypt or niche. If you have time, you can certainly find resale "deals" on cemetery property; but if you're not shopping far in advance of need, this may not be of help to you.
There are other costs involved with the burial of a loved one, such as the fees charged by the cemetery for the "opening and closing" of the site, the headstone or grave marker and its installation, and the purchase of a casket and burial vault.
Because we have strong working relationships with local cemetery administrators, we want to help you with this part of the process. Simply call us at 828-680-9963 to get started.
2. Choosing a Casket and Vault
You'll typically read that the casket is the single most expensive purchase you'll need to make during this time. And while we can't really disagree with that statement, we will tell you that the purchase doesn't have to cost you more than you can afford. We have a wide selection of affordable caskets and burial vaults to choose from, and will work closely with you to keep the cost of your loved one's graveside service within your family's budget.
The cost of a casket aside, the type of casket you select will be based largely on personal preference. Would you prefer a casket of fine hardwood or metal? There are caskets of walnut, cherry, maple, oak, pine and other species of wood. Metal caskets come in varying thicknesses and a wide array of finishes. We don't want you to guess what's best for your situation; instead we'd like you to turn to us for assistance. We've got the experience to guide you in the selection of the most appropriate casket and vault for your needs. Call us at 828-680-9963, or stop by our office.
3. Planning the Details of the Graveside Service
The details really depend on your motives and emotional needs. If simplicity is your primary focus, then the burial service we design could look very different from one which is guided by religious doctrine.
And while you could think of your loved one's graveside service as a modified version of a typical funeral, with a member of the clergy leading attendees in standard hymns or prayers; we'd rather you let go of your expectations. That way, we can come to the planning process with no limitations to our creativity. Together we'll determine the best date and time for the burial service, and select the most meaningful readings, songs and activities to be featured in their service.
We'll discuss who you would like to lead the event; it could be your funeral director, a member of the clergy, a celebrant, family member, or close friend. Certainly, the selection of the cemetery and burial plot are practical decisions; but planning the service format is where the heart can take over. Your funeral director will sit with you for as long as it takes to bring love and memories into the event. He or she will explore your loved one's life with you to find the essence of who they were, all in the effort to craft a fitting graveside service.
Funeral Service Trends
The needs and expectations of our families are changing and we've responded with funeral service optionstailored to these new expectations.
Two generations ago, traditional funerals (visitation, funeral service and service at the cemetery) were common. It was what everyone expected.
But, as the demand for cremation services increased, there has been a shift in the types of services available. Many more families are choosing cremation and holding a memorial service afterwards. Family members and friends still came together to pay their respects to the deceased and find emotional support but they did so in less formal ways.
Today, another funeral service option, the celebration-of-life service, has become quite popular because there are no limits to the how, where, and when the life of a loved one can be celebrated.
Thinking about Your Funeral Service Options
The arrangements you make will be influenced by the lifestyle of your deceased family member; the time of year, your budget, and the number of people in attendance. But you don't have to think about it all on your own; we're here to help. That's what we do; it's our passion to help families celebrate the life of their loved one. Just reach out to us; let us know what you'd like, and we'll tell you how we can assist you.
Are You Ready to Talk About How to Plan a Funeral Service?
We're ready to listen. In fact, that's what we do best: we not only hear the words, we understand the feelings and the familial dynamics behind them. When you call us at 828-680-9963 for assistance in making the necessary arrangements for a graveside service, you'll discover the value of having an experienced ally committed to serving your family as you would wish to be served.
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