Types of Funerals

There are a number of different types of funerals offered all over the United States but the five most common funerals are the following:

Viewing with open casket- Embalming (a medical procedure) is performed and the  deceased is placed in a casket of your choosing.  Your loved one is kept at the funeral home in a casket with the head portion open for a period of time that you choose (usually 1-4 days) where family members and friends are allowed to visit at preset times of the day.  Usually the funeral home will provide refreshments including coffee, tea, and cookies.  After the viewing period your loved one is either buried in the selected grave, or cremated, or entombed which ever you choose.

Traditional with a closed casket- Embalming is still usually done (but is optional in some states) the deceased is dressed and placed in the casket of your choosing.  The length of the visitation is generally shorter with a closed casket, normally only one or two days.  The deceased is then buried or cremated or entombed as ordered.

Traditional with a rented casket – In this case you may choose open or closed casket as above, the only difference is that a smaller less expensive wooden casket is slipped into a larger fancier casket and then your loved one is placed into that.  The funeral continues as above based on your length and open or closed choices.  After the funeral is complete the smaller casket and the deceased are removed from the rented casket and either buried, entombed, or cremated in the smaller casket.

Memorial Service – This service might be religious, or not depending on your choice.  This usually occurs after the loved one has been buried or cremated.  Normally there are pictures and other memories available to look at or discuss.

Direct Burial or cremation – in this case there is usually no embalming.  The deceased is placed directly into an inexpensive casket and buried or cremated as soon as legally possible.  There is no visitation of the body and no service at all.

In addition to these traditional types of funerals there are other add on type services available or customizations that can be made to ensure the service and visitation goes as planned and as per the wishes of the deceased.  In recent years people have taken every opportunity to add personalizing features to their funerals including Green Funerals that are more eco-friendly, biological gift funerals (normally for those who have donated their body to science-normally paid for by the University or College who was permitted to use the body in that time), Humanist Funerals, Internet Visitation Funerals etc.  There really is no limit to the customizations that you can select for yourself or your loved ones.  Some funeral homes may not be equipped for all types of funerals, and may not have the technology to provide some of the higher tech services, but if you talk to one funeral home who cannot provide a service to you, they can likely help you find one who can.

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