A so-called full service funeral today may follow the same sequence, but past assumptions
are no longer valid-
1. Embalming was automatic. Bodies are no longer embalmed automatically. There is an extra charge if they are embalmed.
2. Obituaries detailing the deceased’s life, survivors, etc., were given to newspapers as news items. Obituaries are not automatic and do not usually tell the deceased’s life history, nor is there a post-funeral announcement describing the service, pallbearers, and out-of-town attendees. In large urban centers, obituaries/funeral service programs can be very expensive.
3. Burial was the choice of final disposition, as cremation was only available in large cities and transportation to a crematorium was difficult and expensive. Burial is no longer the only or major means of final disposition, and in many areas, cremation is now the method of choice. Cremation eliminates many of the requirements of the traditional funeral. It does not require a casket, only a container. A grave or monument does not need to be purchased, and a graveside service or transportation of the body and funeral cortege to a cemetery is not required.
4. Funeral services were held for every death even if only the funeral director and clergy were in attendance. Immediate disposition by direct cremation or burial is becoming more common for various reasons. It eliminates cost of all services and goods necessary in a traditional funeral. In modern society, people are living longer, and families are not as close or as involved as in the past.
5. Funerals were normally held in churches and later in funeral chapels. The family, without the assistance of a funeral director, may hold a public or private funeral service in any appropriate location.
6. Every funeral demanded the use of a casket for the body. Many funerals are held today without the body being present. Public viewing is no longer necessary or expected. As a result, a casket and the preparation of the body, including embalming, cosmetics, and dressing, may not be necessary. If viewing is requested, a casket may be rented. One of the main purposes of this book is to allow you to personally design the type of commemorative service you would prefer.
You may make personal choices from a variety of options:
– Religious or nonreligious
– Public or family only, viewing or no viewing
– Location of the service
– Details concerning flowers, music, the order of service, and even
after the post-funeral gathering