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How to Plan a Funeral Service: A Helpful Step-by-Step Guide

Figuring out how to plan a funeral service is often an emotional task - Use our step-by-step guide to ensure your loved one has the service they deserve.
How to Plan a Funeral Service: A Helpful Step-by-Step Guide

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The funeral industry helps about 1.5 million people every year. In fact, over 50% of people say having a funeral is an important tradition in life. With proper planning, you can create a beautiful service for your loved one. 

Need to learn how to plan a funeral service? Keep reading to find the tips you need for a heartfelt service. With these steps to planning a funeral, you can take a little of the stress off your plate.

You need time to mourn your loved one. By learning how to plan a funeral step-by-step, you can avoid potential delays.

Take a little of the emotional strain off your shoulders. Start planning a funeral service with these tips today.

1. Contact a Legal Representative

First, you’ll need to contact your loved one’s legal representative. It’s possible the deceased already had a prearranged funeral plan in place. If so, you can follow their instructions.

Determine what arrangements they made ahead of time. For example, it’s possible they:

  • Prepaid for funeral arrangements
  • Purchased cemetery property
  • Wrote down their preferences and last wishes

You’ll need to gather these documents before scheduling a funeral planning meeting. Their plan will help you learn how to plan a funeral service with little stress.

You might need to schedule a funeral arrangement conference with some of your living loved ones instead. You can work together to plan a tribute for the deceased. During this meeting, you can determine:

  • The family traditions you want to uphold
  • Your loved one’s wishes
  • Any religious requirements you want to follow
  • What to include in the obituary
  • What elements are most important to the funeral service

You might want to choose the main point of contact for the funeral home, too. Who will communicate with the funeral director and home? Having one too many people involved could cause conflict.

You don’t have to learn how to plan a funeral alone, though. Instead, find someone who can support you along the way. A close friend or family member can offer the emotional support you need.

If a task becomes too emotional, you can lean on them for support.

2. Select a Funeral Home

There are about 28,800 funeral homes in the US. When planning a funeral service, you’ll need to choose the funeral home with care.

When selecting a funeral home:

  • Check online for positive reviews
  • Ask friends or family members for recommendations
  • Check the Better Business Bureau for complaints
  • Make sure the employees treat you with kindness and compassion
  • Make sure the funeral home is committed to you
  • Check the funeral home’s mission statement and history
  • Review the funeral home’s services
  • Determine how the funeral home can help meet your needs and values
  • Consider the location
  • Make sure the funeral home is clean, well-kept, and flexible enough to meet your needs
  • Determine if the funeral home will accommodate your religious or cultural needs
  • Review the costs
  • Make sure the funeral home follows the Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule

The law stipulates that a funeral home must provide consumers with a general price list. They also need to inform the consumer they can choose the goods and services they want. The funeral home must disclose items that are required by state or local laws.

Funeral homes can’t charge a fee to handle a casket that’s brought from somewhere else.

Make sure the funeral home provides an itemized list of all expenses. If they don’t, keep looking.

3. Consider a Form of Disposition

The form of disposition indicates how you want to handle the human remains. Most people consider burials or cremation. If you decide on cremation, you’ll need to consider what type.

Prices can vary between the two options. Burials are usually more expensive. 

You can choose between different types of coffins or urns. The funeral director can help you explore the different options they have available. 

It’s important to consider the type of disposition your loved one selected in their funeral plan or will.

4. Select a Service

When learning how to plan a funeral service, you’ll need to consider the different types of services available.

A religious funeral home service is usually held at a place of worship. It involves prayers and rituals based on the deceased’s religious background.

A fraternal funeral service considers the deceased fraternal involvement. A military funeral service might involve an honor guard. 

5. Find the Right Location

Where do you plan on holding the funeral? You might want to consider a religious location, such as a church. 

If your loved one wasn’t religious, find a place that had a special meaning to them. 

Take the time to find and schedule a clergy member or officiant for the funeral. Officiants are ideal if there’s no religious aspect involved.

6. Finishing Touches

You might want to consider accessories for your loved one, such as clothing or jewelry. Don’t forget finishing touches, too. You might want to consider cosmetology or hairdressing with the funeral director. 

7. Arrange a Plot

Take the time to find a cemetery plot for your loved one. You’ll need a cemetery deed to prove who owns the grave. Proof of ownership indicates your loved one has the right to lie there after their death.

If your loved one didn’t purchase a plot, you’ll need to secure interment space. You’ll need to get a location of burial disposition, too. 

Don’t forget to secure endowment care to maintain the gravesite.

8. Prepare for the Date

Pick a funeral venue and date. You’ll need to consider:

  • Funeral transport
  • An order of service/program
  • Flowers
  • Funeral music or readings
  • The grave marker
  • Speakers
  • A memento display/memorial board
  • Pallbearers
  • A register book
  • The reception/wake

Take time to write an obituary for your loved one, too.

Then, plan a location for the post-funeral reception. Make sure to arrange for food, transportation, and lodging for out-of-town guests.

How to Plan a Funeral: 10 Tips for a Touching Service

Learning how to plan a funeral service can have an emotional toll. With these tips, you can stay organized. Don’t forget to lean on your emotional support system as you work through these steps.

With these tips, you can say goodbye to your loved one without unnecessary stress.

Are you interested in exploring cremation options for your loved one? We can help.

Choose Texas’ only carbon-neutral funeral home. Discover our cremation services today to get started.

Marlaena Gonzales

Marlaena Gonzales

Funeral Director
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