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Should You Have a Viewing With Cremation?

This quick read explains what a viewing is, the benefits and the costs involved with having one so you can decide if it’s something you want to include in the funeral arrangements.
Viewing With Cremation

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After the Covid pandemic, many people are questioning the need for traditional funeral services. One service that’s gotten particular attention is the viewing service. Some people simply don’t get the point, others have an issue with the cost and a number of people don’t fully understand what a viewing is exactly.

What is a Viewing Service?

The viewing service is much like it sounds. The deceased is typically in a casket and those who knew them in life can come to see them one last time and pay their respects. Viewings are commonly held in funeral homes, private residences and churches shortly before the burial or cremation. 

A viewing isn’t quite the same as a visitation. A visitation is when friends and family members directly come to pay their respects to the immediate family. It’s a much more personal and informal affair.

The Benefits of a Viewing

While some people aren’t sure about having a viewing, there are some known benefits. If you’re one of the many people who avert your eyes at a viewing service, understand that it’s a perfectly natural response that’s fine to have. However, you may find that a viewing:

  • Provides a healthy foundation for handling future loss. 
  • Allows for acceptance and closure after the death of a loved one.
  • It can help people begin the grieving journey so that it isn’t delayed.

No one wants to remember a loved one in that condition, even if it is just their body. But in the same token, having that opportunity to say goodbye can be very important. That’s why it’s important to carefully decide if you’d like to have a viewing if there’s no direction in a will. 

The Cost of Having a Viewing Service

It’s hard to peg down the average cost of cremation with a viewing service. It could be virtually free or cost a minimum of $1,400 and go up from there. The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) carefully tracks funeral costs across the U.S. Their latest statistics have the national average for viewing services at $1,420 for the essentials. 

The cost of using the funeral home facilities is $425 on average. If the viewing is before a cremation, then a rental casket is going to be around $995 if rented from a funeral home. Of course, you can use any casket of your own so long as you have it in time for the viewing service. And you don’t have to have the viewing at the funeral home. It will require additional transport, but you could choose to have the viewing at a residence for free. 

Having a Viewing Before Cremation

It’s completely possible to have a viewing service before the cremation. You just need to work closely with your crematorium to make arrangements so that the services are timed appropriately.                         

Some families that choose cremation decide to forgo the viewing and instead have a memorial service after the cremation to honor their loved one. This relieves some of the pressure to plan a series of events shortly after someone has passed.

If you’d like to learn more about the timeline for cremation or how to schedule cremation services that include a viewing, please give us a call any day, at any time.

Picture of Marlaena Gonzales

Marlaena Gonzales

Funeral Director
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