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How to Plan a Funeral or Memorial Service

How to Plan a Funeral or Memorial Service

Whether you have lost a loved one unexpectedly or following a long illness, you may suddenly find yourself in the position of trying to figure out how to plan a funeral. This might feel overwhelming as you are wondering whether to have a traditional ceremony or are thinking that knowing how to plan a memorial service would be useful and give you some extra time for the preparations. Here are some tips to make the process smoother.

Call the Funeral Home

Immediately after death, you must make calls to the appropriate place so you can have the body transported to the funeral home or morgue. Contacting the compassionate, experienced professionals at Robinson Funeral Home streamlines the process as we help you every step of the way, whether you wish to have the deceased buried or cremated. We offer flexibility so you can tailor things exactly as you desire.

Choose a Date

In many religions, there are general guidelines for when to hold a funeral that make it easier to resolve how to plan a funeral. While not set in stone, many Protestant funerals take place within three days after death. Catholic funerals also usually take place within three days but might take place up to one week after that. Jewish funerals should occur as soon as possible after death; while traditionally they have taken place within 24 hours, our more modern society has often relaxed this requirement so that family and friends can come from afar to mourn. Muslim law also calls for funerals to happen as swiftly as possible.

Some people crave the closure that an immediate funeral might provide. Others feel exhausted from the illness and death and want an extended period to gather themselves together before paying homage to the deceased. If you plan to cremate the body and wish to have more time before the service, it is quite acceptable to hold a memorial service in the future. This gives you the opportunity to invite guests who might not otherwise be able to make it and the chance to plan things as precisely as you wish.

Select a Venue

Selecting a venue for the funeral or memorial service might depend substantially upon how religious the deceased was. If you are seeking a pious ceremony, speak to your clergy so you can make this decision. Some clerics require the service to take place in the place of worship, whereas another clergy may be willing to travel to a location of your choice to perform the service.

If you are not seeking a religious venue, you might decide to have your funeral at Robinson Funeral Home. Whether in our on-site chapel, in the crematory, or graveside, we can help you devise exactly the type of funeral or memorial service you desire.

Decide Upon a Style

After committing to the date and place, you may want to spend some thought on what kind of atmosphere you wish for the service to have. The deceased might have voiced wishes for a traditional funeral in a church with beloved hymns, followed by a somber graveside burial and an elegant luncheon afterward. Other people wish to achieve a more informal feel throughout the day.

It is much easier to plan if you have previously discussed this with your loved one. However, if not, it is important to go with your instinct about what he or she would probably have wanted. Be sure to show kindness to yourself during this process. Figuring out how to plan a funeral, on top of losing your close friend or family member, creates a lot of stress, and it is important to keep yourself as calm as possible during this difficult time.

Notify the Guests

After solidifying all of the details as to time and place, it is time to notify your expected guests. You may wish to:

  • Place an obituary with details in the newspaper
  • Share details of the service on social media
  • Make individual phone calls
  • Generate emails or texts
  • Send invitations if time permits

Enlisting the help of friends and family for this step may prove invaluable. It gives you time to attend to other necessary matters. Plus, it spares you the anguish of having to relive the details of the death or illness to others who might ask. Contact the deceased’s workplace and any social clubs that they may have belonged to as they would undoubtedly be very willing to assist with this step.

Pick the Music and Words

Selecting music for the funeral or memorial service is very vital because it helps to set the stage for the event. Many people like to go with traditional funeral hymns or songs due to the emotional response that they evoke. Procure a church choir, solo singer, small group, guitarist, and/or organist to perform these pieces. Other people favor using the favorite music of the deceased, whether live or recorded, even if it has a more contemporary bent. Neither choice is right or wrong and is simply a matter of preference.

If you need help finding musicians, contact Robinson Funeral Home. Our long-term knowledge and proficiency in providing full-scale funeral and memorial services enable you to minimize the work you must do while still achieving your goal of a flawless farewell.

Similarly, you should select bible passages, poems, or short stories to be heard during the service, as well as the speakers to read them. Decide who is going to give the eulogy. Try to think thoughtfully about the traits of the deceased so that you can customize the ceremony as much as possible.

Design the Program

A funeral program, also known as the brochure or order of service, is an individualized list enumerating what is going to happen chronologically. It can be very basic and merely list the hymns, bible passages, and speakers. Or, it can be more elaborate, with a written eulogy and a biography of the deceased. Its contents are completely at your discretion. The caring planner at Robinson Funeral Home is here to assist you in creating the program.

Keep in mind that the program also affords the opportunity for guests to have a memento to take with them. Many people also choose to order prayer cards that may have a photo of the deceased, a little biographical information, and a favorite prayer or poem.

Construct the Room

Adding individual touches to a viewing creates an emotional picture that personalizes the service. Most viewings incorporate at least one board containing a photo summary of the deceased’s life and often videos as well. From baby pictures through the most recent ones, giving the mourners a chance to see a life well lived before a final send-off is very appreciated.

Ordering flowers adds a sense of beauty to the observance. You may choose a theme in terms of color, scale, and type flower that echoes the personality of the departed. Remember that many additional flowers may be sent by guests to the funeral home unless you have specifically requested that people refrain from doing so.

Contact Robinson Funeral Home

Learning how to plan a funeral or plan a memorial service can feel crushing during this very sad time. Enlisting the help of a funeral home that has been serving the community for over a century makes the experience less daunting. Contact Robinson Funeral Home today so we may assist with any of your funeral needs.

Featured Image: Shutterstock / Lisyl