Not everyone wants the same type of funeral. Choices depend on religious and cultural practices, costs, and personal preferences. Services can be elaborate or simple, religious or secular, public or private, in a funeral home or elsewhere. The body may or may not be present; the remains may be buried or cremated. If there is a viewing or visitation, the casket may be open or closed. Following are the three most basic types of funerals. A funeral may combine elements of all of them.
A “traditional” full-service funeral is typically the most expensive and includes:
Costs include the basic fee for the funeral home, embalming and dressing the body, rental of funeral home for the viewing or service, and use of vehicles to transport the remains. A casket, plot or crypt, and other goods and services (flowers, pall-bearers, music, limousine service, etc.) may also be included. As with all funeral arrangements, it’s important to know exactly what is included.
Direct burial means the body is buried shortly after death in a simple container. There is no embalming, no viewing, and no visitation. Costs, which are usually less than for a traditional funeral, include the funeral home’s basic services fee, transportation and care of the body, casket or burial container, and cemetery plot or crypt. There may be an additional charge for a graveside service if family and friends choose to attend the burial. Loved ones may choose to hold a memorial service at a later date instead of a graveside service.
With direct cremation the body is cremated shortly after death without embalming. Following cremation, the body is placed in an urn or other container. There is no viewing or visitation. Loved ones may hold a memorial service where the remains may or may not be present. Loved ones can keep the remains, have them buried or placed in a crypt or niche in a cemetery, or have them buried or scattered in a favorite place. Direct cremation usually costs less than a traditional burial. Costs include the funeral home’s basic services fee and transportation and care of the body. The funeral home may include the crematory fee or it may be added on. There is a charge for the urn or container. There is also the cost of the plot or crypt if the remains are be buried or entombed.
Funeral providers who offer direct cremation must offer an alternative container to use in place of a casket for burial or entombment.