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Is that casket round?

All too often I hear people talk about cutting corners when it comes to making funeral arrangements.

Sally recently learned how to use Microsoft Word and she is confident that in her spare time she can make the cards for Grandma’s funeral.

What may be a great accomplishment for her on a job she thinks is well done, is often viewed as the Funeral Service provider’s unprofessional and quite frankly, bleak attempt at creating a funeral card.

This example is one of the many details

When people attend a funeral that has been arranged through a particular funeral home, they expect that everything is done precisely and done by the staff of that funeral home. When Sally makes your Grandma’s funeral cards she lacks the computer software, the experience, and the precision that a Funeral Director brings to the table.

Service folders (aka funeral cards) may appear to be a minor detail of a funeral to many individuals however, how many of you have at least one of these cards above the mirror in your car, at home on your fridge or tucked away safe in your night stand?

The truth is the service folder for most, is the last memento of the person who has passed away.

It often gives a soothing reminder of a friendly image and text of a prayer or song that follows. Now imagine if that card had a blurry picture, the caption had spelling mistakes, or the words on the back were cut off because of formatting. Service folders are only one example amongst many examples of cutting corners when arranging a funeral.

Who’s helping?

Funeral Director’s try their hardest not to cringe when a family explains that they will supply their own ushers. The conversation often goes something like this:

Family: “With all the family involved, I think we will just run the funeral ourselves”.

Director: “May I ask whom might be the one who looks after organizing the ushers and walking them through the requirements of the job”

Family: “The job? Well really they just have to greet people coming through the door”

Greeting arriving guests is important. However, often what people want to know are more challenging questions – particularly for someone outside the profession. Questions like:

  • “Where the washrooms are located?”
  • “Where they can find the guest book?”
  • “Are there baskets for the cards?”
  • “Where are the donations going?”
The real responsibilities

This compiled with kitchen staff asking if when to begin preparing the luncheon along with keeping in mind with reserved seating, the order of the procession line and don’t forget to first sit the surviving spouse or children of the deceased, asks a lot of the young teenage grandson who thought he would simply be required to “show up and smile”.

And just like that, a family member who thought that having a Funeral Director and Attendant present at the service provides no value suddenly can see the necessity of staffing.

Weighing up the costs and time

Ultimately, there are different types of funeral services for all different types of budgets, but just as you have never seen a casket without corners, there are basic requirements of a service that people neglect in the name of being more cost efficient that when all said and done, has saved the family no money and likely has cost them more time.

If you are concerned about staying within a particular budget communicate that to your Funeral Director so that they may help you make an informed decision about where you can manage things on your own and where you will need expert help.

I’ll leave you with this; will friends and family leave your funeral asking – was that casket round?