Funeral Etiquette for Thank You Notes

March 26th, 2014

Funeral Etiquette for Thank You NotesThe loss of a loved one and the planning of an entire funeral from start to finish is an exhausting affair. It’s not uncommon for those undergoing bereavement to feel both physically and mentally exhausted, and emotions can run through a course of highs and lows in a matter of minutes. Among all the chaos of guests arriving from out of town and navigating the financial side effects of death, it can seem impossible to find time to write funeral thank you notes.

Funeral etiquette dictates that the family of the deceased send out thank you cards in the days and weeks following the funeral. Fortunately, this isn’t the time-consuming, tedious task it sounds like. Not only can you purchase pre-prepared thank you cards and send them out, but you can recruit the help of others and make it a chance to bond and share your grief.

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How to Plan a Belated Funeral

March 22nd, 2014

How to Plan a Belated FuneralThere are many reasons to delay a funeral. Maybe it’s a difficult time of year for family members to get time off work or to make travel arrangements. Perhaps the deceased wished for a springtime service. Maybe you don’t currently have the money to cover funeral costs.

Whatever the reasons, it’s becoming more common to opt for direct cremation or direct burial immediately following death—and to hold a formal “funeral” or memorial service sometime in the future. You can wait weeks, months, or even years to do this, which gives you greater flexibility and more options when it comes to saying goodbye.

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Selecting Grave Flowers

March 19th, 2014

Selecting Grave FlowersWhen it comes to funeral flowers, arrangements for the service itself tend to be the main focus. Casket flowers, wreaths in the shape of a circle or cross, and elaborate funeral sprays sent from relatives fill the mourning space with the fresh scent and sight of nature. However, these aren’t the only funeral flowers to choose from. If your loved one opted for burial, you will also want to consider what type of flowers you want present at the cemetery and placed on the gravesite—both during the service and in the weeks, months, and years that follow.

Types of Grave Flowers

Because cemeteries tend to have strict beautification rules, grave flowers (or any type of decorative arrangement you put on a grave or near a headstone) come with greater restrictions than most other types of funeral flowers. Depending on Read the rest of this entry »

Funeral Transportation

March 16th, 2014

Funeral TransportationAlthough you can plan an entire funeral service from start to finish without hiring special vehicles or making arrangements for a procession, elegant transportation provides a nice touch to the day. Whether you opt for a fleet of limousines to take you from the funeral home to the cemetery, or if everyone hauls out a bicycle and takes one last ride in honor of the deceased, there are plenty of ways to make a funeral unique with these transportation ideas.

Traditional Funeral Escorts

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Can I Hold a Funeral before Cremation?

March 14th, 2014

Can I Hold a Funeral Before Cremation?One of the nice things about funeral options today is that families have choices when it comes to how they want to take care of a loved one’s final remains. Burial, cremation, body donation, sending your body into space—with enough money, you can do almost anything to make your final farewell special.

While most of us will probably skip the space step, burial and cremation remain the top choices across cultures and religions. Cremation is less expensive and generally comes with less fanfare than burial, but burial itself can also be streamlined thanks to options in DIY casketry and direct burial.

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Sending Sympathy Notes for the Holidays

February 28th, 2014

Holiday card etiquette It’s common funeral etiquette to send funeral flowers or a sympathy card in the days surrounding a funeral. Few things bring comfort to a family as much as this visible show of support, and funeral card messages run the gamut from simple sentiments that acknowledge your shared loss to more elaborate letters that you write from the heart.

For grieving families, however, mourning doesn’t stop after the funeral comes to a close. If anything, it’s the days, weeks, months, and years to follow that present the true challenge—and no time is more difficult than the holidays. As everyone else gets out the good cheer and holly, mourning families may be facing the most difficult time of their lives.

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Managing Grief around the Holidays

February 24th, 2014

Holiday candlesIf you’ve done any funeral planning this past year or buried a loved one, the holidays are going to be a difficult time. No matter how well you might be handling your grief, there’s something about the holiday season that tends to throw people into a tailspin of bereavement. Memories tend to rise up in a big way, and it can be difficult amid all the hustle and bustle of good cheer to find the support you need to make it through.

Among well-wishers pushing you to “move on,” the general stress that always arises this time of year, and the spirit of a season meant to bring joy (but which often does the exact opposite), it’s important to carve out a place for your grief.

  • Expect a Change in Your Feelings: Maybe you’ve been working through your grief and have come to a kind of acceptance lately. Maybe you’re still incredibly angry and spend part of every day in tears. No matter where you are on your journey, expect there to be a change. Feelings of isolation and loneliness are common this time of year, and it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the warning signs for depression. The important thing is to recognize that ALL feelings are okay, and that the increased intensity of them is only natural around the holidays. Read the rest of this entry »

Pre-Plan a Funeral Online

February 21st, 2014

Pre-Plan a Funeral OnlineIf the idea of calling funeral homes and meeting with estate planners to make advance funeral arrangements isn’t one you cherish, you may be able to find online options to save you time and money. Although unheard of just a few years ago, online funeral planning is now a viable option that allows you to plan and even pay for your funeral from the comfort of your own home.

How Online Funeral Planning Works

There are two ways you can pre-plan a funeral online. The first option requires nothing more from you than to make decisions regarding your wishes. For example, you can:

Print out a funeral planning worksheet, which you can then fill out regarding your specific wishes.
Find a funeral planning app or other online option that allows you to make decisions and email your answers to family members.
Coordinate funeral pre-plan options with a specific funeral home, which will use the information provided to contact you at a later date.

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What Not to Wear to a Funeral

February 11th, 2014
Britney Spears: What not to wear to a funeral

Britney Spears should hit the mall one more time to find an appropriate outfit for this funeral.

The fastest way to give offense at a funeral is to wear something inappropriate, and guidelines of what not to wear to a funeral often outline the most obvious funeral attire no-nos. Things like excessively short skirts, shorts, flip flops, casual jeans, or clothes that are dirty or torn are all commonly avoided—and with good reason. Anything that belongs at a beach or in a nightclub isn’t right for the formal and somber setting of a funeral.

While most of us can be expected to avoid the more obvious funeral attire pitfalls, there are also more subtle fashion choices you should avoid. Follow our what not to wear to a funeral guide below to ensure that you present yourself in a way that is respectful and appropriate for the day.

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What to Wear to a Funeral: Dressing Your Kids for a Funeral

February 8th, 2014

Child dressed in funeral appropriate clothingAlthough not everyone believes that taking your kids to a funeral is a good idea, there are times and places when it is entirely appropriate. Funerals for family members, for young friends, and for people you knew well often find children in attendance. While kids at funerals come with their own etiquette guidelines (including sitting near the back so you can make a quick exit if they become disruptive and talking about appropriate behavior ahead of time), the concern of this post is to determine what kids should wear to a funeral.

Black clothes for kids aren’t necessary—and they can often be difficult to find. And because the likelihood of them wearing anything you purchase again before they outgrow it is slim, it’s not worthwhile to spend your money on formal funeral attire. Instead, look through their closets to find:

  • Suits, slacks, and other wedding or church-friendly attire. If your son has a suit he wears for formal events, by all means, use it for the funeral. However, if you’re like most parents, the most you can hope for is a presentable pair of khakis and a button-up shirt. These are perfectly fine. Dress it up with a clip-on tie if you want to, but don’t worry about the colors unless they’re loud or distracting.
  • Dresses that don’t dazzle. Girls often have holiday-like dresses or other sparkly gowns in their closets. Avoid these if you can. It’s better to put a girl in a sensible (and understated) skirt and blouse than to bring out the full party dress. A funeral is less about showing off how formal you can be and more about being quietly respectful in the background.

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