Expensive Funerals in History

July 13th, 2014

 

Expensive Funerals in HistoryMost people tend to look at high funeral costs as a modern thing. We know that burial space is at a premium, and that families will pay extra to ensure that their loved ones are treated with respect and ceremony, and assume that this is the result of present-day attitudes toward death and dying.

In reality, today’s funerals are often less ostentatious than those of our forebears. The Victorians were notorious for making burial into a lengthy and expensive process, often going into mourning for an entire year after the headstone was erected. Not only would they pay to have the full procession, wake, and burial, but they’d continue to purchase black mourning clothes and avoid parties for months afterward.

The Victorians weren’t the only ones to make a show out of death. Some of the most expensive funerals in history took place during a time when money was tight and the everyday man paid the biggest price.

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What Type of Metal Should I Choose for the Casket?

July 10th, 2014

What Type of Metal Should I Choose for the Casket?When making funeral plans for a loved one, around 60 percent of families who opt for burial choose metal caskets. These sleek-looking designs are hailed as the best choice if you are hoping to preserve the integrity of the casket for as long as possible. Although your loved one’s remains will decay no matter what, the metal caskets will stay intact for hundreds of years.

Of course, “metal” is an all-encompassing term, and you have several types of caskets to choose from. Here’s a brief overview of what you can expect.

  • Gauged Steel Caskets: The most common types of metal caskets are made of a lightweight steel alloy, which is offered in various gauges. You’ll most likely see options like 16-gauge steel, 18-gauge steel, and 20-gauge steel. These numbers are used to identify how thick the metal is, with lower numbers being thicker than the higher numbers. (For comparison purposes, most household sinks are 18-gauge steel.) Because of their relative thickness, lower gauges are more expensive than higher ones, and most families can choose the low-cost 20-gauge steel without noticing any difference in appearance. Read the rest of this entry »

Common Funeral Planning Mistakes

July 7th, 2014

Common Funeral Planning MistakesFuneral planning is never an easy task, especially since it’s something few people are trained for (and because it’s something you hopefully don’t have to practice very often). Being caught unaware of the correct protocol is one of the easiest ways to overpay or get taken advantage of, which is why it’s a good idea to become familiar with the biggest funeral planning pitfalls ahead of time.

  • Waiting until the Last Minute: Don’t wait until a terminal illness or catastrophe brings funeral planning to the forefront. The best funeral plans are made when you and your loved ones are in good health and are able to make calm, rational decisions with plenty of time to think them over.
  • Going with the First Funeral Home You Come Across: You may get a recommendation from a hospital or hospice. You might call the first funeral home you see in the phone book. You could even stick to the same funeral home you used the last time a death occurred. While these are great ways to find a funeral home, be sure and call around for additional Read the rest of this entry »

What Type of Wood Should I Choose for the Casket?

July 4th, 2014

What Type of Wood Should I Choose for the Casket?

For the typical U.S. burial, an estimated one-third of families opt for wood caskets. Unlike their metal counterparts, wood caskets aren’t pitched as offering high preservation qualities, and instead are chosen for their lower cost and general elegance. Because you are talking about an organic material, wood caskets will decay faster than metal ones, with “softer” woods holding up for a shorter amount of time than hardwoods.

The harder and less porous the wood, the more expensive it will be. So too will the finish of the wood and the details contribute to the cost.


What to Do When Your Family Doesn’t Like Your Funeral Plans

May 25th, 2014

Funeral at a cemeteryLike part of a growing trend of Americans, you’ve pre-arranged your funeral to save your family from heartache after your death. You made the decision between cremation and burial, and set aside the appropriate funds to cover the entire ceremony. Now all that rests between you and completing your advance funeral arrangements is sitting down to inform your family of the details.

While most families appreciate the time, effort, and money that goes into advance funeral planning, this isn’t always the case. If you deviate from tradition or plan for something out of the ordinary, you may find yourself facing a family who not only disagrees with your funeral plans, but who are honestly hurt by the decisions you have made.

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How Many Cemetery Plots Should I Buy?

May 21st, 2014

Cemetery at SunsetOne of the most common ways to begin your funeral pre-planning is to purchase a cemetery plot well in advance of death. Because these parcels of land are fairly expensive (expect them to range between $2,000 and $4,000), getting the payments done and out of the way is a great way to reduce future funeral costs.

Of course, doing anything this far in advance means you to need to think long and hard about what you want out of your funeral package. Cemetery plots are very stationary things, and while some contracts allow you to buy and sell them after your original purchase is complete, this option isn’t always guaranteed.

How Many Cemetery Plots?

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Benefits of an Outdoor Funeral

May 18th, 2014

Outside funeral service in natureMost funeral plans revolve around a fairly traditional ceremony. Whether at the funeral home or at a local place of worship, family and friends gather to say prayers, sing hymns, share stories about the deceased, and pay their parting respects. While the details surrounding this ceremony vary (in addition to location, you can make decisions regarding funeral music, funeral attire, food and beverage options, audio-visual components, and the officiant), most of us have a fairly good idea of how the process works.

So too do we envision the graveside service. When the deceased chooses to be buried, it’s common to hold a second service at the cemetery, to say prayers and watch as the deceased is lowered into the ground.

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Everything You Need to Know about Rental Caskets

May 13th, 2014

Hardwood Casket There’s no denying that funeral planning is an expensive endeavor, and any way you can cut funeral costs is worth looking into. And one of the most costly parts of the funeral—the casket—is high on that list.

A casket for burial or cremation can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on the material, finish, and quality of the casket. While a simple container or box is usually sufficient, most families opt for more ornate hardwoods or stainless steel to better display the body (especially if there’s an open casket or viewing). In an effort to reduce prices and still provide families with what they want, some funeral homes are turning to rental caskets.

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What to Send instead of Funeral Flowers

May 8th, 2014

Old Family ArtefactsThere’s no denying that it has become commonplace to send sympathy flowers and funeral bouquets to show your regard for the dearly departed. Adding a touch of color to the memorial service and bringing hope to the family, funeral flowers are a great way to demonstrate support and love.

However, funeral flowers aren’t for everyone. Whether the family asks you to skip the blooms in lieu of a charitable contribution, or if the deceased was concerned for the environment and is asking for a green funeral, you may be asked to send an alternative sympathy gift. Here are few ideas.

  • “In Lieu of” Donations: The most common non-floral gift is one of money. Many families will select a charity that meant something special to the deceased and ask for contributions to be made in his or her name. You can also find a charity of your own to support. Whether you formally make the donation in the deceased’s name, or if you give the money and leave things there, these kinds of gifts are lasting and meaningful. Read the rest of this entry »

Types of Musicians to Hire for a Funeral

May 4th, 2014

Music for a memorial serviceOne of the most time-honored parts of planning a funeral is choosing what kind of music you’d like to have played for the service. Evoking the right mood and playing favorites of the deceased is a great way to make a funeral memorable without huge costs, and it adds a personal touch that is both respectful and appropriate.

Music at funerals is often played in the background as people arrive and depart. It can also be used as a part of the service or to accompany the casket being lowered into the ground. Some families also have music playing during the funeral luncheon or reception. However you choose to set the stage is up to you.

While selecting songs and playing them on an iPod or sound system is perfectly acceptable, you can also take things one step further by hiring live Read the rest of this entry »


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