Advice on Choosing a Casket
Many people find the decision of burial versus cremation to be the easiest decision to make during funeral planning. Most of us already have some idea where we stand on the topic, and we know how our funeral budget will dictate our actions. If you have decided that burial is right for you or a loved one, it is easy funeral planning from there, right?
Unfortunately, burial is not that simple. Once you have chosen burial over cremation, you still need to determine what kind of casket is best.
Types of Caskets
Although you can buy a casket in everything from plastic to cardboard, most people opt for either a metal or a wood casket. Providing an elegant and solid burial vessel, metal and wood caskets include materials like:
- Stainless Steel
- Wood Veneer
Casket costs vary depending on the type you choose, but you can expect the semi-precious metals like bronze and copper to cost more than straightforward steel, while premium hardwoods (like mahogany) tend to come in a lot higher the common hardwoods (such as poplar).
Additional Casket Features
What the casket is made of will dictate the price and overall aesthetic, but there are many smaller features you can shop for, as well. You can personalize a casket by making a grand gesture (such as adding a customized paint job to the outside) or with more subtle changes. These include:
- Choosing a lining
- Opting for drawers/panels where you can place personal items
- Special embroidery on the lining/overthrows
- Designs/medallions for the exterior
- Picture frames in the interior
- Commemorative panels
Less Common Casket Choices
Not everyone needs a casket for display purposes. While those who opt for a full, traditional funeral or body viewing/wake may wish to choose a beautiful, expensive casket, it is becoming fairly common for families to skip having the body on display at all. If this is what you choose, you can save quite a bit on funeral costs by selecting a low-end casket. Look for materials like:
How to Choose a Casket
When you enter a funeral home to begin funeral planning, you might be directed toward the high-end caskets on display first. There is no rule that says you have to choose these if you don’t want to, so be sure to ask for a full catalog of options (or the General Price List) to review all your options. You can also shop online or at a third-party vendor in order to find the perfect casket for your family.
How you bury a loved one isn’t nearly as important as making sure that you are comfortable with your choice. With funeral costs as high as they are and many families opting for simplicity over fanfare, all caskets are appropriate as you say your final goodbyes.