Pros and Cons of a Small, Private Funeral Service
In a time when many people are looking to reduce funeral costs and simplify the process of burial or cremation, it is becoming more common to consider a private funeral service. Although celebrities and notable figures almost always have private funerals, the average services are open to the public. This means that you broadcast a time and place in an obituary or death notice, and anyone who wishes to attend may show up to pay their respects.
While this process can and does work for many families, it might not be the right fit for you. Here are a few pros and cons to holding a smaller closed funeral service just for you and the immediate family.
Why Go Private?
- You don’t have to put on a brave front. It can be difficult to manage your grief in a room full of well-wishers. You might struggle to conceal or show emotion for the sake of others. You may find small talk wearying. You might even have to deal with family drama, which is the last thing anyone wants at this time. When you close a funeral to everyone but those you invited, you can control these situations better.
- Lower funeral costs. While most funerals cost the same whether you have 40 or 140 guests, you can save money by keeping things very small. There is no need for pomp and ceremony when there are only a handful of guests in attendance, and you can typically skip things like embalming, higher-end caskets, showy funeral flowers, and a burial service.
- No need for endless funeral planning. If the deceased did not make advance funeral arrangements, the task will fall entirely to you. Holding a private ceremony means you can skip the heavy decision making and focus on your grief instead.
Why Go Public?
- Avoiding conflict with family and friends. Not being invited to a funeral can trigger hurt feelings for those who are left out. Although you can (and do) have the right to hold a funeral however you want, you may need to take the feelings of others into account.
- Provide closure for all who need it. Oftentimes, our lives are touched in a big way by people who might not be aware of the impact they had. Nothing confirms this more than a funeral. When you allow members of the community to attend a funeral, you allow everyone an opportunity to come to terms with their loss—and to even learn some things about the deceased that you may not have known.
- Adhere to traditions. No matter how many changes and innovations enter the industry, funeral planning is still very much a traditional process. If the deceased would have wanted to adhere to religious and cultural customs, it may be a good idea to honor those wishes.
At the end of the day, you are in charge of funeral planning, and the decision to go public or private rests with you. Depending on your budget, your situation, the wishes of the deceased, and the story behind your loss, you may have your own reasons for choosing what you do. If possible, talk to your loved ones during the funeral pre-planning stages to ensure that things are done in accordance with the wishes of the deceased—and of the family as a whole.
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By Amy Johnson