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   • Frequently Asked Questions •
 Why is having a funeral ceremony important?
Throughout human history, and around the globe, people have gathered together to acknowledge the death of a member of the community. No matter who the deceased was, a funeral ceremony is the one (and sometimes the only) opportunity for everyone to come together to acknowledge the death, recognize the community’s shared loss, and share the burden of grief.
What is the average cost of a funeral service?
The National Funeral Directors Association states that the national average cost of a funeral in 2017 was $7,360 (however, if a burial vault is required by the cemetery– and it usually is–the average cost can rise as high as $8,755). These statistics aside, the cost of a funeral service is wholly dependent on the specific services and products selected by the family member(s) responsible for making funeral arrangements. Your funeral director will thoroughly explain all options, ask the important questions about your family’s budget restrictions and otherwise do everything he or she can to provide you with a funeral, memorial service or celebration of life that meets your emotional and social needs, all the while staying in line with your financial expectations.
How does the cost for a funeral ceremony compare to the cost of a memorial service or celebration of life?
Attempting to compare the costs of the three is rather like trying to compare oranges, mangoes, and apples; it can’t be done. Perhaps it’s easier to see funerals, memorial services, and celebrations of life as three points on a spectrum-a range, if you like-of ceremonial formats. At one end is the funeral; at the other, the celebration of life, and in the middle, the memorial service. The funeral is most commonly the most expensive of the three which is especially easy to see when you consider the cost of the casket is a significant expense. The cost of any of the three is totally dependent on the choices you make during the arrangement conference.
Who should be invited to a funeral?
This is a lot like asking “who should be invited to a wedding?” People who would want to be there. A person’s role at a funeral is two-fold: one, they are there to demonstrate support for the bereaved family; two, funeral guests are there to tend to their own sorrow; to begin to come to terms, in the safety of a shared collective experience, with the death of someone they held dear. While it’s not common to send out invitations to a funeral (generally, the service details are published in the newspaper or online, and those who wish to attend, do) it does make a certain amount of sense to reach out to certain individuals by phone, email, or social media to ensure they are aware of the service date/time (and express your desire for their presence).
When preparing the guest list for a funeral service, you should both listen to your heart and use common sense. You know the people that mattered most to your loved one, as well as those who mattered least. Whatever you do, don’t invite more people than the venue can comfortably handle.
Is it necessary to have flowers at the ceremony?
Flowers create a background of warmth and beauty which adds to the dignity and consolation of the funeral service. “Necessary” may not be the right word but there’s no doubt flowers at a funeral or other end-of-life ceremony serve valuable purposes including a means of a visual expression of sympathy, love, and respect or a means of lending support.
What does the phrase “in lieu of flowers” mean?
You may have read this phrase in an obituary: “In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to...” Derived from the French phrase, “en lieu”, strictly speaking, “in lieu” means “in place”; so it can be said to be a directive sentence: “In place of flowers, contributions may be made to...” But it’s really important to realize that its use doesn’t imply you can’t send flowers to the service; it is only meant to offer you a choice of ways to show your sympathy for the family and show your respects for the deceased. Only when the obituary states “no flowers please” are you being requested to abstain from sending floral tributes or sympathy arrangements.
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