Earlier this year, a close friend of mine passed away. This sweet woman was incredibly unique. Besides adoring vintage clothing, she always had extremely short hair. After her death, her son wanted to plan a funeral service with her unique style in mind. So, he immediately started working with the helpful staff at a respected funeral home in our hometown. After relaying his desires to the professional employees at the funeral home, my friend’s son decided to omit a viewing on the night before the funeral. Instead, he had the funeral home staff bring his mother’s body to the church two hours before the funeral service. He also gave anyone who wanted to speak at the funeral service an opportunity. On this blog, I hope you will discover the wonderful ways the staff at a funeral home can help you plan a unique funeral for a loved one.
Planning a funeral can be difficult enough when you know that most of the people who will show up are family and friends that are known to you. But when you have to plan a funeral for a person who was in the public eye, even in a minor way, things can be more complicated. A person doesn't need to have been an international celebrity to draw a large crowd at their funeral — if your loved one was, for example, a popular local politician, it's likely that they touched many lives and that many people will want to pay their respects. What do you need to know about planning a funeral that's likely to have a large attendance?
Public or Private?
Unlike weddings and various other events, invitations are not typically sent out for funerals. Instead, they're usually considered to be open to the public unless otherwise stated. There are some good reasons for this — it's always possible that the person planning the funeral isn't aware of every other person that was important in the deceased person's life, and keeping funerals open to the public allows for the inclusion of people that you may not know to invite.
On the other hand, this can make crowd control difficult if the deceased person is very well known. You do have the option to make the funeral private. There are a couple of ways that you can do this. For example, you can include a notation in the obituary that the service will be private, or you can wait to publish an obituary until after the funeral and burial have taken place. You can also skip the funeral, have a burial, and plan a memorial service at some point in the future that you can invite people to as you wish.
In-Between Public And Private
There is also a middle ground available to you. Commemorating a death usually involves several different events that may or may not take place on the same day. There is the funeral or memorial service, the interment, and often, a reception that takes place after the other events.
It's completely acceptable to open the funeral or memorial service to the public but restrict the burial and reception to close friends and family only. The funeral home will most likely be able to handle a large crowd, while you may prefer a smaller crowd at the cemetery or in a reception held in a private home.
Considering the Wishes of the Deceased
This issue is one of many reasons why it's important to have conversations with your loved ones about what you or they will want for their funeral. If the deceased person expressed a clear wish for a private funeral or for a big memorial that is open to the public, your answer is clear: plan the funeral that your loved one asked for.
However, if a loved one passes away without expressing a clear wish about their own funeral, it can be harder to decide what to do. You'll need to balance your knowledge of your deceased loved one with the needs and desires of those closest to them, and that can be tricky. If your loved one was an outgoing person who might have wanted a funeral with a large attendance, but you or other relatives would rather not deal with a lot of people during this difficult time, you may find it difficult to decide how open or closed the funeral should be.
There's no one right answer to this dilemma. Some would argue that the likely wishes of the deceased person are paramount, others would argue that funeral and burial rituals are for the living and that the deceased person's closest living loved ones should have their preference. Your funeral director may be able to help you find a solution that works for everyone involved.
If you're in the position of planning the funeral for a public figure or well-known person, you may need some extra help, whether it's to accommodate a large crowd or to protect your family's privacy during the funeral. Don't hesitate to fill your funeral director in on the situation and ask for the assistance that you need.
For more information, contact a funeral home.
31 March 2021