This article identifies a variety of considerations related to holding a traditional funeral service. Reviewing these considerations will help you identify the type of funeral service that is most appropriate in your situation.
Advantages of a traditional funeral service
A traditional funeral service is the most popular –and therefore, socially acceptable- type of funeral service in America. The structured formality of the traditional funeral service may provide the family with a sense of comfort and closure not experienced in less formal service arrangements.
The traditional funeral affords ample time for friends and extended family to attend and support the surviving family members. A traditional funeral usually includes some type of viewing ceremony held one or two nights before the actual funeral. Since the funeral ceremony itself is almost always held during the daytime, this nighttime visitation allows friends to pay their respects, even if they work during the day. Also, by scheduling the traditional funeral three to six days after the death, extended family members have time to make travel arrangements, if necessary.
The traditional funeral provides many ways to celebrate the life of the deceased. Although the traditional funeral can be a fairly structured event, it also provides maximum flexibility in terms of casket choice, religious readings, flower arrangements, and eulogies.
Lastly, the expenses associated with a traditional funeral service leave plenty of room for negotiating a big discount. Using a resource like the Funeral Saver’s Kit to plan your funeral can often slash several thousands dollars from the funeral home’s bill.
Disadvantages of the traditional funeral service
The main disadvantage of the traditional funeral service is its cost. The traditional funeral service is the most expensive option in terms of service, disposition, and memorial costs. The average traditional funeral costs nearly $7,500 and often exceeds $10,000.
Many people also feel that traditional funeral services lack meaning. This is often the case when the family fails to personalize a highly-structured traditional funeral service. (The Funeral Savers Kit provides many useful tips that show you how to personalize the traditional funeral service for free.)
Holding a viewing during the evening, followed by the actual funeral service the next day, forces family and friends to make multiple trips to the funeral home (separate trips for viewing and funeral ceremonies). This may be an inconvenience for family members that are ill, disabled, or have to travel great distances. The traditional funeral also requires the greatest time commitment from the immediate family in terms of planning and attending ceremonies.
Unfortunately, the traditional funeral service is subject to the greatest amount of sales pressure from funeral home employees. Because there are many funeral goods and services associated with a traditional funeral, there are a lot of opportunities for the funeral home to sell overpriced (and often unnecessary) items under the guise of “tradition.”
The traditional funeral service, like any other type of funeral service, has both advantages and disadvantages. Considering both the benefits and costs associated with a traditional service allows you to make an appropriate choice for your family.
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