Like any other important consumer decision, it makes sense to shop around before choosing a funeral home. This may sound morbid, but it can prevent you from having to pay excessive fees and from receiving poor service.
If possible, look for a funeral home that is conveniently located, close to where you live and that is accessible to guests. Particularly if there are visitors from out of town, transporting guests can be a hassle. This can be aggravated if the funeral home is far away or difficult to find.
There should be adequate facilities to ensure the comfort of guests, such as sufficient parking, seating for elderly guests, and adequate bathroom facilities.
It is also important that the funeral home provides a comfortable environment, where mourners feel at ease. It is most helpful to see the site of the ceremony yourself, but it may also be possible to rely on the referral of a trusted friend.
The benefit of helpful and friendly staff cannot be overstated. Not only will they make the funeral a much calmer process, their professionalism will aid with the smooth-running of the service.
By interviewing a number of funeral directors or visiting several funeral homes, or through word of mouth referrals, it should be possible to find a funeral home with caring and friendly staff.
The funeral service
A funeral service should respect the wishes of the deceased. The most basic consideration is the fate of the body. For example, did the person wish to be buried or cremated? The right funeral home will have the facilities appropriate to the deceased's wishes.
Religious considerations can also affect the choice of funeral home. Enquire if the home is able to accommodate the appropriate religious officials and services. Some religious ceremonies, such as Hindu cremation, will require specialised facilities.
Different funeral homes will offer varying levels of service and different options.
If you wish to have an open casket ceremony, ensure that the home has an embalming service and find out how they will prepare the body. Make sure the funeral home provides suitable coffins at reasonable prices. Ensure that there is adequate space for guests to pay their respects.
The more comprehensive the level of service, the better. Arranging a funeral is stressful enough without having to focus on the minutiae of the service. It will therefore be helpful if the funeral home arranges a hearse and vehicles for mourners and provides all the necessary staff and equipment for the burial or cremation.
However, while these comforts will cost money, a dignified funeral needn't be excessively pricey. Funeral home staff should not push exorbitant caskets or unnecessary services. Do not be afraid to decline services you consider in excess of your needs.