Can you imagine having a big wedding without doing all the planning? As good as that might sound since you’d be skipping the stress, most of us would never even consider it. With all the details–from choosing the venue to selecting the food–it’s just not practical.
So if you can’t imagine having that storybook wedding without doing the work on the front-end, why would you consider having your funeral that way? In truth, most people recognize the importance of funeral planning. A recent survey by the National Funeral Directors Association found that more than 62% of people feel it’s important to let their family know what they want for their funeral plans but less than 22% actually do it. In other words, we know we should create a funeral plan but we never get around to it.
Of course, thinking about planning a funeral can be hard. It forces us to confront our own mortality or the mortality of a loved one. Add that to the prospect of the actual planning part, and it can be pretty intimidating. But, believe it or not, planning your funeral can also be very rewarding. You are commemorating your ultimate life event and freeing your loved ones of the burden of trying to guess what you would want. As an added bonus, when you do your own planning you are in control. You can decide how much you want to spend, who you want to be there, and what type of celebration you want.
When you are ready to plan (Pro Tip: get started now!), you can take out a pad of paper and start making notes or take advantage of the online tools that are there to help. With the Funeralwise Wise Planning System Quick Plan, you can create a basic plan in less than 5 minutes. Once you save your Quick Plan you’ll be automatically upgraded to the Wise Plan Essentials. To see how the Quick Plan and the Wise Plan Essentials compare, click here.
Wise Plan Essentials is a powerful step up from the Quick Plan. It gives you the ability to more finely tune your cost estimates, define the type of service you’d like, and store information for the people you’d like contacted in the case of your death. You can even request a final expense insurance quote.
So instead of thinking about funeral planning as a dreaded task. Think about it the way you would think about planning a wedding. To help get you in the right frame of mind, here are some of the ways that planning a funeral is just like planning a wedding.
10 Surprising Ways That Planning a Funeral is Just like Planning a Wedding
1. Both weddings and funerals commemorate key milestones in our lives.
A wedding celebrates a beginning, a funeral acknowledges an ending. Both are occasions where friends and family gather together to share an important event in someone’s life. The trend away from traditional funerals toward “Celebrations of Life” is an acknowledgment of this. Recognizing what made the deceased’s life unique is an important part of the mourning process.
2. They both require planning and lots of it.
One of the most common complaints about traditional funerals is that they are impersonal and cookie cutter. A “good” funeral is one that is personal and connects the ceremony to those who are mourning a loss. Creating this type of special event does not happen by chance. Instead, it takes some planning and thought. Planning a funeral doesn’t have to be a torturous task but rather, it is an opportunity to reflect on a life well-lived. When you remember the purpose of the funeral, ask for help if you need it, and engage others in the process, it can be extremely rewarding. Don’t forget to share your plans with a loved one so that when the time comes your family knows exactly what you want.
3. Weddings and funerals can be expensive and you’ll need to find a way to pay for them.
You don’t have to break the bank to have a meaningful funeral. Planning ahead is your best defense against the spending traps that can befall you or your loved ones when making decisions during an emotional time. A key step is setting a budget. A budget helps you evaluate how the cost of individual items will impact the amount you have in mind. Many people opt to purchase funeral insurance to ensure that there are funds to cover end-of-life expenses.
4. You’ll have lots of decisions to make.
Whether it’s a wedding or a funeral, you will have to make choices about a lot of things, both big and small. That can be a good thing because it gives you a lot of flexibility. Your funeral can be as simple or as elaborate as you like; go all out or keep it simple and stick to a modest budget. It’s entirely up to you. Planning ahead gives you the power to decide for yourself the type of burial (if you want one), service, and reception that is best for you.
5. You can get help both online and in-person.
A new and growing service for handling funeral arrangements is the Funeral Celebrant. These professionals operate much like wedding planners. They work with you to design a service that meets your goals and objectives. There are also online tools, like the Funeralwise Wise Planning System that let you record your wishes, estimate costs, and designate a trusted person to make sure your funeral is taken care of the way you want.
6. Those who care about you will have the chance to gather together to share memories.
Weddings and funerals give your friends and family the opportunity to gather together to share memories, stories, and remembrances. Whether it is a heartfelt toast or an emotional eulogy, those who care about you want the chance to participate and support each other. We are fond of saying that funerals are for the living. Of course, weddings are too! With so many families spread from place to place, it is more important than ever to offer those who are beginning the journey through grief, the chance to support each other.
7. Flowers, Music, and Readings!
There are many similarities between the elements of a wedding service and a funeral service. Both are replete with symbols like flowers and both make use of music, readings, poems, and scripture to convey messages about the occasion and the people who are being honored. Regardless of the type of ceremony you choose, there are numerous ways to incorporate both traditional and contemporary songs or texts. Funeralwise has many examples of funeral songs and funeral readings that can be used for inspiration.
8. It’s an emotional time (make decisions wisely).
Both weddings and funerals can mean big money. The best thing you can do is to try to make your buying decisions dispassionately and with your budget in mind. In both cases, planning ahead can make it much easier to shop around, consider your choices, and decide what you really need to create the kind of ceremony you have in mind. You may not be able to avoid the big-ticket items but it is possible to keep costs under control.
9. The “right” rituals will depend on your religion and culture.
Chances are the ceremony you envision is based in large part on the traditions of your religion, culture, and family. There are many resources available that can help you decide which elements are appropriate. In most cases, it is perfectly acceptable to mix traditional and modern elements. Your celebrant, funeral director, or clergy member can help guide you in determining what is appropriate in your particular circumstance.
10. What makes a good one is that it fits the personality of the person(s) being celebrated.
If you’ve ever been to a “good” wedding then you know that there was something that made it just a little bit different and it was likely unique to the individuals who were being honored. The same is true for funerals. A “good” funeral pays tribute to the person who has passed and reflects his or her personality. The section of our website that covers Celebrations of Life is rich with information on how you can personalize your funeral or the funeral of a loved one.
The hardest part of planning a funeral is getting started. But diving in and getting your thoughts down is well worth it. Once you do, you can rest assured that your funeral plan is done in a way that is special, affordable, and memorable. You’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that your loved ones will know exactly what you wanted.