5 Questions to Ask If You Want an Open Casket Funeral for Your Loved One

Posted on: 24 July 2017

Many people choose to have an open-casket viewing for their deceased loved ones. That can be part of the funeral, the wake or just a general visitation, and many people find it to be a soothing way to say goodbye. As you are searching for a funeral home for your loved one, you may want to ask the funeral director the following questions.

1. Is an Open-Casket Possible?

Unfortunately, in some cases, open caskets are not possible. For example, if your lost loved one suffered a brutal death that involved disfiguration, it may not be possible to have an open casket. However, even in these cases, you may be able to arrange a private viewing, but it's important to think carefully about how seeing your loved one in that condition could be upsetting.

2. Do You Have Experience in the Reconstructive Arts?

It's also important to remember that different funeral directors have different skills. If one director says open casket is not possible, you may want to speak to a few other professionals and see if they have experience with the reconstructive arts. Many funeral directors do extensive training to learn how to use makeup and other techniques to make your deceased loved one look as peaceful and natural as possible.

3. Do You Offer Embalming?

After death, the decomposition process starts right away. Typically, to have a viewing, you need embalming. Almost all funeral homes offer embalming, but to be on the safe side, you may want to ask. If you opt not to have embalming, you generally need to have the viewing as soon as possible.

4. Can You Transport the Body?

If you plan to have an open casket service in your place of worship, you need a funeral home that can transport the body to the service and then, after that to the gravesite or crematorium. Similarly, if you want to do a wake in your home, you need transportation for that.

5. Can We Hold a Visitation in the Funeral Home?

On the other hand, if you don't plan to hold the viewing in one of those places, you need a spot at the funeral home. Many funeral homes have chapels for any type of religious ceremonies or homey spaces where you can have a wake. It's important to chat about amenities as well. Namely, will the funeral home allow you to bring in food or drinks, or does it just encourage a short visitation and then you have to hold the reception somewhere else.

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