Planning a Loved One’s Funeral

Updated on June 11, 2020

Nobody wants to think about their loved ones dying, but it’s important to have a plan when the time comes so that you can honor the life they led. While some people will pass away with a detailed last will and testament, others’ wills may spend more time discussing how assets will be reallocated than how they want to have their life celebrated. Planning a loved one’s funeral can be an emotional time, and it never hurts to have a road map to refer to when facing such trying circumstances. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you’re planning the funeral or memorial of a friend or family member.

Determine what to do with the remains.

One of the biggest decisions that you’ll make when planning a funeral for a loved one is what to do with their remains. Different people have different feelings about how they want their remains to be dealt with, which is why it’s a good idea to discuss the topic as your loved one is reaching the end of their life. Casket burials were in vogue for many decades but have started to wane in popularity, in part because of the high costs associated with picking out a coffin, having the body prepared, finding a burial plot, and purchasing a headstone or grave marker.

Many people are instead choosing to turn to a cremation provider to be cremated rather than buried. The cremation process is a dignified way of handling someone’s remains, regardless of their religion. The ashes can then be kept in an ornate urn in a cemetery, brought home, or even scattered at a meaningful location.

Plan a wake or other gathering.

Once you’ve determined how you plan on handling your loved one’s remains, you’ll want to figure out the best way to honor them with friends and family members. This may involve planning a visitation or a wake so that people can come and pay their respects. Generally, you’ll want to have this set up with the funeral director ahead of time in such a way that you’ve planned a block of time for people to come during.

Make sure that you’re available to be there for the entirety of the time since many people like to talk to the other family members or friends and offer their condolences to you. Make sure that you set this up before you print an obituary since many people learning about the funeral from the newspaper will want to know when and how they can pay their respects.

What should you wear to a funeral service?

Picking the right outfit to attend a funeral service can be a tricky balancing act. That being said, there is some guidance that may prove helpful as you’re looking through your closet or shopping for the right clothes to wear. For starters, it’s important that everything you’re wearings fits you appropriately. You don’t want to be wearing clothes that are baggy on you or make you look disheveled, so it’s a good idea to buy things that are true to size. For smaller women, that may mean looking for petite womens clothing either online or in a store near you.

Keep things simple and respectful, opting for blacks or other dark shades to show that you’re in mourning. Makeup should also be simple and not flashy. Remember that you want to give your loved one a dignified sendoff, and anything overly colorful or ostentatious could run the risk of sending the wrong impression to the other guests who’ve gathered together to help honor your loved one’s life.


Senior Outlook Today is your go-to source for information, inspiration, and connection as you navigate the later years of life. Our team of experts and writers is dedicated to providing relevant and engaging content for seniors, covering topics such as health and wellness, finances, technology and travel.