There is no question that funerals are less formal today than even just a decade ago. This change, however, has not been as a result of changes in the funeral industry, but by the very people it serves. Families and those preplanning their final services have requested less dark and somber final services. In many cases, “Celebrations of life” have replaced these traditionally sorrowful ceremonies.
That’s not to say, however, that the purpose of final services has changed. They still help us share together in our grief at the loss of a loved one. Final services help us say goodbye, express our sorrow and recognize the achievements of a departed.
From lighter, tongue-in-cheek obituaries through produced video tributes, funerals have changed dramatically. This includes the more relaxed, modern tone that is often set during visitation.
The Purpose of Visitations
The main purpose of visitation is to express your condolences to those closet to the departed. There is simply no better or meaningful way to do this than in person. A visitation serves the additional purpose of allowing us to share stories and experiences with others mourning the loss. This is the time when family and friends gather together in remembrance. In most cases, there is no reason for this gathering to be a deeply dark one.
What is Appropriate Attire?
Traditionally, dark suits and dresses or skirts where the norm for funerals. One still can’t go wrong in this type of apparel for a visitation, today however, more casual business attire is acceptable. Unless the family or the deceased has previously requested it, however, ultra-casual clothing should be avoided. In some cases, where the deceased was a big supporter of a certain sports team, wearing the team’s colors or even a team jersey could be acceptable. It is best to clear that attire with someone close to the family first, however.
What to Say?
This is a point of stress for many, and it doesn’t need to be. When appropriate introduce yourself and those in your party and how you knew the departed. From there a simple personal comment like “He always made me laugh.”, “She was always no nice to me.” followed by quick condolences such as “I’m so sorry.” will usually be just fine. This can be accompanied by a hug or warm handshake, depending on your comfort level.
The Importance of Pre-Planning
The changes in modern final services make it more important than ever for family members to begin to talk about and pre-plan funeral arrangements. Pre-planning can remove any doubt about whether a person desired to have a traditional burial or be cremated. It can help a family’s comfort level with having a more casual service or creating a celebration of life.
At The Cremation Society of Northern Kentucky, part of our mission is helping families in the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area understand the changes and options available in funeral services today. We can help show you the thoughtful and beautiful keepsakes that can be made using just a few of the cremains of the departed to create lasting memories. We’ll help guide you through the wide array of contemporary urns that you can feel proud to display. In your time of need or for pre-planning assistance, we would appreciate the opportunity to serve your family.