As cremation rates continue to rise across the United States, more and more families are now opting to have memorial services in lieu of a traditional funeral. Memorial services do offer certain advantages and as a funeral director, I believe this trend will continue to grow.
One of the primary reasons I believe more people are choosing cremation is the “time factors” involved. Families are extended across states (and countries) making the traditional two or three day funeral service not feasible. I hear quite often while making funeral plans, “we just can’t get everyone home to have a regular funeral.” Understandably, these families are choosing to wait until other family members can gather for services. Cremation allows for these time factors, giving families more latitude in scheduling service dates. This has lead to the increased popularity of memorial services in my opinion.
Service location is another reason why I believe more families are deciding on memorial services. Unlike a traditional funeral service which is usually held at a chapel, church or graveside, a memorial service may be held at any location that a family may decide to gather. This allows for personalization of the services. I’ve assisted families in coordinating memorial services from golf courses to cruise ships. Others simply desire to honor their loved ones with a few close friends from the serenity of their homes, at a date and time of their choosing.
Most funeral providers now offer special options for those families who desire memorial services outside traditional facilities. In many instances, funeral homes and other funeral facilities have special arrangements with local restaurants, hotels, banquet facilities, etc., that offer discounts and accommodations for these types of services and family gatherings. I advise checking with your funeral provider of choice before scheduling a memorial service at any these type of businesses. They may be able to assist you with referrals and other options that could lead to discounts and savings.
As with any growing trend, popularity will dictate options and offerings. The funeral industry is adapting to these changes with an increased focus on personalization of services. This will lead to more options for those families wishing to honor their loved ones in their own way.