As the planning begins, you may be introduced to new words and terms that are associated with the funeral planning process. We have provided a quick glossary for your reference.
Arrangement conference – The meeting with the funeral director in which you discuss your wishes for the funeral, method of disposition. We'll also gather vital information for processing documents, such as death certificates.
Burial – Earth burial at a cemetery is historically the most traditional method for final disposition of the body.
Celebrant – A non-denominational officiant who provides personalized services to a family to create a meaningful funeral or memorial service, often in cases in which the person had no religious affiliation, or asked for a non-liturgical service. Celebrants can also weave together personal stories with selected prayers, readings, or humor, to act as a guide during a family-led funeral service.
Columbarium – An above-ground structure for final disposition of cremated remains.
Committal service – A brief graveside ceremony held with the casket or urn present before it is lowered into the ground.
Cremation – A form of disposition that involves reducing the body through intense heat to cremated remains. Cremation can take place with or without a memorial service, and can occur before or after a funeral has taken place. Cremation offers flexibility in service times and can open up countless ways to memorialize someone who's passed away.
Crypt – An above ground burial site in a mausoleum. Crypts are designed to accommodate a full-size adult casket, but can also often house urns for families who choose cremation.
Embalming – A respectful method of preserving the body for a number of days following the death, allowing the family to offer a public viewing the body or hold the funeral service on a day that is convenient for out-of-town friends and relatives. Embalming is rarely required by law, but can serve a useful purpose, depending on the type of service you select.
Entombment – Placement of the casket in an above-ground mausoleum.
Funeral – The ceremony that honors the end of a person’s life, the word 'funeral' traditionally refers to a service at which the deceased's body is present.
Honorarium – The voluntary, but customary, fee typically paid to a clergyperson or celebrant for officiating the funeral ceremony and to musicians or soloists for their time and talent.
Mausoleum – A small building in a cemetery that serves as a collection of above-ground enclosed resting-places, housing a casket or caskets in a permanent stone structure. Mausoleums can be a community structure or a private family mausoleum.
Niche – One of a number of recesses in the wall of a columbarium where the urn containing cremated remains is placed.
Obituary – A notice in the newspaper that announces the death to the community, summarizes the person’s life and invites readers to attend the funeral and/or make memorial contributions in the name of the person who died.
Pallbearers – The people who carry the casket from the ceremony to the hearse and from the hearse to the gravesite.
Urn – A small vase-like container specially designed for holding cremated remains.
Vault – A concrete or metal container into which a casket or urn is placed before burial at a cemetery to protect the integrity of the cemetery grounds, to prevent the weight of the earth from collapsing in on the urn or casket, and in some cases to provide a means of protection from the underground elements.
Visitation – A scheduled time for family and friends to see the person who died, perhaps for the final time.