Shedding Light on Four Common Funeral Misconceptions

Posted by: Erin Ward in Funeral Planning Resources, Funeral Advice | July 7
Many people aren’t well educated about the funeral planning process and overall funeral experience. This may be because death is an uncomfortable topic, so they haven’t talked about it or looked into it. Or someone may not have experienced the death of close loved ones, so they haven’t attended many funerals or had to plan one. For these reasons, there are several misconceptions about funerals out there. 

To shed some light on the truth behind some funeral misconceptions, let’s go over a few common ones. 

Check out this blog post to learn about four common grief misconceptions! 


You must embalm the body. 

Depending on what end-of-life arrangement you choose, you may not have to embalm the body. Whether it’s for religious beliefs or personal preferences, there are many reasons why someone may opt for an option that doesn’t involve embalming.  

For example, if you’re choosing a green burial option, embalming is typically skipped to be more environmentally friendly. Or if you’re choosing cremation and don’t want a public viewing, you may not need to embalm the body. In this case, you may be able to arrange a private viewing with close family members only.  

However, you should check with your chosen funeral home to see what their rules are regarding embalming, as it can vary depending on the state.  


If you choose cremation, you can’t have a viewing. 

For cremation, you can — and are encouraged to — still have a viewing prior to the cremation. By having a viewing, it can help loved ones accept the reality of their loss. You also could arrange for a private viewing before the cremation if you don’t want a public one. 

If you don’t want to have an open casket, you could have a visitation before the cremation with a closed casket. Or you could have a visitation after the cremation with the urn present. There are many options to choose from, so you should talk with your funeral director to see what’s possible and what they recommend. 


Only adults should attend funerals. 

Children grieve too, so attending the funeral can help them better understand the permanence of their loss. Of course, different age groups have different levels of understanding about death and grief. According to Psychology Today, by age 10 children typically have a better understanding about death.  

However, you should use your best judgment to decide whether or not to bring your children to a funeral. If you choose to bring them, many funeral homes have designated areas for children with toys and books to give them some comfort. You also can ask your funeral director for advice on talking to your children about death, such as what words you should use to describe the funeral. 

Funerals cost too much money. 

If your family is tight on funds, there are many ways to save on the funeral expenses so you can give your loved one the funeral that they deserve. To start, most funeral homes offer alternative payment options, like crowdfunding, financing, and even life insurance assignments as funeral payment. You should check with your chosen funeral home to see what options they offer. 

Along with alternative payment options, these are a few other cost-saving tips

  • Choose a funeral budget and don’t deviate from it. 
  • Split the costs among several family members. 
  • Determine whether the desired funeral elements are essential to have or would be nice if possible. 
  • Consider hosting the service at a family’s members house or backyard. 
  • Have a potluck for the post-funeral reception. 
What other funeral misconceptions have you heard? Share them in the comments.

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