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Funeral or Celebration? How Services Have Changed

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Funeral services used to be relatively standard affairs. Casket, officiant, prayers and burial. Nowadays? Gone are the rules, according to Dignity Memorial® representatives.

Much of those changes have come about as a result of the growing popularity of cremation. The cremation rate in the United States has been increasing steadily with the national average rate rising from 3.56 percent in 1960 to 48.6 percent in 2015. Projections from the Cremation Association of North America forecast a rate of 54.3 percent in 2020.

“Not more than 40 years ago, cremation was viewed as a fad,” said Bob Boetticher, Jr., market director for Dignity Memorial. “What cremation has allowed is time – an opportunity to take care of a family’s immediate needs without a ticking clock. Traditional burials usually happen three or four days after a death. Cremation gives people the time to come together later. That’s very common now.”

Time also allows families the opportunity to plan and create more of a celebration for their loved ones. “There’s a lot more personalization today than there was in the past,” Boetticher noted.

“Gone is the standard memorial folder with the order of service. Folders are more visual with a picture of the deceased and color collage of the life that was lived, and music relative to the person who died rather than traditional organ music. Many times today, you walk into a chapel and see a slide show that takes people back in time to great places. The service can include clergy, but it doesn’t have to. Today you see celebrants or even a master of ceremonies.”

Successful funeral companies have evolved to include reception rooms, catering and technology that supports videos and slide shows.

Some things do remain the same, though. “Families still want to get together and share stories, and have the opportunity to say goodbye,” Boetticher noted. “People still want to share a life well-lived. Now the stories are told through videos and photos.”

Additional Resources:

5 Ways to Create a Personalized Memorial Service
How to Begin the Final Wishes Conversation
Compose Your Life SongSM Music Generator

Last revised: February 23, 2018

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