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TOPIC: How to reduce the cost of funeral?

Re:How to reduce the cost of funeral? 05 Mar 2010 10:29 #314

My husband passed away in July 2009. Since I own a memorial art business, I am pretty well versed in my options as far as end-of-life decisions. We had his body cremated, with a direct cremation, which cost about $800. My daughters, sister-in-law, and I planned a beautiful memorial service in our yard. We had about 200 guests, all of whom were asked to bring a dish to share. We actually had the most elegant potluck banquet I have ever experienced. I paid for the rental of an event tent, tables, chairs, tablecloths, etc. The emphasis, obviously, was on the fellowship that was shared after the ceremony, which was so heartfelt and beautiful - many people called it lifechanging! His urn will be handcarved by my daughter, who is an artist. I'm a huge advocate for memorial art, as the owner of [url]Shine On Brightly.[/url] I'm passionate about celebrating life with beauty. There's really no need to spend excessive amounts of money. Our memorial was by far one of the most beautiful events in every way, and we did it very economically.
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Re:How to reduce the cost of funeral? 22 Mar 2010 16:31 #322

I agree with your memorial and final resting choices. My mother passed away several weeks ago. She had a pre-need simple cremation package. I made a personal selection online of an urn that I thought best reflected the "Keeping" of my mother. I chose a brass urn, because metal is not likely to get broken if dropped, and because it had a nice, screw in metal lid. It was also inlayed with mother-of-pearl, which makes me think "mother" and personalized with engraving of her name and details. I also purchased some cremaiton jewelry for my brothers, a silver cylinder placed on key rings or chains with memroial engraving. I had a shocking encounter with funeral prices several years ago, and decided made my purchases online after a great deal of comparison shopping. I expected the funeral home urn prices to be very high, but was pleasantly surprised to find the prices were not much higher than the urn and shipping that I paid. [So, you may want to take your time ordering the urn, since they arrive quite quickly within a couple days, and compare funeral home prices before you purchase one.]

My mother was prepaid, without addition of services or anything else. We chose to hold a Celebration of Life Memorial Luncheon instead of a regular grief service. We planned it for one week after her passing because we wanted "Mama" to be present in her cremated state at the celebration. Instead of a dreary, sad service conducted by a priest, we gathered friends and relatives for a brunch to share their memories of Mama. We self-printed a nice memorial booklet that was eight pages loing, made out of two sheets of card paper folded in half. It created a Memorial booklet with a nice ragged edge card cover in beige and additional pages inside. I printed on all spaces available and included color backgrounds and art. This was all done on my home computer with card paper / envelope packages purchased at KMart. The total cost for 25 Memorial Programs, customized by me with my mother's input and approval (just two weeks prior to her death) was $25. I also made 50 memorial refrigerator magnets with her photo and dates for the immediate family out of business cards and business card adhesive magnets for just $30 more. The programs and magnets were received so well that many people asked for extras for extended family who could not attend. I made and mailed about two dozen more programs and magnets after the Celebration. The programs included a cover with Mama's photo and date details and small poem, the inside contained an invitation to her Celebration of Life Memorial, a copy of her obituary, a mini-biography of her life, poems dedicated to the loss of a mother, and two full pages of pictures of her (about ten in all) showing her from age 18 to just two weeks prior to her passing, posing with various family members like her sisters and my father. Mama was able to see it in its completion, make changes ans select the photos herself. She was very pleased.

We waited a week for The Celebration so we could get past our heaviest grieving. The Celebration entailed a little work. We manicured the lawn, set up tables and chairs, rearranged potted plants and flowers - all of which we already had (thankfully). We purchased and made quite a few food trays, and set up beverages. I wish we had thought to make it a potluck like you did, which was a great idea and allows everyone to feel involved and like they contributed (maybe next time?). Mama's urn was the center decoration of a table set up for the cards and plants we received. We made a request that no one send cut flowers or arrangements, but rather that they allow us to remember Mama with cards or live plants that we could keep and refer to over the years.

I believe, this type of memorial is so much better than the somber, stuffy funerals I have attended in the past. If such things are suppose to comfort the living, I found so much comfort in the way we managed our memorial for Mama, and I think every one who attended did as well. I believe even Mama found comfort in helping with her memorial before she passed. Isn't that what it's all about?
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