Whether you’re planning for yourself or for a loved one, Final Arrangements (cemetery & funeral needs) are one of the most important elements of a person’s end of life journey. They should reflect the uniqueness of the life they honor. Regardless of whether you or your loved one have opted for burial or for cremation, the funeral or memorial service plays an important role. Your Final Arrangements should:
- Honour, recognize and celebrate the life of the deceased in a meaningful way
- Allow friends and family to say their last good-byes
- Provide closure after the loss of a loved one
- Allow friends to console the family of the loved one
When considering Final Arrangements for yourself or a loved one, one of the first decisions you might make is whether you prefer burial or cremation. This decision often influences other important considerations, such as purchase of a grave, niche or scattering.
Memorial or Tribute Service
At a memorial or tribute service, the body of the deceased is not present. If the individual being memorialized has been cremated, the ashes may be present in an urn.
As the name implies, a graveside service may be held at the grave site just prior to burial of a casket or urn, and usually consists of final remarks, prayers or memories. The service may occur before or after the cremation or burial has taken place.
There’s no one right way to plan your Final Arrangements. Whatever you decide, it should be unique and memorable, reflecting and honoring a life that has been lived.
When planning your own Memorial or Tribute Service in advance, think about the way you want to be remembered. Perhaps you’d like a service observing your family's religious or ethnic customs. A celebration focusing on great memories made with family and friends may be your preference. Maybe it’s a combination of both. You can have one service, or several, to honour your life.
Regardless of the service or services you choose to include in your Final Arrangements, you can personalize them in almost any way imaginable. For example, consider the following questions:
- Where should the service be held? At your place of worship? On the cemetery grounds?
- Who should officiate the service?
- Will your service adhere to the traditions of your faith or culture?
- What music should be played?
- What readings would you like to have read?
- Is there a special poem you’d like shared with the guests?
- Are there any special photographs or other memorabilia you would like displayed?
- Is there a particular emblem or engraving you want on your headstone or marker?
- Should there be refreshments served or a more elaborate party held after the service?
The choice of burial or cremation, cemetery property, or “interment rights,” is another consideration when making Final Arrangements, either for yourself in advance, or for a loved one.
A common misconception people often have when they purchase the right of interment in a cemetery is that they have purchased the land itself, when in fact what they have really purchased is the right to be interred (also referred to as buried, entombed, enniched or placed) on or in that particular piece of property.
Most people are familiar with the concept of burial, or “interment,” but may not be aware of the variety of options that are often available. Woodland offers any of the following:
- Ground Burial: burial of the casket below ground. A “vault” or “outer burial container” is optional.
- Monument Lots with upright monuments (1-3 graves)
- Monument Lots with pre-installed upright monuments (1-3 graves)
- Marker Lots with flat markers (1-2 graves)
All Woodland lots allow either of the following:
- One full adult burial, with up to 3 cremation burials overtop.
- Four cremation burials.
Many people overlook the importance of cemetery property for those who choose cremation, but permanent placement, or “final disposition,” of the ashes or “cremated remains” is an important part of Final Arrangements. Just consider:
- A permanent site gives loved ones a physical place for visitation and reflection.
- The ceremony accompanying the placement of an urn in a cremation niche or a cremation garden in a cemetery provides family and friends with closure after the loss of a loved one.
- When ashes of a loved one are kept with relatives, they can easily become misplaced or discarded through the years, as future generations may not feel a connection to the deceased.
- A permanent placement provides future generations with a location to visit when researching heritage.
Woodland Cemetery offers the following options for final disposition of cremated remains:
- Cremation Niche: an above-ground space to accommodate a cremation urn.
- Columbarium: Often located within a mausoleum or chapel and constructed of numerous niches designed to hold urns.
- Scattering Garden: dedicated area designed for the scattering of cremated remains.
- Cremation Estate Lots with Monument:
- Allowing 2-4 sets of cremated remains.
- Cremation Estate Columbariums allowing 2-4 sets of cremated remains.