An Open or Closed Casket at Your Loved One's Funeral? In a Way, You Can Have Both

When making the arrangements for your final farewell to a deceased loved one, certain questions will come up, with one, in particular, being potentially difficult to answer. Should the funeral service feature an open or closed casket? Some mourners might appreciate the opportunity to take a last look at their loved one, whereas others might find the situation too conflicting. This latter point can be particularly relevant when there might be children present at the service. So what's the best choice? In a way, it's possible to do both.

Separate from the Main Funeral Service

Instead of having an open casket at the funeral service itself, you can arrange for a viewing (also called a visitation) of your loved one. This is separate from the main service, and generally takes place the day before, or even the morning of, when the service is scheduled for the afternoon. It's essentially a gathering for all those who wish to attend in order to view their loved one this last time, with no obligation for those who would prefer to remember their loved one while they were still alive.

A Simple Occasion

Such an occasion is simple enough to arrange, and all you need to do is tell your funeral director that you wish to host a viewing. They will need to know the best time for this to take place, along with an approximate number of mourners who will be in attendance. It might be hosted in the funeral home's main chapel or in another side room, depending on availability and the number of guests.

An Informal Gathering

Beyond this, you really don't need to make any further plans. The point of a viewing is that it's an informal gathering. Certainly, it's a time of remembrance, but it differs from a funeral service in that it's unstructured. There are no speakers, no running order for different pertinent points and no music. There might be some discussion of shared memories of the deceased, but this will be about the extent of the proceedings. It's a quiet time of reflection, for those who feel that they need to attend. 

Having a closed casket service preceded by an open casket viewing is an effective means of ensuring that all those who wish to see the deceased one last time have the chance to do so, without being too confrontational for those who would prefer not to see their loved one in the casket.

To learn more about viewings, contact a funeral director in your area.