March 25, 2021

Open vs Closed Casket

When it comes to planning a funeral, there are endless ways that you can honor your loved ones. Through music, colors, and burial locations, you can plan the perfect funeral that represents the things your loved one cherished. 

Over the years, cremation has risen in popularity due to many different factors, but that doesn’t mean a traditional service is out of the question. If you decide to do a traditional service, you also need to decide if you’re going to have an open or closed casket funeral. 

Here are some things you should consider to make the decision easier. 

What is An Open-Casket?

An open-casket funeral is just that – an open casket. During the funeral service, the body of your loved one is displayed in an open casket so family and friends can view and pay their respects. In order to have an open-casket funeral, the funeral home will have precautions to take prior to the viewing. 

The body will be embalmed. A body begins to decompose rather quickly after death, so the funeral home will embalm the body to prevent further decay. 

The body must be dressed. Depending on your culture, the family members will provide proper attire for the deceased to be displayed in. This can be a sacred robe, headwear, or article of clothing that your loved one enjoyed wearing while alive. In certain situations, the deceased may experience rapid weight loss or gain preceding death, so the burial clothing may need to be altered in order to fit properly. If alterations cannot be made, new clothing items may need to be purchased. 

The funeral home staff will place makeup on the body. Before the viewing, a funeral home staff member will use makeup on the exposed skin to give the skin a healthier look. A body can become pale and bruised, so makeup helps to preserve the look of your loved one and showcase them just as you remembered.

The funeral home staff will arrange the deceased’s hair. A funeral home staff member may ask the family for a photo of the deceased so the hair can be styled in a natural way that is similar to how they would have always worn it. 

Open-casket funerals are not as common as they used to be, but they are still a viable option for remembering your loved one on the day of the funeral. An open-casket doesn’t need to be displayed during the entire funeral. An open-casket can be displayed at a wake, vigil, or visitation and then a closed-casket can be on display on the day of the actual funeral. Although it can be a tough question to ask, it should be brought up in the final wishes of your loved ones before they pass.

What is a Closed-Casket? 

Just like an open-casket, a closed-casket is just the opposite – closed. A closed-casket funeral can happen if the body was displayed at an earlier time such as during a wake or vigil. If your loved one wishes to have a closed-casket funeral, it may not need to be embalmed. Embalming is typically done when the body will be viewed by friends and family during a celebration of life. 

For a closed-casket funeral, no special arrangements need to be made.

What Are Your Loved Ones Final Wishes? 

As you’re planning the funeral for your loved one, it’s important to understand what their final wishes were. If they didn’t have any specific final wishes planned, the decision can fall on the immediate family. Decide how you want your loved one to be honored and speak with the funeral director to make the necessary arrangements. 

Planning a funeral can be a daunting task, but we are here to make it a seamless process for you and your family. Our staff understands the emotional and physical stress you’ll be encountering, so we make sure everything goes smoothly. 

If you’re planning a funeral or you want to start end-of-life planning, contact us today. 



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