When faced with planning a funeral, many people are unsure where to start, and this uncertainty is only amplified when the funeral is in a different city or state than where they currently reside.
Planning an out-of-town funeral can be challenging, but working with a knowledgeable and experienced funeral director will help lessen the burden for the family. If you are tasked with planning a funeral for someone in a distant location, follow these helpful tips.
Work with Two Funeral Homes
The first step when making arrangements is to contact a funeral home of your choice at the location where the funeral will take place.
This funeral home, commonly referred to as the receiving funeral home, will do the majority of the coordination on behalf of the family. The receiving funeral home will assume the responsibility of coordinating all flights and contacting the shipping funeral home, the funeral home holding the deceased.
Working with both a local funeral home and a funeral home in the destination where the service will be held will help lighten the load of coordination for the family and ensure that minor details aren’t overlooked.
Understand Airline Guidelines for Transporting the Body
Human remains are considered to be specialty cargo, so typically bodies are shipped on cargo planes and collected by a funeral director or representative from the receiving funeral home. If someone prefers to escort the body, however, the remains can be carried on larger passenger planes.
Though the requirements vary slightly from airline to airline, there are some general guidelines that most airlines follow.
Ordinarily, airlines require the remains to be secured in a casket or an alternative approved metal container. The casket or container must then be enclosed in an outer shipping container made of wood, metal, canvas or plastic with enough strength to protect the container from damage.
It is also important to note that some places require that a body be embalmed if it will leave the country or state. Others require that the body be embalmed if it will enter the country or state.
Try to Accommodate Guests who are Traveling
When a funeral is taking place outside of the area where the majority of the deceased’s loved ones reside, it’s important for the person who’s planning the funeral to consider those who will be traveling.
Funeral announcements should be sent out in a timely manner so people are able to make travel arrangements, and out-of-town guests should also be considered when choosing the day and time for the service.
To help ensure more loved ones are able to attend, it’s common for services and burials to be held on Saturday afternoons or early Sunday. This gives people who have to make arrangements with work more flexibility and allows for traveling time.
Contact a Local Faith Leader
If you’re planning on having a religious funeral, you may want to contact a local faith leader to preside over the funeral. If your loved one was already a part of a worship community, you should start there. However, if you’re unsure who to reach out to, ask the receiving funeral home for guidance. Often, funeral directors have experience working with faith leaders of many different denominations, so they will be able to assist in the coordination and connecting you with the proper clergy members.
If you are in need of a receiving funeral home to coordinate the transportation of your loved one, the experts at Bevis Funeral Home are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Please call (850) 385-2193 to speak with one of our knowledgeable funeral directors today.