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Sharon Hunter - March 2022

How to choose a funeral casket

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Choosing a casket is one of the bigger decisions a family makes when there is a funeral to arrange. Here are some guidelines to help you make the best casket choice, and a few things to watch out for.

When to choose the casket

Most of the time people select a casket shortly after the death has occurred. It is one of the first things a funeral home will ask about. But if you favour a casket design outside the ordinary, it pays to think about options a little earlier.

You might wish to go DIY and build the casket if someone has the skills. Helpful instructions are just a Google search away. Or you might purchase an artistic wonder like the ones painted by Trey Ganem and Soul Shine. You’ll get a casket like no other working with Troy and his team. It may be a glorious made-to-order eco-friendly casket is the perfect choice. More time means more options.

Where to buy the casket

Most people purchase caskets from the funeral home. If you find what you like that’s great, but it can be limiting. There’s no rule to say you must buy through the funeral home, and by law, they must accept any casket you supply. Some of the most unique casket options are available to purchase directly from companies and individuals who have dedicated themselves to creating something special. What’s more, almost all will ship to wherever you are.

Do you actually need a casket?

While it’s definitely the option favoured by the majority of people, you aren’t legally required to have a casket. A burial shroud wraps the body in cotton or linen, and can be used inside the casket, or alone as the simplest form of burial.

There’s no rule to say you must buy through the funeral home, and by law, they must accept any casket you supply.

Reflecting a life - what kind of casket to choose

Like every other aspect of the funeral service, the choice of casket is a chance to say something about the unique life that has passed on. The degree that you wish it to do so is a personal decision. Here are a few ideas you might want to consider:

A.The Traditionalist: An ornate wooden casket with all the trappings.

B. The Environmentalist: Free of resins, stains and glues, made of renewable materials, a casket that touches the earth lightly.

C. The Stylish One: Elegant white or smooth timber lines. Chic and contemporary.

D. The Bohemian: Woven seagrass or bamboo threaded through with flowers.

E. The Artist: A plain white cardboard casket painted and decorated by friends and family.

F. Recycled and Repurposed: Made from materials that have already had a life. Rich with history in every knot of wood.

G. A Handmade Shroud: Sewn from treasured fabrics like the soft velvet bedspread from Bali, or the rose coloured cashmere wrap.



How much to spend on a casket?

Caskets can be one of the most expensive components in the overall cost of a funeral. Prices range from around $900 for a plain cardboard casket to more than $20,000 for titanium metal. How much you spend depends entirely on your budget, your values and what you want the casket to represent.

A less expensive casket is not necessarily about spending less on the overall funeral, but sometimes choosing to prioritize budget in other areas. Making a modestly priced casket choice might mean spending more on other aspects of the funeral service such as a special setting, fine wine or a unique venue.

No Pressure

It’s the funeral industry's dirty stain; the pressure to spend more on a casket beyond what’s financially comfortable. Undercover shopping has snared unscrupulous funeral homes rampantly upselling by applying undue emotional pressure. What’s more, market research has found casket prices marked up as much as 300 percent by some funeral homes. Have a clear idea of how much you wish to spend, do your homework and stand your ground.

The environmental toll

It’s the funeral industry's dirty stain; the pressure to spend more on a casket beyond what’s financially comfortable. Undercover shopping has snared unscrupulous funeral homes rampantly upselling by applying undue emotional pressure. What’s more, market research has found casket prices marked up as much as 300 percent by some funeral homes. Have a clear idea of how much you wish to spend, do your homework and stand your ground.
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