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What Can I expect if arranging a ‘Traditional’ Funeral?

A tradition funeral, or ‘full service’ funeral, usually includes the full services of a Funeral Director in addition to a formal funeral ceremony.  A full service funeral will typically involve a viewing or visitation, a funeral ceremony, use of a hearse to transport the deceased to the funeral home and cemetery, and burial, entombment or cremation.

In order for a full service funeral to be conducted, other services are usually added to the basic service fee.  Services such as embalming, dressing of the body, rental of the funeral home for visitation, additional vehicles to accompany the hearse, supply of a casket and casket liner, costs related to a cemetery plot or crypt, services of a clergy or celebrant, submitting an obituary, funeral flowers, memorial books and catering are all additional services and costs that most Funeral Homes will offer when arranging a traditional funeral.  

It is common for a ‘traditional’ funeral to be the most expensive type of funeral arrangement.  A typical full service funeral in Canada can cost between $6,000 and $10,000.  The choice of casket can significantly affect the total cost of a funeral, and most funeral homes basic traditional service will only include the costs for a very basic casket.

A traditional funeral is a unique way of honouring a loved one, and many families choose to personalize a funeral so that it memorializes their loved one.  A full service funeral with a full memorial service often provides for a greater opportunity for family and friends of the deceased to come together and share in a celebration and tribute to the life of their lost loved one.

For most Canadians, a funeral service is the last public occasion for relating to the dead. Among some aboriginals of the Yukon and northern BC, small houses surrounded by a fence are built over a grave, with symbolic offerings for the journey to the land of the dead.   Mausoleums have been erected for the wealthy or distinguished deceased but cost and a resistance to glorifying the dead has kept this practice from being widespread.

Despite widespread criticism of the industry's costs, little has changed over the years. Elaborate caskets may be purchased and expensive services chosen, sometimes from guilt on the part of survivors, sometimes for the public image of the family. Funeral costs can vary between provinces or from urban to rural areas.  It is strongly recommended that full costs are clearly outlined for any full ‘traditional’ service.  Many bereaved families have not only had grief to contend with, but have received a further shock when receiving their full service bill after a traditional funeral has been conducted!   This is another reason why pre-planning has become increasingly popular in Canada.  This enables Canadians to rationally plan full funeral arrangements, whilst being mindful of costs, and relieve immediate family from the emotional and financial burden of funeral arrangements.