Burial Services

Traditionally, a burial service involves a visitation, followed by a funeral service in a church, or other place of worship.  The casket is typically present at both these events, and it is your decision on whether to have the casket open or not.  You have the option of having the remains interred (earth burial), or it may be entombed in a crypt inside a mausoleum (above ground burial).  Family or religious traditions are often a factor for choosing burial.  Decisions need to be made on what kind of casket to use, what cemetery to use and what to put on the gravestone.

Cemetery Types

Monumental cemetery: A monumental cemetery is the traditional style of cemetery where headstones or other monuments made of marble or granite rise vertically above the ground.  There are countless different types of designs for headstones, ranging from very simple to large and complex.

Mausoleum: A mausoleum is an external free-standing building constructed as a monument enclosing the interment space or burial chamber of a deceased person or people.  A mausoleum may be considered a type of tomb or the tomb may be considered to be within the mausoleum.  The most famous mausoleum is the Taj Mahal in India.

Columbarium: Columbarium walls are generally reserved for cremated remains.  While cremated remains can be kept at home by families or scattered somewhere significant to the deceased, a columbarium provides friends and family a place to come to mourn and visit.  Columbarium walls do not take up a lot of space and it is a less costly alternative to a burial plot.

Burial FAQ

What is opening and closing and why is it so expensive?

Typically, the opening and closing fee include administration and permanent record keeping (determining ownership, obtaining permission and the completion of other documentation which may be required, entering the interment particulars in the interment register, maintaining all legal files); opening and closing the grave (locating the grave and laying out the boundaries, excavating and filling the interment space); installation and removal of the lowering device; placement and removal of artificial grass dressing, leveling, tamping, re-grading and sodding the grave site and leveling and re-sodding the grave if the earth settles. 

Why is having a place to visit so important?

To remember and to be remembered are natural human needs.  A permanent memorial in a cemetery provides a focal point for remembrance and memorializing the deceased.  Throughout human history, memorialization of the dead has been a key component of almost every culture.  Psychologists say that remembrance practices, from the funeral or memorial service to permanent memorialization, serve an important emotional function for survivors by helping them bring closure and allowing the healing process to begin.  Providing a permanent resting place for the deceased is a dignified treatment for a loved one’s mortal remains, which fulfills the natural human desire for memorialization.

What happens when a cemetery runs out of land?

When a cemetery runs out of land, it will continue to operate and serve the community.  Some cemeteries have crematoriums, and some historic cemeteries even offer guided tours.

In a hundred years will this cemetery still be there?

We think of cemetery lands as being in perpetuity.  There are cemeteries throughout the world that have been in existence for hundreds of years.

What options are available besides ground burial?

Besides ground burial, some cemeteries offer entombment in mausoleums.  In addition, most cemeteries provide choices for those who have selected cremation.  These often include placement of cremated remains in a niche of a columbarium or interment in an urn space. 

What are burial vaults and grave liners?

These are the outside containers into which the casket is placed.  Burial vaults are designed to protect the casket and may be made of a variety or combination of materials including concrete, stainless steel, galvanized steel, copper, bronze, plastic or fiberglass. 

Must I purchase a burial vault?

Most cemeteries have regulations that require the use of a basic grave liner for maintenance and safety purposes.  Either a grave liner or a burial vault will satisfy these requirements.