Burials are a truly emotional time, and choosing the type of burial to have is a very personal decision. There are a lot of factors that need to be taken into consideration including family and religious customs, personal preferences, and your financial situation. As stated earlier, deciding on the type of burial is an extremely personal one to make but should be done carefully as it’s the way your memory will be cherished and kept alive. However, there is no right or wrong answer, there is only the best choice for you and your loved ones.
From traditional burials to burials at sea, there are a lot of creative and respectable ways to keep the memories of your loved ones alive and honored. Additionally, there are also some factors that one needs to consider before deciding on their burial options.
If you’ve been wondering about the different types of burials and what they include, this comprehensive guide is for you.
What Are the Different Types of Burial Options?
The most traditional burial option is the In-ground burial. Usually, in this case, the body is embalmed first as the family would hold a visitation with an open casket. Embalming is not always necessary. There are 5 components to an In-ground burial:
- Casket – The case that holds the body of the deceased.
- Gravesite – The space or plot of land where the body will be buried.
- Headstone – The gravestone marker, which generally contains:
– The name of the deceased.
– The date of birth and date of death.
– Any words of identification like mother, husband, son, sister, etc.
– A quote of importance to the deceased (if any).
– Any religious or philosophical sayings.
- Burial Vault – This is used to support the soil above and around the casket. They are normally made out of concrete and lined with plastic.
- Gravesite Preparation and Maintenance – For a proper burial, a plot needs to be dug into the ground and then filled again. There might be some landscaping work that needs to be in order to restore the gravesite’s original appearance.
Also known as “natural burials,” green burials do not use any embalming fluid, casket, or vault. In this scenario, the body of the deceased is placed directly into the ground, which allows the body to decompose naturally and have a smaller impact on the environment. There are some cases where the remains are buried in a simple burial shroud or biodegradable casket in order to shield the body from the earth until it naturally decomposes. One significant difference between green burials and traditional ones is the absence of machinery or equipment to dig the burial site. For green burials, the gravesite is dug by hand, and the only real hurdle is finding cemeteries that allow for this practice.
There are a lot of people who are genuinely concerned about preserving and protecting the earth for the future. They want to find more ways to go natural and be environmentally safe, and the best way to do that is by going green till the end.
When it comes to making a funeral green, there are many things you can do, even considering the many laws and regulations around burial. Here are some popular reasons why green burials have been on the rise lately:
- Consumes Fewer Resources: Burial vaults are transported from the manufacturer, concrete vaults weigh as much as 2,700 pounds, and mixing the concrete, casting the vaults, and creating the linings and seals of the vaults all require a significant amount of valuable resources. Additionally, the amount of fuel consumed in transporting the vault to the burial site should also be taken into account. When it comes to green burials, the only thing you’ll need is a cemetery that allows you to dig the site by hand and you’re done.
- Saves Money: Another major benefit of choosing green burials is the amount of money that can be saved. Funeral prices can be quite devastating, and that’s not something families want after losing a member. If by choosing a green burial, one can lighten the financial burden, it would be a good option to consider, especially since green burials can save a family as much as $6000.
- Conserves Land: Nowadays, cemeteries can take up many acres of land, and these lands are usually stripped of trees and natural vegetation, which adversely impacts the local and global environment. With green burials, you wouldn’t need as much upkeep or the use of chemicals and fertilizers, which contaminates the ground and water sources.
This type of burial is a more private and prestigious way to be buried. Mausoleum burials are the type of burials where the body of the deceased is kept within a free-standing building. Traditionally, a mausoleum is a building that memorializes deceased individuals while also providing a secure enclosure.
If you decide to place your loved one in a mausoleum, you should know that their casket will never come into contact with the earth, as they are in an above-ground structure. Having the casket above ground ensures the burial site always remains clean and dry so that you or your loved ones can visit in any weather conditions.
However, there are two different types of mausoleum burial options – A private mausoleum or a community mausoleum.
A private mausoleum provides maximum privacy, customization, and adds an element of prestige too. You can choose elements such as bronze doors, stone columns, or even stained glass to create the most comfortable way to physically, emotionally, and spiritually connect to those loved ones who have passed away.
One of the most well-known examples of a private mausoleum burial is the Taj Mahal. Think of your family mausoleum as your own private sanctuary. You can have a serene and comfortable environment where your family can visit, pray for, and honor those they love.
What Are the Benefits of a Private Family Mausoleum?
- You can customize the burial space to your preference.
- You have complete privacy for your family.
- You can honor your family in a more dignified and respectful manner.
- Your family can frequently visit in a comfortable, personal, climate-controlled environment.
A community mausoleum (which is also known as a public mausoleum) is an above-ground building that memorializes multiple individuals. Community mausoleums provide a secure enclosure that remains clean and completely dry without letting any casket come in contact with the earth.
There are quite a few public mausoleums in history like the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Westminster Abbey, the Great Pyramids, and the Tomb of Christ.
What Are the Benefits of a Community Mausoleum?
- You can always expect the burial site to be clean and dry.
- Your loved ones can visit during any weather.
- Normally, public mausoleums are in-door and kept above ground.
- Public mausoleums offer the prestige of being entombed inside a building.
Lawn Crypt Burials
Basically, a lawn crypt is a mausoleum underground that doesn’t have an entry. A crypt is a chamber that’s made of concrete and reinforced steel. One of the biggest benefits of choosing lawn crypts is that they are great at protecting the casket while still maintaining a traditional-looking burial. Sometimes, the grass is planted above the crypt with a drainage system existing below.
This type of burial is actually quite self-explanatory. Home burials are those that take place on private property.
There are a few cities that allow for burials to take place on your private land, which makes home burials popular in some areas. Talk to your municipal government or funeral director to find out whether or not your community allows for home burials.
Burials at Sea
While it sounds like a pirate thing to do, a burial at sea usually involves the disposal of a deceased body into water, normally from some form of a ship. The ceremony might involve burial in a casket or sailcloth. Nowadays, burials at sea are mostly done for Navy personnel. While there are no restrictions to applying for burial at sea, there are some difficulties that can arise when applying and receiving the proper documents. There are also some services that can help you with your burial at sea. Different religions and countries have their own special methods to conduct a burial at sea and might follow a different process.
What Are the Different Types of Burial Plots?
There are different types of plots but they broadly fall under 4 major categories:
Single plots: This type of burial plot is the most common type of plot. Normally, single plots contain the remains of only one person in a casket.
Companion plots: This type of burial plot is when two plots are sold together usually for a married couple. Companion plots can either be two plots that are side-by-side or a single plot where the caskets are kept on top of each other (usually called “double depth”). Double-depth plots are normally more affordable than side-by-side companion plots, as only one large burial container is needed instead of two.
Family plots: In some burial grounds, a family can purchase a small area of the grounds to be dedicated to the family. Usually, with family plots, there is a large headstone that’s engraved with the family name along with the name of each individual family member who is buried in the family area. They will have their own smaller headstone that marks the individual grave. In some situations, a family plot can be a row of single plots that were purchased as a package by a family.
Plots for cremated remains: Even if you’ve decided to cremate the remains of your loved ones, you can still keep them buried in a cemetery plot alongside the buried caskets. Due to the fact that cremated remains take up less space, there are actually many cemeteries that allow multiple urns to be buried in a single plot.
What Are Some Questions to Ask When Choosing Burial Options?
- What type of burial would you like? Do you want the traditional type of burial or would you prefer something modern?
- Does indoor or outdoor environment matter? Which one would you prefer?
- Does it matter if your resting place gets wet or do you want it to always remain dry?
- Do you want to be kept near your loved ones?
- Do you want to be in a resting place where your loved ones can visit without worrying about weather or privacy?
- Would you like the ability to have your loved ones leave flowers and decorations or does that not matter?
- Is it important to have the burial done in a green and environmentally friendly way?
Here are some FAQ about Burial Options
Sometimes, an article isn’t enough to answer all your questions regarding Burial Options. So here are some frequently asked questions that you can peruse before making a decision:
How Much Does It Cost to Bury a Person in a Cemetery?
First of all, you need to find out what the purchase price of the right to use the burial plot is. Unlike real estate purchases where you can purchase the land and the structures on it, you only purchase the “interment rights” to the land when it comes to burials. Additionally, there are fees for opening and closing the burial site, fees to obtain the necessary permits and to maintain cemetery files and records, a fee for the use of any special equipment (like a casket-lowering device) as well as any costs for other services or items. There is also the headstone installation fee and a one-time endowment care fee paid to make sure your loved one’s burial site is maintained properly.
Does the Body Need to Be Embalmed Prior to Burial?
There are many funeral homes that suggest going for embalming if you plan a viewing or visitation soon. However, this is only the case because they want the experience to be as good as possible for those who attend. Through proper embalming, you can ensure the body of the deceased looks as good as possible. However, as a general rule, it is not necessary or legally required to embalm the body if it is cared for in a relatively short span of time.
How Much Does a Casket Cost?
The Federal Trade Commission states that the average casket is priced at around $2,000. If you are worried about the price of caskets, you can always speak to your funeral director as they are equipped to advise you on the best-suited casket for your situation and budget.
What Is a Burial Vault?
In today’s world, cemetery grounds are much more clean compared to the days of old where not many people bothered about maintaining burial sites. Modern cemetery grounds are abundant with expanses of green grass and protect the pristine view. The vault also protects the casket itself but the main aim of the burial vault is to guard the beauty of the environment.
What’s Involved in a Cemetery Burial?
If you don’t have any prior arrangements for burial, and you’re not sure where to start, the first thing you need to do is select the cemetery and burial location within the grounds. You also need to choose a suitable casket and a decent burial vault. In some places, you can also provide the clothing that you’d like your loved one to wear or any special items that you’d like to also place in the casket. After the payment is made, you can agree on the date and time of interment. At this time, the cemetery groundskeeper will ensure the “opening” and “closing” of the grave is taken care of and the casket is placed properly in the burial vault.
Do I Need to Buy a Headstone?
The burial site will put an interim headstone on the grave, but it’s only intended to be a placeholder until you place a permanent headstone or grave marker. If you don’t put up one, then your loved one’s burial site will be “unmarked.”
Death is always unexpected and it can leave you confused, stressed, and drained of all energy. Finding the time and effort to plan a burial can be very difficult, especially when you’re in that mindset. If you find yourself in this situation, you can rest assured as there are many funeral agencies out there that can help you with your decisions.
These funeral agencies know the different types of burials and will consider your budget and your financial needs before writing up the best plan that’s perfect for you. In short, they make your work a lot easier and more stress-free. Since they are experts in the field, they will find the best options for your needs.
When you hire out a funeral agency, you don’t have to worry about the planning of the burial as they will take care of everything; from finding burial plots to getting the body embalmed and burying the casket itself. Furthermore, they are the best people to answer any questions you might have regarding burial options.