Definitions of Common Funeral Home Terminology

Common Funeral Home Terminology

Planning a funeral is difficult and emotional. It’s only made more confusing by the use of funeral home terminology that is probably unfamiliar. Understanding these terms is one of the best methods for gaining insight into common rituals and the service options that are available. By defining common funeral home terminology, it’s possible for families to make better-informed and more meaningful choices.

Common Funeral Home Terminology

  • Arrangement Conference: This is a meeting during which the mourners, usually close relatives, gather with the funeral director to plan the services. Family members also have an opportunity during the conference to share information that is used to complete official paperwork like the death certificate and that the funeral home will use to prepare and publish an obituary, if the family desires one. This is also the time during which specific funeral service plans are made and burial options are reviewed.
  • Arrangement Room: A private meeting space where the arrangement conference is held.
  • Burial: The loved one’s remains are placed in an underground chamber in a cemetery.
  • Burial Vault: An underground unit at the cemetery that is lined and sealed. It is structurally designed to support the integrity of the grave even when heavy equipment moves across the ground.
  • Casket: Traditionally referred to as a coffin, this is the wood or metal enclosure into which the deceased’s body is placed for burial.
  • Certified Death Certificate: Local governments issue original death certificates at the time of a person’s passing. Certified versions of this document can be ordered, to be used for insurance claims and other official matters. The funeral home can often order these documents for the family.

  • Columbarium: A mausoleum-type building that is designed to house cremated remains.
  • Committal or Graveside Service: The final event of many funeral services, which often occurs at the gravesite. Prayers, remarks and military honors are often presented at this time.
  • Cremation: The act of using heat and pulverization to reduce human remains to tiny bone fragments.
  • Display Room: A room showing the selection of caskets, urns, vaults and other items that are available through the funeral home.
  • Embalm: Preserving the body through the circulation of chemicals.
  • Family Room: A chamber set aside for the use of immediate family members during the funeral service. This helps them to preserve privacy at a difficult time.
  • Final Disposition: Deciding between burial or cremation as the arrangement for the remains.
  • Funeral Director: Sometimes called an undertaker or mortician, this professional helps the family to plan funeral services.
  • Grave Marker or Memorial Marker: Metal or stone installations that are typically called headstones and which commonly display the vital statistics of the deceased.
  • Interment: The act of burying human remains.
  • Inurnment: The act of placing cremated human remains in an urn, which is then placed in a crypt, niche or other designated place at the cemetery.
  • Mausoleum: An above ground structure that provides final resting places for the deceased.
  • Memorial Service: Similar to the traditional funeral service. However, the body of the deceased is not present.
  • Outer Burial Container: A structure made of metal, concrete or wood that provides support for the casket underground.
  • Preparation Room: The chamber in which the deceased’s remains are made ready for final disposition.
  • Visitation or Viewing: The deceased’s remains are placed in a visitation room where friends and family can say a private farewell.

If you are interested in planning your funeral in advance or would simply like to know more about the process, then please contact our funeral homes in Kingston NY. Our funeral directors have been helping local families remember and celebrate their lost loved ones for several decades.

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