Why a cemetery?
The idea of honoring our loved ones at their permanent resting place is a time-honored tradition. Whether it was the ancient Egyptians constructing the pyramids, the erection of a grand private mausoleum, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery, or a simple burial space with a marker, the idea of a dignified burial and remembering our deceased loved ones is an important tradition. We care for these places and visit them to remember and feel connected to this special person in our lives. A cemetery provides a peaceful environment for our loved ones to rest and for us to honor their memory.
Cemetery Property Options
Like funeral homes, cemeteries can provide many dignified options for a family, depending on their personal taste and budget. You can select individual burial spaces for a casket or urn (if selecting cremation) or a group of spaces for multiple family members. The options are varied and will depend on the individual cemetery’s offerings and available inventory.
When selecting a cemetery, you may want to seek personal recommendations from friends, business associates, your clergy or a funeral director. Be sure to inquire with the cemetery representative as to their maintenance practices, whether it is a “perpetual care” cemetery (a portion of the purchase price is placed into a fund for the upkeep of the cemetery) and any other pertinent rules or regulations regarding: flower placement, allowing upright monument and/or flat markers, special seasonal decorations on graves, etc.
Depending on the individual cemetery’s design and availability, some of your property options may include:
- Single-Depth Burial Space – Utilized for one person. The cemetery will have a policy regarding the type of grave marker (flat, or upright) that can be placed to identify the grave.
- Double-Depth Burial Space – Utilized for two persons. The space appears to be the same size as a single burial space, but the grave is deeper than normal. The first person is placed at a deeper than normal depth and the second person is buried at a normal depth on top of the first.
- Family Lot – An area designated for multiple family members. The cemetery can provide options as to the number of burial spaces contained within the family lot.
- Lawn Crypt – This is similar to a typical burial space and may be single or double depth. There is a concrete grave liner (crypt) already placed in the ground where the casket will rest.
- Mausoleum – A building designed for above-ground placement of the casket. The casket is placed into a crypt that may be designed for one or two persons. The mausoleum may be outdoors or inside a climate-controlled building.
- Private Estates – Available in a wide variety of offerings, depending on the cemetery. This would typically be a private mausoleum building or a private grouping of burial spaces contained within a designated area. Some cemeteries offer custom-designed family estates built to your specifications.
Caskets are typically crafted of either wood or metal. The cost of a casket is most influenced by the type of material used in construction and the grade of interior fabric. There are many dignified options available in a broad price spectrum to suit your individual needs.
The selection of casket is a very personal one and will be determined based on the deceased’s wishes, economic considerations and personal taste. There are many options because each family’s needs are different.
Some of the typical materials used in casket construction are:
- Cloth-Covered Wood
- Stainless Steel
- 16-gauge steel
- 18-gauge steel
- 20-gauge steel
Interior fabric used in casket construction can range from simple crepe fabric to a more luxurious look using plush velvet. In addition, some caskets are designed to be “protective,” meaning they are designed to withstand the entrance of outside elements and other gravesite substances.
Your NFDA funeral director is committed to ensuring you understand your choices and helping you select the casket that best suits your family's needs.
Outer Burial Container Options
Many cemeteries have a requirement that an outer burial container be placed around the casket in the ground. The primary reason for this is that the casket is not designed to withstand the weight of the grave and the heavy equipment used in routine maintenance of the cemetery. An outer burial container helps support the weight of the grave, helps protect the integrity of the casket and can aid in keeping the grave level, which contributes to the overall positive appearance of the cemetery.
Like caskets, there are options in outer burial containers from which you can choose based on your personal needs, taste and budget. Some of the materials that are commonly utilized in manufacturing outer burial containers include concrete and various types of metal.
Your NFDA funeral director will advise you as to the outer burial container options that are available in your area and are most widely utilized in the cemetery of your choice.