Preparing For An Open Casket Funeral: What's Involved?

16 February 2022
 Categories: , Blog


It's expected that the casket containing your loved one's remains will be the centerpiece of their funeral service. This is the case with a traditional funeral, although sometimes a memorial service may be held after cremation. However, when your loved one's funeral precedes their burial or cremation, you and other family members will be asked for your preference with regards to whether the service is to be open casket. If so, certain preparations must be made. 


Any funeral home can embalm the deceased, and in the event of an open casket funeral, this service will likely be offered. While it's not mandatory, it should be discussed with your chosen funeral director. Embalming has a preservative effect and can help to ensure that your loved one looks as lifelike as possible. There's no universal rule as to when embalming is essential, and can largely be a matter of personal preference. Embalmed or not, your loved one's remains will be preserved in cold storage until their funeral. 

Hair and Makeup

An open-casket funeral will also require the services of a desairologist. This is a specialized branch of cosmetology, and involves restorative makeup and styling, specifically for an open casket service, or in some cases, a viewing that precedes the funeral. You're unlikely to meet the desairologist who works on your loved one, although you may be asked to provide a recent photo as a guide for the desairologist to follow, allowing them to style your loved one as you remember them. You won't need to make these arrangements yourself, as the funeral home will have a desairologist on staff, or call. 


In addition to providing a photograph of your loved one, you will need to provide their wardrobe for the open casket service, which in most cases, will be the clothes they're buried in. There are no hard and fast rules, and while formal wear is often the default choice, your loved one can wear whatever you and other family members feel is most appropriate. This is open to some interpretation, but it could be that you feel your loved one would appreciate being buried in their work uniform, or the colors of their favorite sports team. This point is extremely flexible. 

A great deal of care goes into preparing the deceased for an open casket funeral. After all, it's a chance to look at them one last time, and to say your final farewell. To learn more information, reach out to funeral homes near you.