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Arranging a Funeral for a Loved One

How To Arrange a Funeral or a Cremation for a Loved One in Pittsburgh - Ask Rome Monument For Help

Since 1934, the staff at Rome Monument has been informally, and at no charge, helping families arrange a funeral or a cremation for a loved one. Because of our experience working with funeral homes and cemeteries in the Pittsburgh area, we can answer many questions posed by people who are preplanning a funeral or need to organize a funeral service fairly quickly due to an unexpected death in the family. We know just about every funeral provider in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area and we know, from first hand knowledge, the ones that are the most compassionate, professional and caring.

Figuring out how to arrange a funeral for a loved one can seem overwhelming. Most people are called on to do it just once or twice (if that) in their whole lives, and they do it under great pressure. While it’s easy to be a little confused, afraid, or uncertain, the process is actually fairly simple. Fortunately, we have answers and are happy to help walk you through the process. Just give Rome Monument of Pittsburgh a call anytime at 724-770-0100 or click here to request funeral planning assistance.

Conducting a funeral is a process, with a starting point and an end point. Every funeral is a very personal celebration of a life lived, and so each has very distinctive elements and common elements. By thinking of a funeral as a unique process rather than as an event you can visualize the various steps involved. By imagining each step of the process, you’re better able to see the various details necessary to successfully “produce” the funeral process in a way that matches your vision and your family’s values/priorities.

Making funeral arrangements requires us to consider that process with three primary elements and venues for funeral activities in mind:

So, one of your first planning tasks is identifying, settling on, and making arrangements with each of these. The funeral home you select will assist in deciding on and arranging for a casket or memorial urn, will coordinate and provide essential funeral-related transportation, and usually hosts any wake or pre-burial visitation for family, friends and the public. Any religious service arrangements are made directly with the church or other religious institution’s administrator. Burial or other interment arrangements are made directly with the cemetery’s administrators. Your funeral director may—if you ask—assist you in your efforts to make arrangements with the cemetery, religious institution, or military services.    Click here for a list of select funeral homes in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, Beaver County, Butler County, Fayette County, Greene County, Lawrence County, Washington County and Westmoreland County Pennsylvania with website addresses, phone numbers and street addresses.

Military Honors — If your loved one was a veteran, be sure to inquire directly with the appropriate military service about military funeral honors available, and coordinate this aspect of the interment ceremony with the cemetery and the religious institution if military personnel will participate in that service.

Essential Funeral-Planning Questions ­— Decide how you want funeral-related events to unfold. Who’s involved? What roles do they play? Important questions to ask during your funeral-planning process include:

  1. Who is on the planning team? Who will do what?
  2. How does the location of each venue affect event timing and logistics?
  3. Do you have invitation/contact lists? Who should be notified directly? Who is tasked with direct notifications?
  4. Have you written an obituary? Who will do this? (See more on this below.)
  5. Is there a social gathering (party) separate from the pre-burial visitation? If so, when does it occur, what happens at the event, and who’s invited?
  6. Where will any post-service or post-burial celebration/party/gathering occur?
  7. Will a caterer be necessary? What, if anything, is being catered? What if any gathering hall has to be arranged? Who will the caterer be?
  8. What types of floral arrangements are appropriate or desirable, who will manage floral arrangements, and which florist service is best suited to reliably deliver the quality sought?
  9. Who are the pall bearers?
  10. Who is presiding over (conducting) the service?
  11. Who will speak at the service?
  12. Who will write or deliver the eulogy?
  13. What important considerations should be addressed in the eulogy?
  14. What music will play during the funeral service, if any? Will the decedent’s favorite music be played in the background? Who is supervising audio production? Who are the musicians? Who will hire or arrange for live music?
  15. Are you hiring any special transportation for the casket? (E.g., a horse-drawn hearse.)
  16. Is the cemetery interment open to all, or restricted to family?
  17. What accommodations are needed for cemetery interment? (E.g., tent, chairs, handicap access, signage.)
  18. What visual presentations will be produced to “remember” the person who has passed away? (E.g., historic slide-show, video, or photo presentation.)
  19. When and where are these visual presentations appropriate, and most likely to have the desired impact for all visitors?
  20. What record of attendees will be kept, and where will it be placed?
  21. What printed service booklets and other materials will be distributed, who will produce them, and how will they be distributed?
  22. How will the family communicate with the community, what social media will be deployed, how will community feedback, comments, and condolences be received and/or published?

This list of questions gives you an idea of the many issues to address when arranging a funeral. It’s not meant to be an exhaustive list. Other questions may occur to you as you review these.

Writing and Publishing a Fitting Obituary — Why is a fitting obituary important? One, you want the life of your loved one to be remembered well, respectfully and honorably. And you want to encourage the attendance of family and friends, which helps make your funeral services succeed.  You want success for the family and their memory of the decedent. You want to give the community a chance to express their condolences and share the experience in a meaningful way. An obituary creates a published record of the life lost, and it’s important to get the obituary just right, not just to the memory of the loved one who has passed, but to the dignity of the family as well. Make sure the obituary is well written and includes all pertinent facts about the decedent’s life, family, and accomplishments. This record gives the community a reliable record of the dearly departed. You want it to shine and be well written. If you need help with the writing, ask your funeral director or the local newspaper for assistance or a referral. It’s worth the effort.

Memorials — Headstones, markers, or monuments come later, after burial or other interment, so you’ll have time to make those decisions after the funeral is completed.

None of this is that difficult, though there is much to do in a short time frame. It’s all pretty straightforward. But it does require some thought, focus, organization, and appropriate guidance. When possible, plan as much in advance as possible. It’s best to relax. Breathe deeply. You can manage this.

Contact Rome Monument at 724-770-0100 With Questions Regarding The Following Topics

And if you need help, just call us at 724-770-0100 and one of our funeral-planning specialists will help you get the answers you need to plan and manage your loved one’s funeral prudently and effectively and with as little pain as possible.