The Details of Planning Final Arrangements

Older man and his son discuss funeral preplanning.

If you have ever had to plan a funeral, you might know how many decisions go into this process. In the best of times, it can feel overwhelming to wonder how to best honor and memorialize someone you love. In the worst of times, planning funeral services can feel nearly impossible. Grief can feel like a fog, obscuring everything in front of you. It can be difficult to see the way forward.

When you preplan your own funeral arrangements, you save your family from having to experience some of these overwhelming decisions. When the time comes, all they will have to do is call us. You can use preplanning as a way to make your funeral your own, and plan services that reflect your life, your spirituality, and your personality.

Below is a list of considerations to make when preplanning your services.

The Basics: Burial and Cremation

  • Would you like to be buried or be cremated?
  • If you’ve chosen burial:
    • Do you have a cemetery in mind? Will you need a single plot or multiple plots for family?
    • Are you interested in a green burial or other nontraditional burial options?
    • What type of casket do you prefer?
    • Is there a style of grave marker that you like? Have you thought about what you would like it to say?
  • If you’ve chosen cremation
    • Would you like your ashes to be buried, scattered, or kept at home in a decorative urn? Do you have a scattering location in mind?
    • Do you want your ashes to be divided among family or friends?
    • Are you interested in turning your ashes into a memorial object, such as fireworks or a tree pod?
    • Do you want to have your body present for a viewing and/or service, with cremation to follow? Do you prefer to have the cremation performed and a service or reception soon after or even at a later date?

Funeral Services

  • Would you like some or all parts of a traditional funeral, such as a viewing, service in a place of worship, or graveside service?
  • Would you like religious services and a member of the clergy to lead your services?
  • If you are eligible, would you like military funeral rites?
  • Would you like services that are open to the public, or smaller, private services for close friends and family?
  • Would you like a reception to be held after the services?
  • Do you know who you would like to be your pallbearers? Deliver a eulogy? Write your obituary?
  • Do you have a list of family and friends who should be notified of your passing?

Personalizing Your Services

  • Is there a theme or overall look you’d like for your services?
  • What are your favorite songs? Which would you like to be played, and when?
  • Which photos of yourself would to like to be displayed? Do you want to play a video, or give your guests a CD or thumb drive with photos and video on it?
  • Do you want flowers at your services? Are there certain flowers or colors that are meaningful to you?
  • If you’ve chosen to have a viewing, what would you like to be wearing?
  • Are there religious passages or passages from your favorite books that you’d like to be read?
  • Are there keepsakes you’d like for your guests to be able to take home, like memorial cards, programs, or photographs?
  • If you have chosen to hold a reception, are there favorite foods or drinks that you’d like to be served?

We Are Here to Help You Preplan

Your preplanning journey will be a highly personal process, but you might have questions along the way. Please don’t hesitate to call us at any time at (276) 623-2700. When you’re ready, we’ve made it easy to begin preplanning your funeral. Simply fill out this form, and we will be in touch.


Forest Hills Memory Gardens | (276) 623-2717
19415 Lee Highway, Abingdon, VA

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