funeral bureau

The Board licenses funeral directors and embalmers; registers funeral establishments; investigates consumer/provider complaints related to the practice of funeral directing; and issues a crematory establishment permit. It also adjudicates disciplinary sanctions against professionals.

The Board has been made aware of communications received by some of its licensees threatening arrest or demanding personal information. Click here to learn more.

What is a funeral bureau?

The death of a loved one is a traumatic experience for anyone, and making arrangements often compounds the grief. It is important that consumers take the time to ask questions and compare prices and services before they select a funeral home.

The California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Cemetery and Funeral Bureau licenses and investigates complaints against funeral establishments; funeral directors; embalmers and apprentice embalmers; cremation service providers; cemetery brokers, salespersons and managers; and crematories. The Bureau also promotes advance funeral planning and protects a consumer’s right to choose a meaningful, dignified and affordable funeral.

It is illegal for a funeral home to accept a body without the written permission of the next of kin. It is also against the law for a funeral home to charge interest on an unpaid balance unless the charge was disclosed when arrangements were first made and listed on the itemized statement. In addition, a funeral home may not charge for embalming or burial services unless the person has signed a written authorization to donate organs and tissues.

How does a funeral bureau work?

When a loved one dies, family members are confronted with dozens of decisions that must be made quickly and under great emotional duress. They must decide what kind of funeral to hold, what funeral home to use, what casket to buy, and whether the body will be buried or cremated.

The Board licenses and regulates California funeral establishments, funeral directors, embalmers and apprentice embalmers; cemetery brokers, salespersons, and managers; and cremated remains disposers, crematories and hydrolysis facilities. The Board also enforces the Funeral Rule and investigates consumer complaints.

Before you sign a contract, ask for an itemized statement that includes all goods and services selected (and not just the bundled “funeral package”). The total dollar amount should include unallocated overhead costs such as insurance, advertising, and taxes. Ask if there is an additional charge for handling a casket bought elsewhere and find out how much it is. Also, ask the funeral establishment to obtain at least five to ten copies of the death certificate.

What are the benefits of working with a funeral bureau?

Funeral directors are trained to help bereaved families through the challenging task of arranging a funeral. They often meet with the family to discuss the deceased’s wishes, and can answer questions about where to hold a service, whether a casket or urn is preferred and how to proceed after death.

They also help family members deal with the paperwork involved, such as submitting papers to state authorities to record a formal death certificate, and notifying pension or insurance companies so that benefits can be transferred to survivors. In addition, they can provide assistance in making advance arrangements for a future service, so that relatives do not have to make difficult decisions under stress.

Anyone who enjoys working with people and helping them through difficult times might find a career in funeral services rewarding. High school students interested in this field can gain relevant experience through part-time or summer jobs at a funeral home. Those who want to become morticians or funeral arrangers must complete an apprenticeship, usually lasting one to three years, under the direction of a licensed funeral director or manager.

How do I find a funeral bureau?

The Bureau regulates and investigates complaints about California funeral establishments, embalmers, apprentice embalmers, directors of mortuary science, preneed funeral planners, cemeteries, cemetery brokers, cremation authorizations and crematories. It also licenses funeral service schools and their programs, and administers the Funeral Service National Board Examination.

Funeral Consumers Alliance is a non-profit organization that promotes advance planning for funeral needs and consumers’ right to choose meaningful, dignified and affordable funeral arrangements. It has been protecting the public since 1963. Visit their website to learn more about funeral choice and consumer rights in your state. Licensing and education requirements vary by state for funeral services professionals, so contact your local board for more information.


A mortuary is a room in hospitals where dead people are stored. They are refrigerated to prevent decomposition.

A mortuary can also be a separate business that offers services such as embalming, burial and cremation. Unlike standalone morgues, mortuaries attached to funeral homes can aid you during the entire process of mourning.


An autopsy is an examination of a dead body. It can be conducted for medical reasons or for criminal investigations. The results of an autopsy can help physicians diagnose and treat diseases or injuries. The procedure also helps families understand how their loved ones died.

Students in mortuary science programs often learn about the process of an autopsy, including how to prepare and operate the equipment needed for the procedure. They also learn about the laws and regulations governing the procedure.

People working on an autopsy should use proper protective garments. This includes a surgical scrub suit, disposable gown with full sleeve coverage and cuffed ties, facial protection (preferably a face shield) and resistant closed shoes. An additional layer of double surgical gloves is recommended. When finished, the pathologist prepares a detailed report on the findings of the gross, microscopic and special studies such as microbial cultures. This report is then transcribed, proofread and signed.


Embalming is a common practice that can help people say goodbye to their loved ones. It can also be used to prepare the body for viewing. It is not a requirement for burial, but it’s often needed when there will be an extended period of time between death and the funeral service or entombment. Embalming can also restore a damaged or disfigured body to make it look more like the person who died.

To embalm a body, the embalmer washes it and massages the limbs to relax the stiffness caused by rigor mortis. They then inject the body with an embalming solution through the arteries. The solution typically contains formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, methanol, ethanol and phenol. The embalmer may also add dyes to the solution to create a more life-like skin tone. After the embalming process is finished, the embalmer styles hair and applies makeup to help the body appear more natural. They can also apply moisturizers to hydrate the skin and make it feel soft.


Cremation is a popular option for funerals today, often because it saves money and allows for more personalization. It also helps to reduce land usage and protects the environment, as it eliminates the need for embalming chemicals that are dangerous to morticians and can leach into the earth and surrounding waterways.

The body is placed in a large furnace called a crematorium or retort and subjected to extreme heat, which reduces the remains to bone fragments and ash. Once the cremation process is complete, it takes several hours for the ashes to cool. The ashes are then inspected for metal remnants, such as pins or screws that were surgically removed from the body, and any of this debris is discarded or sent for recycling.

Cremations can cost more than traditional burials, but final expense life insurance — also known as burial insurance — can help pay for these expenses and other associated costs. You can read more about how this type of policy works here.


A body can be buried either in a casket or in the ground. In some cultures, burying the dead is considered the most holy of all acts. Some people choose to have a cremation rather than a burial.

If a loved one’s family wants to hold a viewing before the funeral, it may take a while for the body to be ready. This is because the body must be embalmed or refrigerated before a viewing can occur.

There is a risk that workers in the mortuary could contract disease from a corpse. However, the training that funeral directors receive includes lessons on worker safety. Sharps (scalpels, scissors and lancets) can pose a health risk.

Some funeral homes also offer burial insurance, which is a type of life insurance that pays out upon death. These policies can help families who cannot afford a traditional funeral or burial. The money can be used for anything the family wants, but it is typically earmarked for funeral expenses.


In most cases, cemetery authorities hire skilled personnel to dig graves. They also employ caretakers to prepare graves before mourners arrive for burial. This is so that relatives don’t have to worry about damaging the grave or accidentally injuring themselves.

Most people use the words graveyard and cemetery interchangeably. But there is a difference between the two, as this article will demonstrate.


A graveyard is a location where people are buried. It is often used for religious burials. Graveyards are usually located near churches. The word graveyard comes from the Latin term for ‘grave’ and refers to a place where bodies are buried.

Generally, it is difficult to dig a new grave in a churchyard, as the cemetery will already be full. However, the re-use of existing plots is possible, but this can cause distress to families who own the rights to those plots and may feel that it is a desecration.

During the adult timeline, Link visits Dampe’s tomb in the west of the graveyard and challenges him to a race. If he wins, he receives the Hookshot. In addition, a grotto in the east of the graveyard holds a Fairy Fountain and can be entered after playing the Sun’s Song or beating Dampe’s race in under a minute. The graveyard also contains the Royal Family’s Tomb.


Historically graveyards were often associated with churches and churchyards, but as society changed so did the way people thought about burial. New landscaped cemetery grounds were established outside of the urban centers, and many of these were privately owned or run by private corporations.

When a person is buried in a graveyard, they are typically surrounded by headstones which are generally arranged according to social status. Those with wealthier backgrounds are likely to have more elaborate and ornate headstones.

As a result of changing attitudes, many graveyards are now considering re-using existing grave sites that have been purchased but never used. However, this can be a difficult proposition since the owners of these plots may have died and contacting their family members could be challenging. There is also the issue of whether any re-use would constitute a desecration of the original grave site. Some cemeteries now have columbarium walls which are a space-efficient alternative to individual burial plots, but these are typically more expensive.


In most cultures those who were wealthy or of high social status had their graves marked with a headstone with their name, dates of birth and death and any other biographical data. Typically, the richer a person was, the more intricate and awe-inspiring their headstone could be.

When the church’s control over burial was firmly established in Europe, people were buried in graveyards within church grounds. As populations began to grow, the capacity of these sites became strained and graves were often overcrowded.

As a result, independent places for burial began to appear that were separate from church grounds. These independent sites are now referred to as cemeteries, although the terms are still used interchangeably.


When referring to a burial site, the term graveyard is used most often. It may refer to a large cemetery, but it can also mean the area of a churchyard where people are buried.

From the 7th Century onward, churches had a monopoly over burials. Rich congregants were buried in crypts within the church and lesser-wealthy congregants were interred on the grounds of the church, known as a graveyard.

In modern times, however, the term cemetery is often used instead of graveyard, since the latter was a church-associated type of burial ground that came into existence in an era when people were developing new ideas about death and the afterlife. The term cemetery has the additional benefit of implying that there is no longer a monopoly over burials, so people can choose their own final resting place. If you are considering a cemetery plot for yourself or a loved one, Titan Casket offers several options for your consideration.

Cemetery Design

Modern cemetery design must be more than a place to lay a gravestone. It must be a vibrant celebration of life, family and history integrated within a community.

Cemetery lot sizes should be sized during the master planning process so that they can efficiently accommodate burials without exceeding the space limitations of the site conditions.


Cemetery landscaping has the unique challenge of promoting a serene environment while embracing the primary purpose of the space – to serve as a place to remember and mourn. The landscape elements must honor the past while allowing the future to unfold.

Cemeteries are usually designed with high end areas with family mausoleum gardens, bench estates and individual graves surrounded by natural features like streams, boulder outcrops and scenic vistas. They may also include cremation gardens with columbaria and ossuaries or scattering gardens.

Increasingly, the landscape must incorporate sustainable practices to reduce the site’s impact on the environment and reduce maintenance costs. Examples of these are incorporating more natural vegetation, transitioning roadways from asphalt to permeable surfaces and reducing the use of chemical fertilizers and chemicals. The LA Group works with clients to understand their goals and budgets to evaluate options for the best built result. This often includes a collaborative approach which combines historic context, value of place and site functionality to achieve the most effective built solution.


In addition to flowers, people decorate their loved one’s final resting place with all sorts of personal touches. Some choose to leave country flags, solar lights or even stuffed animals. Others leave trinkets, coins and other small tokens of affection.

Many mourners prefer to leave a burning grave candle – known as a znicz in Polish. This is a common practice on All Souls’ Day and at Jewish war graves. Newer columbarium wall designs take this into account and incorporate metal clips beside each plaque designed to hold a single flower or posy.

Another simple yet touching option is to fill a mason jar with string fairy lights and spike it in front of a grave. These are typically solar powered and charge during the day, shining through the night. Wetting down a tombstone with water can also make the carvings stand out more than when dry. Aluminum foil can be used in a pinch as well.


Traditionally, cemetery management has mainly involved the allocation of space for burials, the digging and filling of graves and the maintenance of headstones & monuments by families. More recently, however, the design and construction of new memorials, including columbarium walls, has become a service offered by many cemeteries.

The entry gates to a cemetery are usually highly crafted pieces of art. This is a sign of respect for the dead, and it also shows people that they are about to enter another world.

Vaults and grave liners protect the casket from the ground as it settles. A “natural” or eco-friendly option involves not using any outer container at all, and simply burying the body in the earth. A burial site may require a concrete slab or a fence to mark the boundaries. Alternatively, a stone bench can be provided to sit at while visiting the grave. In war graves, a small timber remembrance cross with red poppy or a Star of David is often placed on the grave.

Columbarium Walls

A columbarium is a final resting place for cremated remains. It may be a mausoleum or a collection of niches, and it can either be indoors or outdoors. The niches are usually encased in marble or granite and can be engraved with names and epitaphs. A single niche typically measures about 9 inches cubed. However, niche design and size will vary between cemeteries.

The interior of a columbarium has urn spaces known as niches where loved ones’ ashes are stored. A double niche can fit two urns side-by-side. The urns are kept in a zinc lined container that is labelled and hidden behind the black granite facing of the niche.

A well-designed columbarium can provide a serene and dignified place for family members to come remember their loved one following the West Valley City, UT cremation. WEA offers a range of cemetery design services including Columbarium and Niche Wall design, site selection, concept planning and detailed design of custom and pre-manufactured columbarium walls and paving solutions.

Cemeteries have a rich and storied history. Many have an “Our History” page on their website where you can learn more about the cemetery’s past.

Cemeteries provide a dignified place for mourners to gather, burial space and grounds maintenance & beautification. They also provide a variety of support services to the public.

It’s a Place of Remembrance

A cemetery is a place of rememberance and healing for family members and friends who have lost a loved one. It is also a source of comfort for those who are still alive and it is important that they visit the gravesite of their loved ones to commemorate them and heal from their loss.

There are a variety of types of cemeteries:

Ethnic cemetery – A private or public cemetery owned and operated to support a particular religion.

Military cemetery – A burial ground for the military.

Natural cemetery – A newer style of cemetery set aside for burials or interment of cremated remains in a wooded area without traditional markers.

A cemetery is a place where the names of dead people are recorded, and the burial site may be a conventional grave, a tomb, a columbarium or a mausoleum. Burial registers are kept in most countries and they often include (at least) the name of the deceased, the date and location of burial.

It’s a Place of Healing

For people that have suffered the loss of a loved one, Cemetery is a place where they can experience a sense of comfort and peace. They can visit the grave site to cry as much as they want, or even sit in silence for a while and think about their loved one.

Incorporating annual remembrance events can draw large groups of people together (as long as social distancing allows). From a business perspective, it is a great way to increase footfall and emphasise the role your cemetery plays as a community space.

Incorporating traditions that honour the dead, like placing flowers and other offerings, is a way to show respect. For example, war graves are often marked with timber remembrance crosses, and Jewish war graves are sometimes marked with the Star of David. Placing burning grave candles, called znicz in Polish, is also a popular tradition on All Souls’ Day and for Jewish holidays. Other traditions are specific to the deceased and their families.

It’s a Place of Community

Although media tends to portray cemeteries as spooky places of death and darkness, they actually provide a sense of community for those who have loved ones buried in the area. They are a place to go for peaceful walks, get in touch with your own mortality and spend time reflecting on the life of someone who has passed.

The design and layout of a cemetery is influenced by geography, culture, religion, burial traditions and practices, and aesthetic and sanitary considerations. The inscriptions on headstones and monuments, the specific architecture of memorial buildings and graveyards, and the general landscape layout of a cemetery reveal information and emotion shared by family and friends over the years.

The use of digital mapping allows for a more precise management of plot allocations, allowing cemetery staff to serve their communities with greater efficiency and effectiveness. It also allows for the cemetery to be more relevant in a public sense, something that many have found lacking in modern society.

It’s a Place of Legacy

For genealogy researchers, a cemetery is a place to uncover clues about an ancestor’s life and death. The cemetery can provide information on burial sites, burial rituals, art, architecture and attitudes from the time of an ancestor’s lifetime.

Historically, people of importance were buried within the walls of a church or in ossuaries next to a place of worship and their gravestones included a full stone inscription that detailed their name, occupation and other personal information. The less important were buried on the outside edges of a churchyard where their names were often illegibly carved in the ground.

Many families visit cemeteries as a way of remembering and honoring their loved ones. A cemetery can become a place of pilgrimage for some, where they leave offerings such as coins, paper cranes, water and sake. Some even bring flowers or other mementos to place on the headstone.

Memorial park is a new type of cemetery introduced about 75 years ago. Unlike traditional cemeteries which have upright monuments, memorial parks use dignified bronze markers lying flat on landscaped plots.

When it’s time for play, kids can burn off energy in one of the two tree-house themed playgrounds or on the basketball court. When it’s time for exercise, the 1.1 mile fitness loop is shaded by the park’s impressive tree canopy.

The Park’s History

The Park has served as a stage for national expressions of remembrance, observance, celebration and the exercise of First Amendment rights. From colossal monuments to commemorative gardens, from presidential inaugurals to civil rights demonstrations, the Park hosts history in the making.

Before Memorial Park existed, the land that makes up the Park was home to a forest of native plants and wildlife. In 1924, Houston’s famed Hogg family donated a portion of the land to the City to become Memorial Park, named in honor of the soldiers who had once inhabited Camp Logan.

Today, joggers will likely find little evidence that the Park was once an Army camp. That chapter of local and national history is beginning to come into clearer focus, thanks to the efforts of local advocates.

The Bald Eagle Statue

The eagle is the symbol of our national power, and it’s also an icon for freedom. This bronze statue stands in honor of our nation’s heroes at the Veterans Memorial Park in Stoughton, Wisconsin.

The statue features an obelisk-like base adorned with local stones. It has a bas-relief of an eagle with outspread wings, and it’s flanked by medallions representing the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard.

A plaque on the obelisk reads “E Pluribus Unum,” meaning “Out of Many, One.” The monument was dedicated in 2005. It honors county veterans who served in all branches of the military during peacetime and wartime. There are also engraved names of those who died in service.

The Walls of Remembrance

Unlike traditional cemeteries, which require upright grave markers that take up space, Memorial Park offers flat markers that do not obstruct views. It is also easier to manage the space because it can accommodate multiple families in the same area.

The Gold Star Monument, which honors family members who were lost in the Vietnam War, is the newest addition to the Park. It follows the style guidelines set by the Woody Williams Foundation and was built in partnership with Delaware Gold Star families.

Joggers and walkers now pass through Memorial Park without any signs that it was once a teeming Army camp. But the legacy of this priceless piece of land lives on. It’s a place that opens doors to compassion and understanding. It challenges ignorance and complacency and invites vigilance against hatred and oppression.

The Gold Star Monument

The stunning black granite monument honors the families of service members who have died in the line of duty. It features two sides; one side reads “Gold Star Families” and the other tells a story through four granite panels: Homeland, Family, Patriot, and Sacrifice. Each panel shows a different scene and in the center of each is a silhouette of a fallen Hero.

The Gold Star Monument is a project of the Hershel Woody Williams Medal of Honor Foundation, an organization that seeks to build these monuments in all 50 states. After completing the first one in Woody’s home state of West Virginia, it became the Foundation’s mission to install them in communities across the nation.

The City of South Jordan worked closely with the local Major Brent Taylor Foundation (led by Gold Star Widow Jennie Taylor) to raise funds and get the monument installed in Veterans Memorial Park.

The AIDS Memorial

Located in the former St. Vincent’s Hospital campus, the Memorial sits at a crucial point of the city’s and the nation’s early AIDS history. The Memorial honors the people who died from AIDS in New York City and those who cared for them. It also honors the activists who organized to provide care, fight discrimination, lobby for research funding, and change drug approval processes—all of which contributed to saving millions of lives.

The national AIDS Memorial marks World AIDS Day each year with observances at the 10-acre Memorial Grove and displays of panels from the AIDS Quilt throughout the United States and internationally. Each panel bears the name of someone who died from AIDS-related causes. It is the largest living memorial project in the world.

funeral bureau

The loss of a loved one is a traumatic experience. Often, families find themselves overwhelmed with making arrangements and paying funeral costs.

The Bureau licenses and regulates funeral establishments; funeral directors; embalmers; apprentice embalmers; cemetery brokers and salespersons; and cremated remains disposers. The Bureau also investigates consumer/provider complaints. The Bureau advocates consumer protection through proactive education and consistent interpretation and enforcement of death care laws.

Licensed Funeral Directors

Licensed funeral directors work to ensure that customers’ wishes are carried out at the time of a death. They help family members select caskets, stage whatever wakes or funerals they want and then transport the body to the cemetery or crematory. Funeral directors must be on call at all times and are often busy during the first 24 to 72 hours after a death.

To become a licensed funeral director, you must complete a mortuary program that is accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE). This typically takes two to four years and leads to an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. You must also complete an apprenticeship at a mortuary, which can last up to three years and gives you hands-on experience.

Some states offer reciprocity, which means that funeral directors who meet the requirements of one state can be licensed to practice in another without having to fulfill an internship or passing a national exam. The College will help you find out more about your state’s licensing requirements.

Licensed Embalmers

To work as a licensed embalmer, you must complete an accredited mortuary science program, pass an exam and fulfill apprenticeship requirements. Each state sets its own requirements, but most programs last two years and include a mix of complex coursework and hands-on laboratory practice.

Generally, you must be at least 21 to begin a career as an embalmer. Depending on your preferences, you may choose to specialize in one or more areas of the funeral industry. Many funeral homes offer embalming services, but you can also find work at medical research facilities that preserve donated bodies for education and research.

Each state requires funeral directors, embalmers and crematory authorities to be licensed. The state’s licensing board is staffed by an executive director, administrative assistants and field representatives who conduct inspections of funeral homes, embalming services and crematories. The board also administers professional exams and takes disciplinary action when necessary. The board is a member of the International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards, which facilitates inter-jurisdictional sharing of information.

Licensed Cemeteries

Licensed cemeteries may offer many different services, including a gravesite, caskets and markers. Some also provide pre-need planning and handle the funeral service. They may also offer cremation and urns.

Federal law requires funeral establishments to quote prices over the phone and to give you a General Price List and Casket Price List when you ask for them. If the funeral establishment sells outer burial containers, they must also provide those prices on a separate list.

All regulated cemeteries must publish their rules and regulations, which must be available in their offices. The rules must be changed only after a public hearing or written notice.

A cemetery must have business insurance to cover accidents and injuries that occur on their property. They must also have workers’ compensation insurance for employees. In addition, they must have a website to communicate with customers and prospects. A well-designed logo and a professional-looking website can help increase customer trust.

Licensed Crematories

Some states require crematories to be licensed. To obtain a license, your state’s funeral and cemetery board will ask for financial statements and a detailed operations plan including price lists for all goods and services. You must also show your general price list to any consumer who requests it. If you are offering pre-need arrangements, your GPL for those arrangements can differ from the at-need GPL, but both must disclose all necessary information and offer the same goods and services.

Crematories must be swept thoroughly after every cremation to ensure the remains of different people are not commingled. In addition, they must keep accurate records of each person whose remains are received. Each cremation operator must be a Certified Crematory Operator (CCO) and earn continuing education credits (CE) each licensure period. NFDA offers online CCO courses that are approved for CE by most state licensing boards and the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice.


A mortuary is a place where bodies are stored until they can be buried or cremated. Mortuaries are often located in hospitals or medical centers, but can also be found at funeral homes and private locations.

A standalone morgue or mortuary will typically only focus on preparing the body for burial or cremation. A funeral home that has a mortuary will usually provide additional services such as an arrangement conference and a funeral service.

Preparation of the Body

A mortuary is a facility where bodies are kept until they’re ready for burial or cremation. It is often part of a funeral home, though some independent morgues also exist.

A body is prepared for burial in a mortuary by cleaning, dressing and possibly embalming. Embalming uses a formaldehyde-based solution to prevent the growth of bacteria and slow down decomposition. It can also enhance the appearance of a corpse for viewing purposes. Funeral homes typically provide full embalming services, although temporary or cosmetic embalming may be requested by some families.

If a body is to be cremated, it’s placed in a container designed for this purpose and then moved to the cremation chamber (a.k.a. the retort). Meticulous tagging procedures are followed throughout all steps of preparation and cremation to ensure that your loved one is properly identified and that the correct ashes are returned to you. In some cases, a pacemaker or ICD (implantable cardioverter-defibrillator) is removed before placing the body in the retort.


The embalming process is a series of steps that involve the use of chemicals that temporarily preserve and restore a natural appearance for viewing. Modern embalming fluid consists of a mixture of preservatives, disinfectants, humectants and wetting agents. It may contain formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, methanol or other compounds.

Embalming is not necessary for burial, and it does not protect the deceased from infectious diseases. It is, however, commonly performed to allow family members to attend a visitation and a funeral service.

The embalmer washes the body and massages it to get rid of rigor mortis (a natural stiffening of the joints that occurs a few hours after death). He or she closes the eyes and mouth, and might shave any facial hair that was not worn when the person was alive. The embalmer then pumps a preservative solution through the arteries, which disinfects the body and briefly slows decomposition. This is known as arterial embalming. Embalmers also use tissue building chemicals to restore the elasticity of the skin and muscles.

Arrangements for Burial or Cremation

In addition to embalming, a mortuary will typically arrange the details of burial or cremation. Those arrangements include transportation of the body, a viewing and/or a funeral service, and the resting place. The funeral home may require a basic arrangements fee that covers the cost of arranging all the details.

If a casket burial is chosen, the body will be placed in a grave or entombed in an above-ground crypt in a mausoleum. If a grave or crypt isn’t available, the remains are often buried in a cremation vault or urn.

In the past, before modern methods for verifying death could be used, people were feared to be buried alive. Waiting mortuaries were built for the sole purpose of preventing this from occurring, and they usually included large halls that were reminiscent of churches or civic buildings. Depending on your preference, you can choose to have an open or closed casket for the cremation or burial.

Funeral Services

A mortuary typically has a morgue, but the true focus of a mortuary is to prepare the body for burial or cremation and care for the deceased temporarily. The process of embalming improves the appearance of the deceased and may be required for a funeral service or other ceremony.

A funeral home can be attached to a mortuary or operate independently. Funeral homes have a larger area where ceremonies can be held and may offer additional services, such as visitation, religious rites or memorials.

The person making arrangements for the funeral is known as the customer. The customer may be a family member or a friend legally designated to make decisions under public health law, commonly called 4201. An agent designated by the customer has the same rights and responsibilities as the next of kin in determining disposition. The customer is responsible for the payment of the bill. A written general price list of merchandise and services regularly offered by the funeral home is provided to the customer at the arrangement conference.


In the past, church graveyards were where most burials took place. As the population increased, church graveyards got full and independent sites called cemeteries sprung up.

These typically have no religious stipulations and so people of all faiths can be buried there. They also have fewer restrictions for headstones.


The word graveyard means a large area set aside for the burial of people. It is often used interchangeably with the term churchyard, although a cemetery is usually unaffiliated with a particular faith.

Until about the 7th century, churches had control over where people were buried. The wealthy were often buried inside the church in crypts, and less-wealthy congregants were buried in the churchyard.

As the population grew, these church-affiliated burial grounds started to fill up and were not sustainable. As a result, completely new burial sites began to appear that were not affiliated with any church. These became known as cemeteries, and they differed from churchyards in that they were secular and allowed members of all religions to be buried there. This is also when the term gravedigger was coined for someone who works in a cemetery. It’s interesting to see how language evolves over time.


Graveyard is the location where a dead person’s body is interred. A tombstone is then placed over the grave to mark their resting place. This location can also be referred to as a cemetery or a churchyard.

A graveyard can be a very serene place, especially if it is historic or if it is the burial ground of a famous figure or politician. Some people enjoy visiting graveyards to pay their respects and reflect on their lives. Others may find it spooky or disturbing.

Many cultures believe that taking pictures of graves is bad luck, but this superstition isn’t always grounded in reality. Despite this belief, people continue to use photos of graves and tombstones to commemorate their loved ones.


Although it’s common to use the words graveyard and cemetery interchangeably today, there is some linguistic precision that can be gained by using the terms with greater specificity. Graveyards are still used for burial grounds on church property, whereas cemeteries have no religious affiliation and are usually more modern and spacious than their church-affiliated counterparts.

In the past, people who were wealthy or had a high status in society were buried close to their place of worship in a graveyard or churchyard. They were often buried in individual crypts with a plaque showing their name, date of death and other biographical data or a depiction of their coat of arms.

Nowadays, most people are buried in public or private cemeteries instead of in churchyards. These burial grounds typically have a more uniform appearance and are more regulated in their rules and regulations. Many war graves, for instance, are marked with a small timber remembrance cross and have a poppy wreath placed on them at more formal occasions.


A graveyard is a yard or area of land where bodies are buried. It is usually located next to a church. The term graveyard is often used interchangeably with cemetery, although a difference in etymology exists. If you’re trying to be linguistically accurate, it’s better to use graveyard when referring to burial locations on church grounds and cemetery for more modern, independent burial sites that do not have any religious affiliations.

During the Middle Ages, people of wealth or high social status were often interred inside their place of worship in a crypt or buried in a grave outside. The graves of the poor or less wealthy congregants were located in the churchyard.

The phrase graveyard shift refers to the hours of late night or early morning when all is quiet and seems eerie, as if the dead are walking around. It is a time of great vulnerability. Many graveyard shifts can be very dangerous.

Cemetery Design

A cemetery is a place of mourning and remembering. It is a meeting point between the living and dead and it should be beautiful, calming and inviting.

Mourners leave flowers at graves and on columbarium walls. Many newer designs for these walls incorporate a clip or loop beside each plaque to hold a small posy.

Landscape Design

The cemetery landscape must be beautiful but also able to support the needs of visitors. For example, ponds are an attractive and soothing feature that attract wildlife, and they can be designed to serve double-duty by managing storm water drainage.

Cemetery design involves many aspects of landscape architecture, including hardscapes, planting and site planning. It also considers the religious and cultural traditions of the community.

Modern cemetery designs must be more than a place to lay a grave; they need to be a vibrant celebration of life, family, history and individuality – integrated within a shared community. This takes a special kind of know-how.

Grever & Ward will prepare highly functional, attractive and salable burial section plans that reflect contemporary needs for operational and maintenance economy. These plans include all lot lines, essential dimensions, a lot numbering system and monument locations for each occupied or unoccupied plot. The design also includes an underlying drainage system that supports the day-to-day operations and maintenance of the cemetery.


Cemetery design often includes a variety of plantings to create a landscape that is both calming and beautiful. These plantings are not just for decoration, but they also provide a variety of ecosystem services such as shade and air quality control.

Some of the most important plantings in a cemetery are those that are planted around a gravestone or memorial. These include low-growing shrubs that don’t hide inscriptions and help keep soil from splashing back during rainstorms or preventing lawnmower blades from damaging the monument.

Typically, these are perennial plants like flowers or herbs that bloom at different times throughout the growing season such as crocus, daffodils, tulips and later blooming plants like beebalm and catmint. They can be arranged in a flower bed or in a small planter to add color and beauty to the grave site.


Cemetery ponds are important for the aesthetic of the cemetery. They are a beautiful and serene place where people can visit the graves of loved ones to pay their respects and honor them for their contributions. Ponds are also a vital source of water to sustain the flora and fauna in the cemetery. Ponds are important in the design of a cemetery because they help to reduce pollution and prevent erosion.

Ponds can be designed in a variety of shapes and sizes. They can be shaped with geometric lines for architectural or flower gardens or irregular lines for picturesque or modern-style garden designs. In general, ponds with more vegetation and more diversity are better for both beta and gamma biodiversity than ponds without.

Stephen Chiavaroli is a certified GIS Professional and Cemetery Development & Strategic Planning Consultant. He has years of experience providing in-depth Cemetery mapping and planning solutions. His innovative ideas and knowledge make him an invaluable asset to any cemetery.


Cemeteries are incredibly important to many communities. They provide more than just a place to be buried and can be a positive experience with the right outlook. With the right design, they can be a peaceful, bright, and ideal space that even children would enjoy.

Cemetery sections are designed by balancing burial needs with technical requirements and identifying existing geographic assets. These plans are often digital AutoCAD files for maximum accuracy and flexibility. Cemetery sections are then mapped with an identification system that ensures that every grave in the section is properly identified and interred.

In addition, cremation has prompted cemetery designers to consider new innovations like columbarium walls that are more space efficient than traditional burial plots. These spaces can be leased to individuals for a small fee which generates a municipal funding stream and allows families the choice of having their loved ones scattered elsewhere. This is a new way of thinking about death and our relationship with it.