What Sort Of Preparation Is Needed For An Open Casket Funeral?

If a loved one requested burial, you and your other family members have an important decision to make. Your loved one might have also stated a preference before they passed away. Should the funeral service feature an open casket? If so, what sort of preparation work is involved?


Funeral home services can include preparing your loved one for an open casket service. It often requires embalming, but this depends on the time that has passed between death and the actual funeral service. Your loved one will be laid to rest in clothing that you and your family will have selected—unless your loved one has stated a preference to be buried in a specific outfit—and their hair and makeup will require attention.


Makeup for the deceased is a specialist field, and this is something that funeral home staff will have experience with. Although many forms of makeup will be utilized, theatrical makeup can also be used. This is because theatrical makeup is thicker than the products intended for daily use, and can result in a more consistent skin tone, since the goal is to make your loved one look as they did in life, as much as possible. 


You should provide the funeral home with a recent photo of your loved one, to allow the staff to replicate this look. This is particularly important with your loved one's hair since it should be presented in a style that they would have worn in life. Some funeral homes might even invite you to inspect your loved one's hair and makeup prior to the funeral, allowing you to make any suggestions. This is a matter of personal preference, and you might not feel entirely comfortable inspecting the body prior to the service.

Avoiding an Open Casket

There are some instances where an open casket funeral might not be entirely appropriate. The funeral director will tactfully raise this matter with you during the planning process, but if your loved one passed away after a long illness that altered their appearance, then an open casket might not be the best choice. Hair, makeup, and general restoration cannot necessarily return your loved one to how they looked prior to their illness, and the effects of that illness can be distressing. In this case, a closed casket might be more suitable.

Choosing an open casket funeral allows you to see their loved one a final time, and so they must be prepared accordingly. Contact a funeral home for more information.