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Choosing Between an Open and Closed Casket

Published: February 13, 2020

Whether you’re pre-planning your own funeral or responsible for planning the funeral of a close friend or family member, one decision you have to make is whether to have an open or closed casket during the service. If you’re having difficulties deciding between the two options, here are some pros and cons for each.


Open casket

Having an open casket allows funeral guests to see the deceased one last time before their send-off. This can provide a sense of closure and a real chance to say goodbye. This can be especially important in the case of sudden and untimely deaths since family and friends would not have been prepared for it.


In the case of an open casket, the funeral director will prepare the body, apply makeup, and dress it nicely so that it resembles the deceased during their life as much as possible. So, you shouldn’t worry about the body appearing in a frightening way after death, although some guests may feel uncomfortable viewing the body, especially any young children that are attending.


But this shouldn’t have too much of an impact on your decision on whether to have a closed casket or not because it is entirely optional to view the body. If anyone doesn’t want to view the open casket, then they can simply remain in their seats during the viewing.


Closed casket

At a closed casket funeral, the casket containing the body is still placed at the front of the service, but with the lid closed. When planning your own wishes, think about how you’d want everyone’s last image of you to be. Some people prefer to be remembered as they were in life (through a happy photo on the altar, for example) rather than viewed in death.


If you’re making this decision for a loved one’s funeral and they haven’t previously stated their wishes, then please take into consideration any religious or other beliefs they held during life. Some religions may not agree with the process of an open casket and the related preparations.


Also, think about how you and those closest to the deceased will feel when viewing the body. It can be an extremely difficult and emotional thing to do, so consider whether it will be too much to deal with on an already difficult day.


There are pros and cons to both types of funeral so, in the end, it mostly comes down to personal preference and beliefs. Pre-arrangement services can help to take the burden of this decision away from your loved ones while ensuring you get the kind of send-off you’d like. Get in touch for our funeral home services at any of our five locations in Lewisville, Winston Salem, Advance, Rural Hall and Kernersville.

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