Whilst funeral directors need to ask their clients many different questions when helping them plan their relatives' funerals, there are two particularly common and important ones you will probably need to answer when you planning your own family member's funeral
What type of hairstyle, make-up, clothing and accessories do you want the deceased to have?
Most funeral directors will aim to ensure that a deceased person is presented in the way that their living relatives want them to be insofar as it is possible for them to do this, given the condition of the remains. As such, when you visit the funeral home, you can expect the funeral director to ask about the specific hairstyle, accessories, garments and make-up you want the deceased to wear. Even if the casket will not be open for the funeral service, it is still important to give this quite a bit of thought, especially if your relative was very particular about their appearance when they were alive and probably would have wanted their remains to reflect their personal style.
For example, if your relative was a big fan of tailored suits and wore them regularly, then it would be disrespectful to have them buried in jeans and a T-shirt or scruffy loungewear. In this instance, you might want to give the funeral director one of the deceased's best suits so that they can dress the body in this outfit for the funeral. Likewise, if your relative never left the house without, for example, putting on some red lipstick and tying her hair in a chignon, you might want to show the funeral director a photo of her hairstyle and provide them with the name of the exact shade of red lipstick she wore. Additionally, if your relative owned a piece of jewellery that was of great significance to them (such as their late spouse's wedding ring), you may also want to ensure that the funeral director knows that you want them to wear this in the casket.
Do you want the deceased to be embalmed?
Funeral directors will not always embalm a deceased person when preparing their remains for a funeral. Instead, they will ask their relatives who will be organising the person's funeral whether or not they want the deceased to undergo this process, which can slow down the decomposition of a deceased individual's remains.
You may need to instruct the funeral director to embalm your relative if you want the funeral to be slightly postponed. For example, if the deceased's adult son or daughter needs some extra time to be able to travel to the funeral.
The funeral director might also advise you to use this service if your relative's appearance deteriorated quite a bit in the run-up to their death because, for example, they were extremely ill and became very gaunt-looking towards the end, as embalming is an effective way in which to restore a deceased person's appearance. As such, if the casket will be open at the funeral service and you want your relative to look like they did before they got seriously ill, you might want to have them embalmed.
Speak with a funeral director to learn more about these considerations.