What are the different types of cemeteries? 

A monumental cemetery is the traditional style of cemetery where a wide variety of headstones made of marble or granite rise vertically above the ground, whereas a lawn cemetery involves small, standard plaques placed at ground level. A mausoleum is an external, free-standing building constructed as a monument enclosing the interment space or burial chamber of a deceased person or people. For cremated remains, a columbarium provides families a place to come visit. In natural cemeteries, which are set aside for natural burials, conventional markings are generally replaced with a tree, bush, or the placement of a natural stone.

What is opening and closing, and what are the related fees for? 

Opening and closing fees can include up to and beyond 50 separate services provided by the cemetery. Typically, the opening and closing fees include administration and permanent record keeping (determining ownership, obtaining permission, and the completion of other documentation which may be required, entering the interment particulars in the interment register, maintaining all legal files), opening and closing the grave (locating the grave and laying out the boundaries, excavating and filling the interment space), installation and removal of the lowering device, placement and removal of artificial grass dressing and coco-matting at the gravesite, leveling, tamping, re-grading and sodding the gravesite, and leveling and re-sodding the grave if the earth settles. The customs, available services offered by cemeteries, as well as any associated fees will vary significantly from one cemetery to another. Your funeral director can help you navigate the numerous options available.

Can we dig our own grave to avoid the charge for opening and closing? 

The actual opening and closing of the grave is just one component of the opening and closing fee.  Due to safety issues that arise around the use of machinery on cemetery property, and the protection of other gravesites, the actual opening and closing of the grave is generally conducted by cemetery grounds personnel only.

Why is having a place to visit so important? 

To remember, and to be remembered. A permanent memorial in a cemetery provides a focal point for remembrance and memorializing the deceased. Memorialization of the dead is a key component in almost every culture. Psychologists say that remembrance practices serve an important emotional function for survivors by helping them fully accept the reality of their loss, which allows the healing process to begin. The provision of a permanent resting place is an important part of this process.

What happens when a cemetery runs out of land? 

When a cemetery runs out of land, it will continue to operate and serve the community. Most cemeteries have crematoriums, and some historic cemeteries even offer guided tours.

In a hundred years, will this cemetery still be there? 

We think of cemetery lands as being in perpetuity. There are cemeteries throughout the world that have been in existence for hundreds of years.

How soon after a death must an individual be buried? 

There is no law that states a specific time span for burial. Considerations that will affect the timeline include the need to secure all permits and authorizations, notification of family and friends, preparation of cemetery site, and religious considerations. Public health laws may limit the maximum amount of time allowed to pass prior to final disposition. Contact us for more details.

Does a body have to be embalmed before it is buried? 

No, embalming is generally a choice, one which depends on factors like if there is to be an open casket viewing of the body or if there will be an extended time between death and interment.  Public health laws may require embalming if the body is going to be transported by air or rail.

What options are available besides ground burial? 

Besides ground burial, some cemeteries offer interment in lawn crypts or entombment in mausoleums. In addition, most cemeteries provide options for those who have selected cremation.  These often include placement of cremated remains in a niche of a columbarium or interment in an urn space.  

What are burial vaults and grave liners? 

These are the outside containers into which the casket is placed. Burial vaults are designed to protect the casket and can be made of a variety of materials, including concrete, stainless steel, galvanized steel, copper, bronze, plastic, or fiberglass. A grave liner is a lightweight version of a vault that keeps the grave surface from sinking in.

Must I purchase a burial vault? 

Most large, active cemeteries have regulations that require the use of a basic grave liner for maintenance and safety purposes. Either a grave liner or a burial vault will satisfy these requirements. Some smaller rural or churchyard cemeteries do not require the use of a container to surround the casket in the grave.