Montana Funeral Directors Association

Planning a Funeral Service

How many times in your life are you faced with making funeral arrangements on behalf of a loved one? For many families, it’s a rare occasion. And that means they are looking for an extra measure of guidance in planning a funeral. Fortunately, the members of the Montana Funeral Directors Association are available, and highly-skilled at leading families through the process of making funeral arrangements.

The first task is choosing a funeral home. If you’ve not already selected the funeral establishment, we suggest you review Choosing a Funeral Home, featuring our guidelines on making this important decision.

The Arrangement Conference

When you pick up the phone to first speak with a funeral director about getting their assistance in planning a funeral, you probably already have some idea of what you would like this event to include. Even if you’re not sure of the specifics, you’re aware of whom–the family, friends, and co-workers– you’d like to be in attendance; you probably know there should be music, inspiring stories of your loved one’s lifetime and accomplishments; and maybe even a small reception afterwards to bring everyone closer together.

These are among the details focused upon during the funeral arrangement conference. Using the funeral firm’s General Price List, your funeral director will lead you in exploring the many service and product options available to you. Initially, the conversation will concern the issues around cremation and burial: did your loved one make their wishes known, by making pre-planned funeral arrangements?
If so, then you’ll need to bring that document with you when you go to the funeral home.

However, if your loved one was not clear about their desires, it will be up to the designated family member to resolve that question. When choosing burial, the funeral director will review the Casket Price List with you in search of a casket and burial vault. Your funeral director will take time to talk about other issues related to burial, including whether you prefer an open or closed casket at the funeral, and what clothing you’d like for your loved one’s final presentation. They will also discuss your options for the purchase of a cemetery plot for the burial of your loved one. Families choosing cremation will have an alternate conversation regarding the cost of cremation and the factors involved in selecting a cremation urn.

Other Funeral Questions

Once the question of burial or cremation is answered–and all the related details attended to–the funeral director will guide you in the planning of a meaningful funeral or memorial service. The goal is to create a service which fills your early imaginings and expectations and meets the social and emotional needs of those in attendance–all while staying true to your budget.


Here are a few additional questions you may hear during the funeral arrangement conference:
•    Where and when would you like to hold the service?
•    What music should be played?
•    Which prayers or spiritual readings were meaningful to your loved one?
•    Would you like families to send flowers to the service, or do you prefer memorial donations?
•    Who would you like to participate in your loved one’s service? The funeral director may ask for their contact details.
•    Do you intend to host a funeral reception following the service?

If your answer to that is “yes”, the funeral director will explore topics such as the reception location, the proposed number of guests, available catering services, and menu options.

Many of our member funeral homes have the capability of creating an online tribute or tribute video for your loved one. If the funeral home involved in the care of your family member offers this service, an additional question may arise:

•    Do you have a photograph or photographs of your deceased loved one for both the tribute video and online tribute?

How Much Time Does it Take to Make Funeral Arrangements?

Knowing that this is perhaps the most difficult thing you’ve been asked to do, your funeral director will take all the time you need. In effect, your well-being comes first; he or she will be mindful of your heightened emotional state, and do their utmost to make the funeral arrangement conference experience as pleasant as possible.

We’re Here to Help

As the foremost funeral association in the state, we are available to help you in the selection of a funeral home in your area. After contacting the member funeral firm, if you need further assistance or advice, please contact us and we’ll guide you in the right direction.  Want to know more about what's involved in funeral pre-planning? Read more about pre-arranging a funeral.


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