How Much is a Memorial Service?

candles during a memorial service

A typical cost for a memorial service in the United States is around $6,000. However, it’s important to distinguish the actual cost of the funeral from the additional charges associated with death care services. The $6,000 figure is in fact the average cost paid to the funeral home for their services. Realistically, an American family could easily spend $8,000 to $10,000 on a funeral when it’s all said and done. This price can be broken down into three categories: funeral home costs, cemetery costs, and the cost for a headstone.

How Much is Paid to the Funeral Home?

Immediately following the death of a loved one, family members usually pick up the phone and call a local funeral home. Next, the funeral home usually sends someone to collect the body and bring it to the funeral parlor. Pick up is usually performed by a funeral director. Then a funeral arrangement meeting is scheduled by the funeral director with the family members that will be handling the final expenses.

Considering the fact that the largest chunk of money goes to the funeral home, it’s important to breakdown what exactly the average of $6,000 is spent on. The following are the typicals prices for goods and services from the funeral home:

  • Funeral director fees – $1,500

  • Body preparation and embalming – $600

  • Ceremony and viewing – $1,000

  • Casket $2,300

  • Other expenses (herse, obituary, death certificates, etc.) – $600

How Much does the Cemetery Charge?

Funeral services are usually followed by the burial of a body in a cemetery. Nowadays more people are choosing to forego the cemetery and instead are having their loved ones’ bodies cremated. The ashes are either placed in an urn and stored in a mausoleum or taken home by loved ones who then have the freedom to decide what to do with the ashes. Gaining in popularity is the trend of having the ashes turned into a diamond. The cremated remains are sent to a diamond laboratory where the carbon is extracted from the ashes, and then used to grow a diamond.

Traditionally, the majority of cemeteries were owned by non-profit organizations. However, times have changed. Now it’s quite common for the cemetery to be owned by the for-profit corporations that also own the local funeral homes. Charges for goods and services at the cemetery mount up quickly and the average cost is around $2,000. Families are often surprised to learn that the cost of a grave space does not include the charges for digging the hole. On average about $1,000 is spent on the grave site alone, and another $1,000 is spent on the open/close fee or digging of the grave.

How Much Does a Head Stone Cost?

When family members choose to bury the body in a cemetery – further costs include the price of a grave marker or a headstone. Policies of the specific cemetery must be taken into consideration, because many dictate the type of stone to be used, i.e. only flat grave markers. Flat grave markers are usually bronze or granite plaques that are placed on the ground at the burial site and typically cost around $1,000. A headstone is pricier and costs an average of $2,000.

Oftentimes the funeral home can coordinate this expense alongside their services for the convenience of the family. However, one should be aware that by doing it through the funeral director, additional charges could be added on.

Funeral Costs Continue to Rise

Funeral costs are only projected to increase in the years to come due to inflation rates. It may be a wise choice to purchase funeral coverage while you are still living to save your family from this burden once you’re gone. Often funeral coverage plans allow you to lock in your price at today’s market value. 

More about the cost of a cremation and memorial diamonds >>

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