Open or Closed Casket Funeral Service: What's the difference?

Deciding to have an open or closed casket funeral service. Here we break down the pros and cons of each to help you make the best choice for your loved one.
Open or Closed Casket Funeral Service: What's the difference?

When planning your funeral, you might like to consider whether you want an open or closed coffin or casket at your funeral service. Both options have benefits, so we discuss the pros and cons of open or closed casket funeral service to decide what is best for you and your loved ones.

What’s the difference between a coffin and a casket?

Although both a coffin and a casket have the same purpose, they are different. While a casket tends to be rectangular, with the same width from head to toe, a coffin is typically tapered with a narrow head and, legs, and wide shoulders. In this guide, the terms are used interchangeably.

Cultural or Religious Beliefs

Having the casket open during the service is essential to a religious ceremony in some circumstances. This allows the deceased loved ones to carry out all aspects of the service that are in line with their specific manner of saying farewell. 

What is an open casket funeral service?

An open casket service is where the casket’s lid is completely or partially removed or left open during the funeral service. You might choose to have an open casket funeral service because of its various benefits. 

Benefits of an open casket funeral service

Helps with final goodbyes: For many people, seeing the deceased during an open casket service helps with the grieving process. It allows them to say their final goodbyes and realise that their loved one is gone.

Allows you to see your loved one: An open casket funeral can give you some closure if you didn't get a chance to say goodbye before your loved one passed away. Seeing the deceased allows you to say anything on your mind or weighing you down.

Deceased looks peaceful: In most cases, the mortician will make the deceased look as peaceful and akin to their usual appearance as possible. This can provide some solace to mourners struggling with the loss of their loved one.

What is a closed casket funeral service?

A closed casket funeral service refers to the coffin's lid being closed during the service. Unless for a cultural or religious reason or at the specific request of the family, most services in Australia are conducted this way. If the family does wish to see their loved one, it’s more common for a separate viewing to be organised before a funeral service.

Benefits of a closed casket funeral service

Preserves the image of the deceased: If the deceased died of an illness or disease, their physical appearance might have changed or deteriorated in the time before they passed away. As a result, you might feel that they’d want their loved ones to preserve a more healthy and spritely memory of them instead of letting friends and family see them in their final state.

Protects the final memories of the deceased: When friends and family can't see the deceased’s body, they are more likely to think back to the last time they saw them or a happier moment they shared with them.

When it's the only option: Sometimes, depending on the particular circumstances of the deceased, a closed coffin or casket funeral service may be the only option. 

Open or closed casket funeral service

The decision to have an open or closed casket funeral service depends on personal preference. Therefore, having a sound understanding of both options may help point you in the right direction. Whatever you decide, make sure to specify your final wishes in your Will. With Willed, you can start building your Will online in just a few easy steps.

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