With funerals at funeral homes, two questions routinely come up among the families of loved ones who have died. The first question is about who should get paid for participating in a funeral service, and how much should each person get paid. The other question is about who should receive thank you cards after the funeral service.
You have the option of getting thank you cards from the funeral home or you can buy thank you cards on your own. You should buy thank you cards that are blank on the inside, have a very simple “Thank You” on the front, and have matching envelopes. Buy at least 50 of them and get 50 postal stamps.
So, who do you send thank you cards to and how do you remember everyone who should get one?
There are several categories of people who should receive thank you cards. If, for example, your loved one was terminally ill before they died, and people sent flowers, brought food, or sent gifts, then they should get thank you cards.
If, after your loved one died, people brought food, sent flowers or plants, donated to a requested charity, or donated to a memorial fund, then they should get thank you cards.
It’s ideal to send thank you cards as soon as you can for gifts, flowers, and food before your loved one dies and for flowers or plants, food, charitable donations, or memorial donations after they die. Get family members to help because you will find that doing this can be very hard after you’ve lost a loved one and it may take weeks or months for you to get them done if you decide to do this by yourself.
To keep track of who you need to send thank you cards to for food, gifts, and donations, keep a running list with the person or family’s name, what they gave, and their address (you can Google any address that you don’t have).
You should also send thank you cards to the people who participated in your loved one’s funeral service. This includes clergy, people who gave eulogies, people who did readings, people who performed music, pallbearers, and people who helped with setup and hosting the post-funeral reception.
There are some people who participate in a funeral service for whom payment for their services is customary. Many people don’t know exactly who should get paid and how much each of them should be paid.
First, it is customary to pay a clergy person for performing a funeral, just as you do when they perform a wedding. Some clergy people won’t accept payment because they believe that performing a funeral is part their job for which they are already paid. If the clergy person refuses payment, do not try to force them to take payment anyway.
However, if the clergy person doesn’t object to being paid for performing your loved one’s funeral, the general rule of thumb for payment is an amount that is between $100 and $300 (the average is usually $150). You can include this payment in the thank you note you send to them.
The other people who customarily receive payment for participation in a funeral service are people who perform live music (instrumental or vocal) for the service. The average payment is between $50 and $100, and this payment can also be included in the thank you note you send to them.
If you need more guidance with funerals at funeral homes, our empathetic and knowledgeable staff at Hopler & Eschbach Funeral Home can assist you.