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Funeral Services

Commemorate a lifetime of love and memories.


There’s no denying that funerals are powerful events.

These rites of passage offer a special time for the bereaved to comfort one another, begin to find healing, and celebrate a life well-lived. At Evan W. Smith Funeral Services, planning a funeral that is meaningful and memorable for you and your family is our greatest priority. Whether you know precisely what you have in mind or are unsure about how to structure the service, our caring team of professionals will be there to guide you through the process. We believe that you and your loved one deserve the finest care, and we always strive to deliver superior service that exceeds your expectations.


We believe every funeral represents a unique and tremendous loss.

Evan W. Smith Funeral Services possesses decades of experience in crafting highly personalized events that celebrate the deceased and pay tribute to his or her special qualities. We can help you arrange a traditional funeral or something completely unique for your loved one—the choice is always yours. Please note that whether you choose burial or cremation, you can still hold a funeral service to honor your loved one. We also understand that many cultures and religions have specific funeral traditions, and we will do our best to accommodate your requests. From planning the funeral to selecting a permanent memorial, we’ll be there to walk you through every step of your emotional journey.

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Traditional Funeral Services


A time-honored approach with a personal touch.

Traditional funerals are a popular way of paying tribute to the departed. This long-standing ritual publicly acknowledges the passing, says a final goodbye to the deceased, gathers together those most affected by the death, and allows them to begin to move forward in the grieving process.

While the details vary to reflect the diversity found across the United States, the structure remains largely the same. They are often held at a funeral home or places of worship and are frequently presided over by a religious officiant or a funeral director. Usually consisting of a visitation, a funeral or memorial service, committal service, and repast, traditional funerals are an iconic symbol of respect for a beloved family member or friend.

Visitation

This is often called a viewing or a wake. Guests come to pay their respects to the deceased by viewing their casketed body and spending time with the grieving family. A visitation can occur any time before the funeral service.

When distance, travel limitations or like the case with COVID-19, alternative means of paying your last respects are also available, including live streaming and our drive-by viewing window.

Funeral Ceremony

The funeral ceremony commonly takes place at the funeral home, a church, or at the graveside. It may include music, readings of literary or religious passages, a eulogy, prayer, and the singing of hymns.

Committal Service

This brief ritual involves a graveside gathering following the funeral service. Family and friends gather near the open grave into which the coffin is partially lowered and the committal is spoken. Petals or floral tributes may be placed on the casket as loved ones pay their last respects before it’s fully lowered into the grave.

Reception or Repast

Many families choose to host this post-service gathering at a reception hall, restaurant or banquet facility. It’s considered a time to share fond memories of the deceased and show support for those left behind. Familiar rituals like these can be comforting during a time of loss.

 

At Evan W. Smith Funeral Services, we’re here to help you plan a distinctive traditional service that honors the memory of your loved one. You can count on our caring, professional staff to create a fitting celebration that fulfills your wishes and meets your budget.

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Burial Services


A traditional way to say goodbye.

Burial is among the world’s oldest and most widespread customs.

At Evan W. Smith Funeral Services, we hold the deepest respect for this time-honored practice and we offer a number of affordable burial service options. Ranging from simple burials with interment overseen by a member of our staff, to immediate burials without a public service, to graveside services led by a minister or celebrant, to traditional funeral services followed by burial, all of our burial services can be tailored to your family’s unique needs and preferences. You can choose whether you’d like a public service, a private service, or some combination thereof. We believe how you wish to pay your respects should be entirely up to you.


What's involved in planning a burial service? Essentially, there are typically three primary elements: the selection of the cemetery and plot, choosing a casket and burial vault, and planning the details of the graveside service:

Cemetery and plot selection

A family member may have already chosen and purchased a burial plot or mausoleum crypt. If no such plan is in place, then you’ll need to locate a cemetery and select the burial property. The purchase of cemetery property isn’t a common transaction, so our seasoned staff is happy to assist you through this often-complex process. We have strong working relationships with local cemetery administrators and can simplify the selection details.

Choosing a casket and vault

While the casket is frequently the single most expensive element of a funeral, it shouldn’t cost more than you can afford. Evan W. Smith Funeral Services offers a wide variety of caskets and burial vaults from which to choose. From the economical to the opulent, you’re sure to find the ideal elements to keep the cost of your loved one’s burial within your family’s budget. We carry caskets made if walnut, cherry, maple, oak, pine and other species of wood. Metal varieties are available in varying thicknesses and a wide array of finishes. Our experienced staff is happy to guide you in the selection of the most appropriate casket and vault for your needs.

Planning the details of the graveside service

While the selection of the burial plot and casket are practical decisions, planning the format of the service is where the heart takes the lead. The details depend largely on your emotional needs and wishes. If simplicity is your primary focus, then the burial service may look very different from one guided by formal religious doctrine. Our creative, seasoned experts can work with you throughout the planning process, helping you determine everything from the best date and time for the burial service to selecting the most meaningful readings, songs and activities to be featured. Your funeral director will explore your loved one's life with you to find the essence of who they were in an effort to craft the perfect graveside service that brings just the right mixture of love and fond memories into the event.

 

We understand how important the burial decision is and we want to help you make the most appropriate choice for your needs. If you have questions or need guidance, our compassionate funeral directors are always ready to listen.

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"Evan W. Smith Funeral Services created an unforgettable farewell for my beloved wife. The service was touching, meaningful and personal. I am very grateful to Evan and Laura for their compassion, professionalism, and thoughtfulness."


- Mr. Norman Griffiths, Former President, Wilmington City Council

Funeral FAQs


Helpful answers to your questions about funerals.

What does it cost to bury a person in a cemetery?

What does it cost to bury a person in a cemetery?
First is the purchase price of the "right to use" the burial plot (unlike a real estate purchase, where you buy the land and all the structures on it; here you are only purchasing what is called the "interment rights" to the land). In addition, there are fees for the "opening" and "closing" of the gravesite; and any fees required to obtain the necessary permits and to maintain cemetery files and records. In addition, there's the fee for the use of any special equipment (such as a casket-lowering device); as well as the costs for any other services or items purchased. There's also the headstone or grave marker installation fee, and a one-time "perpetual care" fee paid to ensure your loved one's burial site continues to be well-maintained.

Does my loved one have to be embalmed prior to burial?

Does my loved one have to be embalmed prior to burial?
This is a question we hear a lot. Many funeral homes suggest (and may even go so far as to require) embalming if you're planning a viewing or visitation. That's because they want the experience to be as good as it can be for those in attendance, and proper embalming can ensure the deceased looks as good as possible. But as a general rule, embalming is not necessary or legally required if the body is cared for in a relatively short amount of time. Please contact us for specific state or local requirements.

How much will a casket cost?

How much will a casket cost?
The Federal Trade Commission states that the average casket costs around $2,000. If you are concerned about casket costs, speak with your funeral director who can advise you on the most appropriate casket for your situation and your budget.

What is a burial vault, and why do I need to buy one?

What is a burial vault, and why do I need to buy one?
Today, modern cemetery grounds are well-groomed, with vast expanses of green grass. A burial vault protects this pristine view, ensuring there is no sign of burial plots "settling". Certainly, the vault also protects the casket; but the primary role of a burial vault is to protect the beauty of the cemetery environment.

What's involved in a cemetery burial?

What's involved in a cemetery burial?
If your loved one has not made previous arrangements for their burial, leaving you to pick the location of their interment, the first thing you'll need to do involves the selection of the cemetery and burial location within the grounds. You'll also choose the most suitable casket and burial vault, and provide us with the clothing you'd like your loved one to wear (and any 'special items' you'd like us to place in the casket). Once payment is made, the date and time of interment are agreed upon. At that time, the cemetery grounds keepers will take care of the "opening" and "closing" of the grave and the proper placement of the casket in the burial vault.

Do I have to buy a headstone or grave marker?

Do I have to buy a headstone or grave marker?
The cemetery will put a temporary identification marker on your loved one's grave, but it is only intended as a placeholder until a permanent headstone or grave marker is set in place. Without one, your loved one's burial site will, when this temporary marker becomes illegible or is somehow removed, appear "unmarked".

Where do I purchase a headstone or grave marker?

Where do I purchase a headstone or grave marker?
We, and the cemetery where your loved one will be interred, have strong working relationships with trusted monument companies. When you are ready to order a granite headstone or bronze grave marker, we will come together to orchestrate its selection, manufacture, and placement. Speak with your funeral director to get the details.

What is "direct burial"?

What is "direct burial"?
When we make arrangements for the direct burial of an individual, we are expediting their interment. There will be no funeral, memorial service or celebration-of-life; instead, we provide the physical care of the deceased (perhaps embalming their body, but certainly dressing and casketing) and then escort the casket to the cemetery for immediate burial.

Is direct burial right for our situation?

Is direct burial right for our situation?
It's very hard to know without having the opportunity to speak with you. Direct burial works well when there are few mourners or if your loved one's wishes were for a simple interment. It's done quickly and professionally, without ceremony of any kind. With that said, what do you think? Does direct burial feel like the right course of action for you? Speak with a funeral professional to further explore the idea.

What services do you provide when I choose direct burial?

What services do you provide when I choose direct burial?
Your funeral director will complete and file the death certificate, obtain signatures on any required permits or authorizations, helps you select a cemetery in which to inter your loved one, as well as a casket and burial vault. He or she will oversee the physical care of the deceased: they will be dressed in clothes you've provided (or purchased from us), casketed, and then escorted to the cemetery for immediate burial. This same individual will witness the burial and provide you with copies of all pertinent papers for safekeeping.

What is a graveside service?

What is a graveside service?
Rather than having a service in a church or funeral home chapel, and then adjourning to the cemetery for the burial, some families choose to gather solely at the cemetery. There, they are led through a ceremony prepared by a clergy person or celebrant and witness the in-ground committal of their loved one's casket. If the idea of a graveside service appeals to you, speak with your funeral director about your options.

What "extra" fees or charges will I need to pay?

What "extra" fees or charges will I need to pay?
Some of the things you'll discuss with your funeral director involve purchases made from outside vendors, and you will be asked to pay for those items at the time of the arrangement conference. One of the most common is the fee charged by a newspaper to print your loved one's obituary. Another cash advance charge could be for clergy or musician's fees, floral arrangements, reception necessities, such as food/beverage or facility rental. Your funeral director will provide you with a detailed invoice for all cash advance items.

When do I pay for a funeral service?

When do I pay for a funeral service?
The exact answer to this question largely depends upon the services, products, and cemetery you've selected; but a good rule of thumb is to expect to pay at the time the service contract is signed (at the time of the arrangement conference, or soon afterward). Speak with your funeral director to learn more.

Who will write my loved one's obituary?

Who will write my loved one's obituary?
We're tempted to answer this with another question: who would you like to write it? Perhaps you'd like to ask a friend or family member to do so, or maybe you're thinking it's something you would like to do. Or perhaps you'd rather turn the duty over to your funeral director. He or she is experienced in obituary writing, and would be delighted to relieve you of the task; so don't hesitate to ask them to craft a suitable obituary.

Should we request memorial donations instead of flowers?

Should we request memorial donations instead of flowers?
We don't like to use the word "should" when we speak to families about this issue. So the question becomes one of assessing your heart's desire: what do you really want? Then there's the question of your deceased loved one's wishes; exactly what would he or she think or feel? Most commonly we advise families to offer their community as many caring options as possible; some will send flowers, some will send donations, and some will even do both.

 


 

Whether you need to plan a funeral for a death that has occurred or are seeking to preplan arrangements, our staff is always available to assist you. Please contact us anytime.

Recent Blog Posts


In our blog, we share resources and information that families in our community can use to cope with their loss or better understand their grief. We also write about ways we have been involved in the community. Check out our latest posts.


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Evan W. Smith Funeral Service - Wilmington
Phone: (302) 377-6906
201 N. Union St., Wilmington, DE 19805

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Phone: (302) 526-4662
518 S. Bay Rd., Dover, DE 19901


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