Traditional caskets are now available online, and the plain pine box has given way to simple designs with character, craftsmanship and handmade charm.
PHOTO: WEBCASKETS (LEFT); NEW MELLERAY ABBEY (RIGHT)
Formal or simple? Expensive or modest? Today's consumers have many options when it comes to funeral expenses and the types of services they choose.
CHRISTOPHER MORRIS/BLACK STAR PUBLISHING (LEFT); FILE PHOTO (RIGHT)
As a less expensive alternative to burial, cremation has grown in popularity in recent years.
Monks at New Melleray Abbey in Peosta, Iowa, have been making caskets for 150 years, using logs from the abbey's own forest. New Melleray offers a range of prices: The shaped pine casket (first image) costs about $650. Shipping costs from $60-$150.
NEW MELLERAY ABBEY
One bromide of the funeral trade still holds true: funerals are for the living - all the more reason to plan ahead and make the process as easy as possible for those making decisions.
MIRO VINTONIV/STOCK, BOSTON INC.
For those who prefer burial, a funeral home is usually involved, though a backyard burial may be an option, rather than one in a cemetery.
STEPHEN FRISCH/STOCK, BOSTON INC.
Webcaskets is one of several online sources for caskets of various prices delivered to your door. The company offers standard and customized caskets, some with a humorous touch. This casket, `Sunset,' sells for $1,995.