Dying to get married?

February 3, 2011 – Families often joke that the only time they get together is at weddings and funerals.

Across the United States, funeral homes are trying to cash in on that very sentiment.

A recent article in The Indianapolis Star reported that many funeral homes are hosting other “life” events, such as weddings, holiday parties and proms, in addition to funerals. Owners argue that funeral homes are often elegantly decorated and are far less expensive than many catering halls or country clubs. They also offer picture-perfect locations for photographs, and there is greater availability when it comes to booking a date.

Sounds a bit eerie to me, but the idea is catching on. In a 2010 survey, almost 10% of the 627 Midwest funeral home owners who responded said they offer other events in addition to traditional services.

Still, it’ seems rather morbid to start your married life in a place associated with death and sadness. But according to Sue Totterdale, of the National Association of Wedding professionals, it is no different from doing it at a church, where both caskets and newlyweds occupy the aisles throughout the year.

While that may be a good point, I still have concerns. What happens if the funeral home gets busy with funerals? Death isn’t something you can plan ahead for. And what about people who are mourning the loss of a loved one? It doesn’t seem very respectful to be doing the Chicken Dance down the hall.

With many wedding facilities closing due to the economy, funeral home owners found a way to cash in, which is normally considered good business planning. And why not, florists have had the wedding/funeral market cornered for years.

Yet, I’m still not convinced it is ever a good idea to host a wedding at a funeral home. A Halloween party, maybe, but that’s even pushing it.

Just how do you word that invitation anyway? Come join us for our wedding at Kelly’s Funeral Home? That’s bait for too many bad jokes, and it brings a whole new meaning to the words, ‘til death do us part.

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