Planning a funeral requires many decisions, and making choices can seem overwhelming in a time of grief. When you work with a Dignity Memorial® provider, a caring professional will guide and assist you every step of the way, including arranging funeral cars for both a loved one who has died and the family.
This article explains some options for:
- Transporting a loved one
- Transporting family members
- Other transportation services offered by Dignity Memorial providers
Transportation for your loved one
The traditional funeral car is a hearse. Though originally designed for moving caskets from a funeral service to a cemetery, today's hearses are also being designed with cremation in mind—and there are many options available.
Traditional funeral hearse
The typical hearse has a vinyl top and curtains that cover its windows. Others have fiberglass tops with skylights or LED lighting that illuminates a breathtaking display of flowers or the flag on the carefully chosen casket of a veteran.
The typical hearse is black. Though funeral homes in certain parts of the United States and Canada may offer white or silver hearses.
Casket transport may be what comes to mind when you think of a hearse, but a funeral car may also be equipped with an urn enclave. This equipment allows a loved one's urn to be secured in the back of the hearse so it rides beautifully displayed from funeral home to cemetery.
Similarly, an urn ark allows an urn to be displayed at a memorial and then carried by pallbearers to and from the hearse. The ark slides into a hearse in much the same way a casket does, so it can be safely transported to the cemetery, where pallbearers can once again step in.
Hearses were, in fact, originally pulled by horses. Of course, today's hearses are motorized vehicles, but the tradition of the funeral caisson has held on. With historical roots in 18th-century battles, a funeral caisson is most often used in a military funeral. The caisson is, in fact, a fixture at funerals at Arlington National Cemetery. But any family who wants an extra-special way to honor a loved one can choose a horse-drawn hearse if the funeral home they are working with offers this option.
Less common than the horse-drawn variety, a motorcycle hearse is a novel way to honor a loved one. A biker might choose this option for himself when pre-planning or a family might choose it for a loved one who loved the feel of the wind in her hair. Typically a three-wheeled motorcycle pulling a specially designed funeral carriage, a motorcycle hearse may also be a motorcycle equipped with a platform at its side that can safely carry a casket or urn. A loved one who's been cremated may also simply ride in a standard motorcycle sidecar.
Though a hearse is always available for a casket or urn, a family might consider another kind of vehicle to personalize a celebration of life. Dignity Memorial providers are experts at personalization. We've used firetrucks, race cars, kayaks, boats and ponies and more to transport loved ones from place to place. For an out-of-this-world memorial, we can coordinate the transportation of a loved one's ashes into space.
Transportation for your family
Families entrust us with their loved ones, knowing we will transport them with dignity, respect and concern for safety. The same can be said for the family themselves. Families hire funeral cars because it brings peace in a time of chaos and ensures their comfort on the road when fatigue, stress and high emotions can be distracting.
When you let us drive you and your family, you don’t have to worry about road or traffic conditions. We relieve you of that burden and get your family—and even your guests, if you wish—where you need to go. What's more, riding with family allows you to grieve, comfort and share with each other without interruption, and no one ends up driving alone unless that's what they want to do.
A family might also opt to hire a car for pallbearers, so they may all ride together.
Options may include:
- Limousine: A more formal choice that may carry as many as 10 people. Many have forward-facing bench seats for accessibility.
- Family car: An executive sedan that can carry up to 7 passengers. Families often choose matching sedans instead of a limousine.
- SUV: A popular alternative to a limousine or family car.
- Sprinter van: A light commercial passenger van for big families or groups of up to 15.
- Motor coach: For large groups who may need to travel many miles from a service to the cemetery.
Other ways we can help with transportation
The transportation services offered by Dignity Memorial providers also include bereavement travel assistance. Our global travel partnerships allow us to assist you and your family with time-sensitive travel arrangements. We'll help find you the best available options so your loved ones can be with you when and where you need them. This service is part of The Dignity Difference.
We also help families get loved ones back to their countries of origin for services if need be. And our travel relocation program brings travelers home should they pass away when on vacation or traveling for business. Your Dignity Memorial provider can tell you more.