Does a body have to be embalmed?
In what circumstances might it be required?

Very simply put, embalming is preservation of a human remains by replacing blood with an embalming fluid.  Embalming may also serve as a way to sanitize the remains.

In some instances, embalming is not required by law.  However, if you want specific sorts of services for example a service with a public viewing, you may have to select embalming.  Your state may also have timelines for when embalming has to occur, especially if no refrigeration is available.

If a person’s body experienced trauma prior to or during death, can the body still be embalmed?

Remains that have experienced trauma prior to death can be embalmed.  In this instance embalming may have to be coupled with restorative art techniques to further return the decedent to a life-like appearance.

How soon after embalming does the funeral need to take place if there is a viewing?

There are no set rules for when a viewing should take place after embalming.  Consult with your funeral service professional for clearer answers to this question.

Is there embalming for a natural burial?

Natural burials can take many forms, including embalming with ‘green’ or formaldehyde free embalming products.  If you are preparing for a green burial consult with your funeral service professional or with the cemetery you are going to be using to see if embalming is warranted or allowed.

How does the funeral director help ensure my loved one looks as much like themselves as possible?

Photographs are an embalmers best friend!  Having a photo to work from means that your loved one can be returned to condition as close to when they were living as possible.

Learn more about embalming.