Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Have a Visitation At Home? 

Yes. There is no law against it. A visitation does not necessarily mean an open casket (coffin). You can still have a visitation whether an open or a closed casket. A visitation can be public or it can be private (with only the family attending). A visitation can be held at the home, at your church, at a funeral home or another accommodating facility.

Can I Have a Visitation or Viewing Without Embalming?

It is commonly mistaken that for a visitation to take place embalming must be done. Embalming, as a very basic definition, is the act of preserving a body by replacing body fluids with chemicals. Many funeral homes will not allow a public viewing unless an embalming is performed. It is not a state or federal law that embalming be required. It is only a regulation by certain funeral homes for reasons of liability and tradition. Embalming is not green or environmentally friendly (however, in the future, biodegradable embalming chemicals may be an option). Therefore, we advocate the use of dry ice as an alternative but not a replacement for embalming. Under most circumstances, without embalming, burial should take place within five days of death.

When Is a Viewing Not Recommended?

The circumstances surrounding death affect the possibilities of a viewing: how the person died; why the person died; where the person died; when the person died; or if an autopsy was performed on the body by a medical examiner. Under certain circumstances, it will be advisable by us that the body not be viewed and an immediate burial will be the recommended option.

Are There Any Green Cemeteries in Raleigh?

Yes. Oakwood Historic Cemetery located downtown Raleigh. Click here. 

Pine Forest Memorial Gardens located at Wake Forest. Click here.


What Makes a Cemetery Green?

  • No metal caskets are allowed
  • No vaults or outer burial containers are used
  • Embalmed remains are not allowed (sometimes remains embalmed with biodegradable chemicals are allowed)
  • Caskets must be made of natural wood or non-toxic biodegradable material
  • Sometimes remains may be buried without a casket and a special burial shroud used instead
  • The burial grounds are usually in a natural wooded area or grass field


Can I Make My Own Casket?

Yes as long as it is made of wood, grass, or similar non-toxic organic and biodegradable materials. Contact your green cemetery for proper dimensions and requirements.

Can I Bury On My Property?

Yes. There are some restrictions. More restrictions exist within city limits. Contact your local health department for approval and laws.

Do I Need a Casket?

Not always. The decedent can be viewed in a bed if at home. Sometimes a burial shroud can be used for burial instead of a casket. However, some cemeteries do require a casket. Contact your cemetery for their regulations.