It's hard out there for everyone right now — and funeral homes aren't exempt from the financial crisis. That's why some of them are finding dual purposes as event centers and banquet halls. Holding a wedding at a funeral parlor is a great way to save a few bucks — if you can stomach the thought of getting married down the hall from a bunch of caskets — and you don't mind the requisite Hugh Grant movie jokes.
And people like Carla Fletcher are aiming to change the image of the funeral home–cum–events center. Carla is the special-events coordinator at Indianapolis, Indiana's Community Life Center, which does funerals and weddings. "The place wasn't being utilized because people had tunnel vision. They thought since it was a funeral home, they (couldn't) sell it. But I don't see a funeral home; I see an events center," she said.
An increasing number of funeral-home directors are opening community centers, because traditional wedding facilities are disappearing. "A lot of [wedding facilities] are shutting down because of the economy, while we (funeral homes) aren't going anywhere," said James Olson of National Funeral Directors Association. "In our community, two banquet halls closed because of the economy."