Why Does the Appearance of a Burial Vault Matter?

By: Jill Darby
Tuesday, February 1, 2022

The main purpose of a burial vault is simple: protection. A vault prevents the weight of the earth and heavy cemetery equipment from collapsing the grave. It also safeguards the casket space against water, dirt, and other underground elements. And perhaps most importantly, a burial vault helps assure families that the remains of their loved ones will not be disturbed.

Those in the funeral industry understand the critical role that vaults play in terms of protection. But why does the appearance of a burial vault matter? At Trigard, we believe a burial vault’s aesthetics can be just as valuable as the primary purpose it serves.

Quality Affects Peace of Mind

In some regard, the vault can be viewed as the final gift bestowed upon a loved one. Even the most structurally sound unit has the potential to tarnish the overall perception of a graveside service if it has a subpar appearance. When the ceremony concludes, families should be able to leave the cemetery feeling as though they have done everything possible to honor and remember the person who passed away. There should be no regrets of any sort. Selecting an attractive, high quality burial vault is certainly part of this equation. Trigard helps make this feasible for all families by offering strong, reliable products at differing price points. It is our belief that the bereaved should have a chance to further pay their respects to the deceased by adorning the receptacle that will house and secure their remains.

The Recency Effect

The recency effect says that within a series of events humans tend to remember the most recent event the most vividly. The departure from the cemetery marks the end of the funeral experience and the beginning of a family’s path toward healthy healing. Whether those left behind choose to witness the internment or leave the grounds immediately following the closing remarks and prayers, the vault will be the central focal point of their last visual of the burial site, one that will be carried with them for the rest of their lives.

Personalization Helps with Healing

“Cookie cutter” funerals are becoming a thing of the past. Customization has become a staple in nearly all aspects of our lives, including end of life services. Final send-offs are now designed to be just as unique as the person who is being memorialized. Funerals aren’t one size fits all, and products shouldn’t be either. Our company believes in this notion and offers a wide range of personalized burial vaults. These products not only add value and meaning to a service, but they often initiate healing conversation at the graveside service that lead to storytelling for years to come.

For added elegance and eye appeal, nameplates and emblems can be mounted to the vault’s cover. Additional selections include metal lined interiors, decorative columns and mountings, as well a variety of exterior paint choices. There have been countless times where Southern Funeral Director Magazine w November/December 2021 21 Trigard vault dealers have gone above and beyond to meet the needs and preferences of grieving families. We’ve seen vaults painted to look like a school bus, to commemorate the life of a long-time driver, and painted white with black spots to resemble a cow for a dairy farmer.

For a truly one-of-a-kind burial vault, standard and custom photo appliqués may be adhered to the side or cover of the vault. They can showcase photographs, signify a veteran, represent a hobby, or reflect one’s spirituality. Just recently we had someone share with us how the personalized Trigard vault made a difficult time a little easier:

“My uncle…was a member of the local Fire Department where he faithfully served for 22 years. He also worked for the Department of Transportation for 29 years. When I saw his vault my breath was taken away. The appliqué was absolutely breathtaking. What a way to memorialize a loved one.” G. Brown

Positive Memories Trigger Positive Emotions

A study conducted by the University of Liverpool in 2016 found that positive memories and images can be effectively used to generate positive emotions. Moreover, the work suggested that savoring fond memories has numerous benefits including reducing attention to and occurrences of threat. This technique has been found to boost mood and decrease instances of depression. When someone passes away, those left behind experience a roller coaster of emotions as they navigate through the stages of grief. Throughout this journey they will relive events surrounding the death and funeral, including the graveside service. A burial vault that has been selected with loving consideration will be at the forefront of this mental picture and has the ability to elicit feelings of comfort and warmth.

Automated Tools

Those serving the funeral industry tend to shy away from referring to families as customers. We feel this terminology is rather insensitive. But in all actuality, families are to some degree customers, and today’s consumers have come to expect that businesses will have technology available to help them make more informed, empowered decisions. Trigard has embraced this trend and now offers Trigard Connect, a cloud-based presentation tool that allows funeral directors and families to build a vault from scratch and view a digital representation of the finished product. The users are then able to verify the details of the selections and watch the order as it is placed in real time. Families can be confident the vault will make the statement they envisioned and arrive in plenty of time for the interment.

Participation Is Encouraged

Encouraging participation among guests at a graveside service results in a heartfelt experience for all those in attendance. Our Healing Tree ® burial vault was designed to help facilitate powerful interactions. The Healing Tree includes Memory Rings® that are scattered across the cover of the vault. After a poem is read, attendees are instructed to say their goodbyes as they take a keepsake. These circular shaped pewter rings are graced with a die-cut dove and can be treated as a medallion for a necklace or bracelet, added to a keychain, or simply kept in a special place. This proprietary concept was introduced as an alternative to taking flowers home from the graveside. The rings are intended to be a more permanent memento. Another idea to get family and friends involved in the service is by allowing them to sign and write farewell messages on the appliqué or vault cover. This type of engagement can allow those in mourning to feel a deeper connection with the deceased and can help children process their grief while feeling part of the ceremony.

A Lasting Impression

In our society, first impressions are typically considered the most important. However, for those who have suffered a significant loss, the last impression, being that of the graveside ceremony and burial site, may be the most important. This is often a time when the bereaved fully come to terms with the reality of death and begin to feel a sense of closure. Being that the burial vault is the main focal point of the ceremony, its appearance should be dignified and well-suited to pay tribute to a life well lived. The memory it provides is one that will be forever etched in the hearts of those left behind. 

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