Not all caskets are the same. Cremation caskets are less expensive than regular burial caskets but work just fine for burial as well. Full size caskets come in a variety of materials and the prices can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands. Caskets can also be purchased at substantially discounted prices through the Internet with overnight delivery.
You don't have to do the viewing one day and the wake the next day if they are going to be at the same location. If this is the case, you might want to consider having them both on the same day. After all, the funeral home will probably charge the same price regardless and it's more convenient for the guests who need to travel from out of town.
Embalming is coming under question these days. The truth is you don't have to embalm but it's generally done if the body will be viewed. Today, many states allow a body to be buried without it. As more people get comfortable with the idea of the body becoming one with the earth again, we are seeing a trend back to natural burial without embalming.
While preparing for a funeral can be a difficult time for many, making funeral arrangements doesn't have to be difficult during the planning stages. Taking the time to research specific funeral homes and funeral products before death can make it easier for those left behind.