The choice is yours. Whether you select casket burial, placement in a mausoleum or
cremation, your options for funeral services and merchandise selections are
very similar. Ultimately, after receiving information regarding your options,
you can determine the type of funeral arrangements that are most appropriate.
The most common elements of a funeral service are listed below:
A viewing or visitation, typically at the
funeral home, is a gathering with or without the casket present. Generally, this
event is less formal than a funeral service. It is a time for the family and
friends to come together, express their grief and draw support from one
another. There may or may not be viewing of the deceased, depending upon the
circumstances or personal wishes. Viewing is encouraged by grief experts as it
presents an opportunity to confront the reality of death and begin the healing
The Funeral or Memorial Service
many persons may use these terms interchangeably, the term “funeral service” is
usually used to indicate a gathering with the casket of the deceased present,
conducted prior to burial or cremation. The casket will be open or closed
depending on the venue for the services and/or the family’s wishes.
The term “memorial service” is typically used to describe a service where the
casket is not present. As this service is “in
memory” of the person, there may be a focal point such as an urn, a picture or
a floral arrangement in place of the casket. A memorial service can take place
at any time prior to or after the burial, cremation or other form of
There are considerations to be made when determining the type of
funeral service that would be most appropriate to honor your loved one. For
many people, their religious preference may be the most important factor. If
this is the case, your priest, rabbi or minister will be a good source of
information for how the ritual should be followed.
Some persons may desire a religious service but do not currently
belong to a church. Your funeral director can assist by helping locate
a clergy or lay person of your preferred denomination to officiate at the
Just because a person did not belong to an organized religion
does not mean they should not have a funeral. The most important component of
the funeral is to honor the life lived as well as allow an opportunity for friends and family to mourn while drawing strength from one another.
A non-religious funeral service can be a very formal or informal
event. It can either be held at a funeral home or another venue the family finds
appropriate. A friend or close acquaintance who is familiar with the deceased
and is comfortable functioning as the master of ceremonies can be chosen to
lead the service.
In addition, many persons have received training as a funeral
celebrant, including some members of funeral home staffs. Your funeral director
may be familiar with someone in your community.
The Committal or Graveside Service
This type of funeral service is held at the
final resting place. It typically follows the funeral service held at the
church or funeral home. In some instances, a family may elect to have the
entire funeral service at the place of committal.