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:
Viewing or Visitation
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 and is 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 process.
The Funeral or Memorial Service
While 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 disposition.
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 you by helping you locate a clergy or lay person of your preferred denomination to officiate at the service.
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 and for friends and family to have their opportunity to mourn and draw strength from one another.
A non-religious funeral service can be a very formal or informal event and can be held in a funeral home or other 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.