Whether you select casket burial, placement in a mausoleum, or cremation, your options for funeral services are similar. Your decision will depend on your circumstances, the religious beliefs of your loved one, and the wishes of your family. We are here to help you every step of the way.
The most common elements of a funeral service are summarized below.
A viewing or visitation is typically at the funeral home—with or without the casket present—and is often less formal than a funeral service. This is a time for your family and friends to gather, express grief, and support one another. While encouraged by grief experts as a time to confront the reality of death and begin the healing process—a viewing is optional and depends upon your circumstances and family wishes.
While you may hear the terms used interchangeably, “funeral service” generally indicates 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 the wishes of your family. A “memorial service” describes a service where the casket is not present. This service is in memoriam of your loved one, so there may be a focal point such as an urn, a picture, or a floral arrangement. A memorial service can take place at any time prior to or after the burial, cremation or other form of disposition.
Religious preference could be the most important factor in determining the type of funeral service most appropriate for your loved one; in this case your priest, rabbi, or minister will be an excellent source of information.
If you desire a religious service but do not currently belong to a church, we can help you locate a clergy or layperson of your preferred denomination to officiate at the service. And if your loved one did not belong to an organized religion a funeral still provides the opportunity for friends and family to gather, mourn, support and respectfully honor the life lived.
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.
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.
Regardless of the type of service you select, it should be a reflection of your loved one’s life that makes an emotional connection with all those in attendance.
Contemporary thought as it relates to funerals incorporates not only a person’s religious tradition, if any, but also that which allows you to remember your loved one’s hobbies, interests, or a certain quality that made them like no other person.
If you have attended a funeral recently, you may have seen a collage of photographs, a memorial video, personal items of the deceased on display, special mementos, eulogies from close friends or family, special life tribute ceremonies, balloon releases or any other number of unique tributes. All of this is done to help make the funeral more personal, to illustrate that which was unique about the person’s life, and to help those who have lost someone special begin to heal.
If the funeral service you are planning will be following a prescribed religious ritual, your priest, rabbi or minister can advise as to when any personalized tributes can be incorporated into the events leading up to or during the funeral service, if appropriate.
To help you begin the process of planning a unique tribute, think of your answers to the following questions:
The answers to these and similar questions will help you pinpoint those qualities and activities that are most identifiable with your loved one. We can guide you in this process, share ideas, and make recommendations in planning a special and fitting tribute.
For more information our frequently asked questions might be of assistance.