Why have a funeral service?
Regardless of whether you or your loved one have opted for burial or for cremation, the funeral or memorial service fills an important role. It can:
- Honor, recognize and celebrate the life of the deceased
- Allow friends and family to say their last good-byes
- Provide closure after the loss of a loved one
- Allow friends to console the family of the loved one
So what is a funeral? In general terms, a funeral is a gathering of family and friends after the death of a loved one that allows them the opportunity to mourn, support each other and pay tribute to the life of the deceased. It often consists of one or more of the following components:
A formal or informal ceremony or ritual prior to burial, a funeral service often provides a sense of closure to family and friends. Although your faith or culture may dictate some elements of a funeral service, you may want to personalize other elements of the service. At a funeral service, a casket or urn is present, though you may choose to have the casket open or closed.
Visitation, Wake or Viewing
Held the night before or immediately prior to the funeral service, the visitation – also called a wake or a viewing – provides a way for friends and acquaintances to pay respects and offer condolences to your family. As with the funeral service, you may want to decide if you want an open or closed casket should one be present.
Memorial or Tribute Service
At a memorial or tribute service, a casket or urn is usually not present. Otherwise similar to a funeral or visitation, a memorial service gives family and friends a time to come together in your memory and celebrate your life.
As its name implies, a graveside service may be held at the grave site just prior to burial of a casket or urn, and usually consists of final remarks, prayers or memories. The service may occur after or in place of a funeral service.
There’s no one, right way to plan a funeral service. We believe that each funeral should be as unique and memorable as the life it honors. You can have one service, or several, to honor your life.
When planning your own funeral service in advance, think about the way you want to be remembered. Regardless of the service or services you choose to include in your funeral plan, you can personalize them in almost any way imaginable. For example, consider:
- Where should the funeral be held? At your place of worship? At the funeral home?
- Who should officiate the service?
- Will your service adhere to the traditions of your faith or culture?
- Do you want a eulogy, and who should deliver it?
- Would you like an open or closed casket?
- What music should be played?
- What readings would you like to have read?
- Is there a special poem you’d like shared with the guests?
- Are there any special photographs or other memorabilia you would like displayed?
- Should the décor reflect a particular hobby or interest of yours, such as fishing, gardening or music?
- Is there a particular emblem or engraving you want on your headstone or marker?
- Should there be refreshments served or a more elaborate party held after the service?
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