WHAT IS A FUNERAL?
When considering final arrangements for yourself or a loved one, one of the first decisions you might make is whether you prefer a burial or a cremation. This decision will often influence other important considerations, such as elements of the funeral service and the type of cemetery property.
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.
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 of the elements, you may want to personalize other aspects 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 their 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.
As its name implies, a graveside service may be held at the grave site, just prior to burial of a casket or urn. It usually consists of final remarks, prayers, or memories. The service may occur after or in place of a funeral service.
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, just consider the following questions:
- 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?
- Is there a special poem you’d like shared with the guests?
- Are there any special photographs or other memorabilia you would like displayed?