Your Choice Of Funeral
Funeral Homes provide many options today. The options are limited only by the imaginations and desires of the deceased and their family. The important concept of any funeral is to suitably remember and honor the life of the deceased in a manner that best suits both them and their family and friends. Services may include memorialization at a church, funeral home, or other facility. They can be religious services of any faith/denomination, or non-religious services. They could involve burial, cremation, or both; burial and cremation are simply methods of final disposition of the body, and the choice of either method does not affect your choice of other service elements, but merely the order in which they occur.
"The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living."
Marcus Tullius Cicero
A funeral service recognizes the deceased by having the casketed body present, and comforts those in grief by giving them the opportunity for a final viewing. It is usually held in a funeral home or at a church, and burial or cremation follows the service. Many funerals are religious, but they do not have to be.
A memorial services commemorates the life of the deceased after burial or cremation. It has many of the same elements as a funeral, with the exception of the opportunity for viewing; an urn containing the cremated remains may be present, or photos or other mementos may represent the deceased at the services. Like funerals, memorial ceremonies are often held in a funeral home or at a church.
Family and friends can pay their respects and express their care and support at the visitation. It is usually informal, and commonly held at the funeral home the evening prior to a service, or at the location of the service immediately prior to it. It is an unstructured, communal gathering of friends and family. The casketed body may be present for paying last respects, or an urn may be displayed. Occasionally, a prayer vigil, group ritual, or a few informal brief remarks might be included at some point during the visitation. Note: viewing and visitation are not necessarily the same thing; one can include viewing in the part of a visitation, but may also have a closed casket or urn present instead. Lack of a viewing does not preclude one from having visitation.
A graveside service provides an intimate final goodbye. It is usually a simple service with poetry or scripture readings. It may be the final element of a funeral or memorial service, or done independently. Veterans may choose to have military honors at the graveside.
Whether burial or cremation is chosen for final disposition, a visitation and/or service can precede or follow the chosen method.
While there are common elements to most services, there are innumerable ways to individualize them. Consider special readings or music for funeral or memorial services. Especially during visitations, there are many ways to add special touches, such as displaying personal memorabilia, hobby materials, memory books or photo boards. You might choose to prepare a video tribute or put out a memorial candle, both of which we can provide. You might consider taking a few moments for a speaker to say a few words, or for those in attendance to share their thoughts and memories. When applicable, there may be religious ceremonies such as parish vigils or rosary services, or rituals by organizations such as the VFW, American Legion, Masons, or others.
Further personalization is possible in the selection of merchandise, from custom casket interiors or burial vault appliqués to engraved or specially ordered urns. The order of services might be tailored to suit your preferences; some might choose to have a private graveside service followed by a public memorial service, for example. Far from being intimidated by the numerous choices, you should feel free to consider any options that best suit your needs and desires.
Do you wish to simply record your wishes in the comfort of your own home? Our "My Funeral Wishes" handout was created for just that purpose. This free, simple questionnaire will help guide you through the details of planning a service.
Used in conjunction with our "How Much Does a Funeral Cost?" planner, you can determine both the details and the costs of your desired funeral services. A no-obligation follow-up with one of our directors will help ensure that you haven't missed anything, and that you've estimated your costs properly.