The popular image of a funeral is usually one of many people gathered in a church or other house of worship, coffin in the background, and speakers lined up to share memories. But if you're trying to pre-plan your funeral, you do have other options. The term "funeral service" is quite flexible, so don't assume that you have to have a big production when you die.
Full Funeral Service
In a full funeral service, there's a ceremony, usually in a place of worship or a center reserved for official gatherings, led by an officiant who is normally not part of the family. For example, a priest, rabbi, or humanist association leader could be an officiant at the funeral (there's nothing really stopping you from having a family member be the officiant, but it's more typical to have an outside leader who is associated with either your spiritual community or the funeral home). This is when most prayers are said and when most people offer eulogies. The body and coffin are usually at the front of the room.
This is the graveside portion of the full funeral service. There may still be an officiant, but the eulogies are shorter. People generally meet at the main funeral home to learn the location of the grave, and then everyone heads out to the site. This is shorter and more succint, which many people prefer, but it still offers the chance to have something that most people would consider an official funeral.
This is simply a gathering of people who want to remember the deceased. It does not have to be done at the cemetary; it can be done at a relative's home or in a favorite garden if you can get the right permissions from the owners or managers. You don't need a religious leader if you don't want one, nor do you need an outside officiant -- that can be a family member. The advantage of a memorial is that the ceremony timing and format are more flexible, while the form of the memorial is still official enough to provide closure to those attending.
Informal Services or Memorials
If you know that the crowd of people you'd want at your funeral will be very small -- maybe just a few close family and friends -- you can always have an informal service that takes place away from the cemetary. Maybe everyone gathers as your ashes are scattered, for example, and just reminisces about you in a conversation. The advantage of this is that it is very low-key and can be arranged at everyone's convenience. The disadvantage is that it might not provide as much emotional closure as an official ceremony. Just keep in mind that you'll still have to involve a funeral home regarding transferring the body to a burial site or crematorium no matter what you do. The funeral home will also help you with placing the obituary and notifying some government agencies such as Social Security, if needed.
If you're still not sure which type of service you'd want, talk to a funeral home like Shepherd Funeral Home. You'll get a better idea of what each type of service would be like and how much involvement the home would have.Share
14 January 2016
When my father passed away a year ago, my mother didn't have any problems with the funeral or burial. My father planned his funeral in advance. He didn't want to burden my mom with any problems during her time of grieving. That hit me. I realized that I didn't have any plans for my own future, which would make it even harder on my wife and kids. So, I contacted a funeral home online and requested information about burial services. The funeral home provided me with many options that I could afford to pay over time or upfront. My wife also helped select burial plots for us because we didn't want to be separated — even after death. I encourage you to read through my blog. It offers great tips and advice on how to plan for your own future. Don't wait. You never know what life holds for you.