Celebrate a Life Lived
“What a weight to have lifted off our shoulders to finally start taking care of our arrangements. This is all to keep our son, and each other, from having to make hard decisions when either of us passes away.”
- Bill, 64, and Carol, 63, R.
Whether you’re planning for yourself or for a loved one, the funeral service is one of the most important elements of a person’s final arrangements. With the opportunity for great personalization, the funeral service can truly reflect the uniqueness of the life it honours.
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:
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. Dignity Memorial® providers believe that each funeral should be as unique and memorable as the life it honours. Consider these examples of unique services:
When planning your own funeral service in advance, think about the way you want to be remembered. Perhaps these examples will spark an idea of how you can personalize your own funeral service. Perhaps you’d like a traditional funeral aligned with certain religious or ethnic customs. Or, a celebration focusing on great memories made with family and friends may be your preference. Maybe it’s a combination of both. You can have one service, or several, to honour your life.
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 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?
Ready to make your funeral plans today? Use our free online planning tool to start planning now. You can make your selection online and record the ways you’d like to personalize your service. Plus, you can even save your plan while it’s in progress, come back to finish it or add more details later, and share it with family and friends when you’re done.
Or, record all your choices for personalized funeral and cemetery services in our convenient Personal Planning Guide. To request your free copy, contact a Dignity Memorial provider near you, click here to request one online, or call 800-34-DIGNITY.
The Dignity Memorial network: North America’s leading funeral homes and cemeteries, united to bring you the services you need when it matters most.