Funeral Ceremonies
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Different Types Of Funeral Ceremonies - What Is The Most Popular Options?

A funeral service is a collective tradition where people mourn the loss of their loved ones. They help the bereaved find closure and offer communion and hope while acknowledging the life that was lived. Although funerals are commonplace, they differ widely across culture, religion, and topography. There are many ways to do funerals, from a memorial service to a green service, direct cremation, or burial, or scattering ceremony. Let's find out the types of funerals or funeral services and what they entail. Funeral Ceremonies and Variations Funeral services provide deep spiritual and philosophical comfort and help accept and let go of intense emotions in a healthy manner. Below are some of the various types of funerals or funeral services and how they're carried out:

Funeral Service

Funeral Service

Traditional funeral services are the most common type of funerals. It involves elements like a casket, urn, funeral flower wreaths, funeral rituals, and a burial. At this type of funeral ceremony, people assemble to pay their respects to the deceased at the place of visitation. It is usually a place of worship, a funeral home, or more commonly, the family's home. The funeral service is held through prayers, hymns, and eulogies. If you're looking to plan an elaborate one, getting aid from a trusted funeral director is wise. After the ritual, the casket is transported from the funeral home to the cemetery or a crematorium. It marks the end of the formal service with the act of seeing off the departed.

Graveside Service/ Committal Service

Graveside Service

A graveside service or committal service is rooted in Christianity. These types of funerals take place in a cemetery or the burial site where friends, family, and loved ones commit the deceased back to the earth. It isn't necessary to contact a or funeral director for such services. Following a traditional funeral service, a graveside service typically has a pastor speak a few words. It's similar to services at a funeral home but in a different setting. Opting for a graveside service or committal service instead of the whole funeral home service is suitable for brief and simple funerals. 

Direct Burial

As implied, a direct burial involves directly burying the casket. There is no long-drawn traditional funeral service or visitation apart from the immediate family in these types of funerals. A few words spoken on behalf of the family is usually all there's to it. 

Direct burials are simpler to carry out and are more affordable than following through with formal funeral services. Many people opt for these to avoid the very steep costs of hiring a funeral home or contacting a funeral director. Funeral homes are certainly fitting locations for funerals, but not necessary by any means. You can quickly get a good casket from funeral caskets providers like Trusted Caskets, and conduct a brief and dignified burial. 

Direct Cremation

Direct Cremation

Direct cremation implies immediate incineration of the deceased, which remains are returned to the family. In direct cremation, no committal service or visitation before the cremation is required. It often follows a wake or a memorial service to comfort the bereaved. Direct cremation is the least expensive procedure of disposing of the body. There's no need for burial land in these types of funerals. It's also environment friendly as embalming chemicals do not seep into the ground during direct cremation.

Memorial Service

What makes memorial services special is the reminiscing of the good times. Much like traditional funeral services, memorial services are pretty elaborate. The only difference is that the body is absent in these types of funeral services. A memorial service need not take place under a fixed time frame following death. This flexibility allows friends and family to negotiate dates and attend the event. A memorial service can be held at funeral homes and other locations like parks or gardens. It all depends on the deceased's close family and friends. You can even choose to do a memorial service at the departed's residence. It is advised to approach a trusted funeral director for these types of funeral services.

Celebration of Life

Celebration of Life

A funeral service or memorial service carries a blue tint of melancholy. In comparison, a celebration of life is a more joyful event that centers on the positive aspects of a person's life. As different traditions celebrate differently, one can mourn or rejoice as a tribute. What's important is to celebrate life meaningfully as an act of respect to the deceased with food, dancing, and sharing happy memories. Such celebrations are held days, weeks, or even years after the funeral service, with the remains often absent. To avoid any sombreness, settings like funeral homes are avoided for these unique types of funeral services.


As named, here, the departed is presented to be viewed by mourners. It may be a body viewing in a casket or the presentation of a cremation urn. Viewing may be hosted by the deceased's family or funeral homes the night before the funeral service or memorial service. This type of funeral service is entirely optional, keeping with the deceased's specific wishes or that of family members.


Visitation, wake, and viewing are generally used interchangeably. Visitations are held at funeral homes or the family's residence if the family decides to do a home memorial service. It's often held in conjunction with a traditional funeral. The idea behind such visitations is a first-response visit to support the mourning family. A visitation is an excellent opportunity for the family to arrange photos and other memorabilia as tokens on display. It may be accompanied by drinks, appetizers, and even meals. 


A wake or vigil is a common practice in traditional funeral services that involves sitting with the dead throughout the night at the funeral home or residence of the deceased. It is often religious and has its origins in Catholicism. A wake session will have friends, loved ones, and mourners seeking each other in comfort. It's when they collectively pay their final respects to the deceased. However, like visitations, wakes can be supplemented with prayers, recitations, or hymns.

Burial at Sea

Burial at Sea

In this type of funeral service, the deceased's cremated remains are released into the ocean using boats and airplanes. Full-body burials are also being done. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) closely monitors sea burials. So, it is advisable to contact a legal agency specializing in sea burials. A common practice among the Hindus involves immersing the cremated remains in the flowing waters of a river, which are usually revered as sacred.

Funerals Services Which Gaining Popularity:

Scattering Ceremony

Both direct cremation services and scattering ceremonies are widely practiced today. In a scattering ceremony, the cremated remains of the deceased are dispersed, instead of preserved or buried. The ashes may be sprinkled off into the wind or anywhere in nature. It could be at a location having significant importance to the deceased. These ceremonies can either be glorious or simple. Some may choose to have the initial service a funeral home while others, outdoors. It depends on where the cremation takes place. As with committal service, a scattering ceremony allows for addressing a few special words like quoting the loved one's favorite author or reading scripture. Offering a prayer or singing a hymn are other options. It is advisable to be mindful of laws where the scattering of ashes may be permitted or prohibited.

Green Service

Another one that has been gaining in popularity is the environment-friendly funeral service or 'Green Funeral Service.' It strives to be as close to all-natural, which means that burials should be environmentally friendly. Choosing a biodegradable coffin or casket, preferring cremation over burial, and using little or no embalming chemicals are active constituents of this service. Hiring a funeral home is usually avoided in a green funeral service. 

Atheist Funerals

With more people being exposed to philosophical and ideological lifestyles, atheist funerals are increasingly being adopted. Such memorials honor the departed's life without any religious basis, rejecting religious notions of life, death, and the afterlife. Music and readings are commonly shared in consoling a family in grief at an atheistic funeral service. This is followed by a burial of the coffin or casket and final rites. Cremations are also popular. 

Humanist Funeral Service

As with atheist services, humanist/non-religious services have gained prominence. A humanist service will focus chiefly on the memory of the life that has passed without religious undertones. The formal ceremony begins with a coffin display or cremation, music, and words welcoming the opportunity to share thoughts, readings, and deserving tributes. These are all presented in a secular context. Towards the end of the ceremony, a minute of silence will be observed. This will be followed by a committal service when the burial takes place or the final rites of a cremation. People may offer last words of farewell before or after.

The Importance of Funeral Services 

There are various types of funeral services, distinct and identical. But whether similar or dissimilar, what funerals do is provide much-needed closure to the family after a loss. These are passing away ceremonies will always stand as a marker for the bereaved to hold their peace in tribute and honor for the dear ones who have left them. It is an assured constant that death will come for the same reason as life comes. And with this foresight, one can decide on a viable funeral ceremony for oneself or a loved one. 

Closing Comments

Besides creating a formal ceremony or funeral plan, choosing cremation or burial, type of casket or coffin, choice of flowers and refreshments, a lot of thought and dedication that goes into honoring a loved one. After all, it would be nothing short of the highest praise that we would all want to give to the dead. If you need a helping hand, reach out to a reliable funeral director or casket provider like Trusted Caskets, who is always ready to help you with selecting the funeral casket for your loved one. Such services are excellent in trying times when planning funerals seems just too overwhelming. 

We hope you found this piece on funerals adequately informative. The next time you're organizing a funeral service yourself or attending one, you'll now surely be aware of the appropriate type of funeral service. It'll ensure that your sentiments are delivered the right way.

  Blog Author: Tim