|These days with
the term “memorial service” more common, we are often asked just what the
difference is between a funeral and a memorial service? A funeral
service and a memorial service both serve the same purpose - they are the
ritual through which we formerly say goodbye to our departed loved one.
Both can be as long or short as required and focus on being a tribute and
celebration of the life of the person departed.
A Memorial Service
A funeral service typically
takes place with the body of the departed present, whereas a memorial service
takes place without the actual body present. A funeral service can
refer to a traditional graveside burial service, or it can refer to a funeral
service conducted in a chapel when a cremation is later performed.
A funeral service most often is conducted within a week of the death occurring.
A memorial service generally
takes place some time after the death and disposition has occurred.
It is usually a service specifically to memorialize the life of the deceased.
If a cremation has been performed, often a memorial service is conducted
to inter or scatter the cremated remains, at the same time as the celebration
of the deceased’s life. A memorial service can also be held following
a private funeral service. Sometimes family will arrange a private
family funeral service, and then hold a memorial service at a later date
when family who could not attend the funeral can gather. A memorial
service is often held when someone had particular ties to a community as
a ritual to help people pay their last respects.
At US Funerals Online,
we have encountered families who will state that they largely arranged
what the funeral director recommended, sometimes feeling that they lost
control of the ritual. This is why it is very important to choose
the right funeral provider.
to choose whether to have a funeral or memorial service
How you decide to memorialize
your loved one should be an entirely personal choice, and observing the
wishes of the deceased. We often hear the quote that “funerals are
for the living”, which of course they are. But too often family are
swayed into a funeral service that can become overwhelming, driven by our
social concerns with what other people will think.
The funeral industry today
has evolved to such a scale as to make the whole ‘service’ aspect of a
funeral, largely an aspect that is in their domain.
Do I need a funeral
home to hold a memorial service?
The simple answer is no,
you do not have to employ the services of a funeral director to conduct
a memorial service. A memorial service is more of an event, often
referred to now as a ‘life event’, and many memorial services are hosted
as a Life Celebration. You can employ the services of someone experienced
in hosting such as event, and these days there are a growing number of
However, you can also host
your own memorial service, and it is probably the most personalized and
least expensive manner in which you can pay tribute to your dearly departed.
The ability to now arrange a simple, direct cremation to manage the disposition,
and then be at liberty to perform your own memorialization is changing
our whole attitudes to death care ritual in modern society.
Our experience has been that
many in the funeral industry are still resistive of this change, largely
as it makes many of their services redundant. Yet there are a growing
number of funeral professionals who recognize that a cultural shift is
occurring and they are changing with the times. If simplicity is
what you require from a funeral director make sure you opt for a funeral
home that understand and delivers this. How you want to memorialize
your loved one is your choice, and you should never be coerced into thinking
that you have made the wrong choice.