There are many different types of funerals and services offered by Guilderland, NY funeral homes. Each funeral has unique details and traditions; understanding these differences can be helpful if you’re planning the ceremony for a friend or family member. From basic to elaborate, here’s a look at some of the most common types of funerals.
The simplest type of funeral is a direct cremation. In this service, the body is cremated directly after the person dies, and there is no ceremony or viewing. Only close relatives get to say goodbye before the body is cremated, but the family may choose a memorial service later. A direct cremation is usually the most affordable of funerals, comparable in cost only to direct burials.
Immediate or direct burial
If you would like a simple ritual to mark the passing of your loved one, you may consider an immediate burial. In this service, the body will be buried right after the person dies. No fanfare ceremony takes place before or immediately after. A direct burial can be more affordable than other burials since no additional expenses on embalming, ceremonial caskets, or elaborate gatherings are involved.
Traditional funeral service
The most common type of funeral service is called “traditional” or “religious” because it includes elements such as prayers, sermons, scripture readings, hymns, etc. It often has music renditions from instrumentalists or live singers from the procession to exiting from the gathering. The casket lies in a place of honor throughout a traditional funeral service. Proceedings may begin from the previous day with a visitation, viewing, or wake.
Other meaningful fixtures at a traditional funeral include flowers, pamphlets, tribute showings, and a eulogy. The family may offer meals and drinks to their guests at a reception in their loved one’s honor. In the case of cremation, the body is taken to the crematorium after the funeral. The remains (ashes) are returned to the family later for final disposition.
Graveside or committal service
After the funeral service, the body is transported from the funeral home to its final resting place. With burial, the family may have a graveside service as the body is committed to the earth. A committal service can also hold when inurning cremated remains. This can be at a scattering garden or urn plot in a cemetery, columbarium niche, mausoleum, or even at home if desired.
A committal service can be very brief or last up to an hour, depending on the family’s wishes. It can include music, prayer, and scripture readings or be non-religious. The officiant(s) may speak a few words and then invite others to share their memories of the deceased.
Memorial service or celebration of life
A memorial service or life celebration is usually held later after the body is cared for through burial or cremation. It is a gathering of family and friends to honor the deceased’s life. The service can be religious or non-religious and can be held virtually anywhere. A memorial service can include music, prayer, scripture readings, sharing of stories about the person who has died, as well as food and drink. If ashes are still available, a life celebration may culminate in a scattering ceremony.
Some families like to have a memorial service instead of a funeral so they can share more stories and remember the deceased less mournfully. They may also want to invite people who could not attend the funeral. The type of funeral you choose will depend on your beliefs and wishes regarding death and the way you want to pay tribute to your loved one. Also, consider what would be most meaningful for family members mourning the loss. If you need help deciding which type of funeral would best suit your (loved one’s) wishes and needs. Or, if you need advice on any aspect of planning a funeral, our Guilderland, NY funeral home is here for you 24/7. Call or visit us today.