What is the Difference Between a Funeral and a Memorial Service?

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A funeral and a memorial service can look very similar in many ways. They both serve a similar purpose, which is to provide family and friends an opportunity to gather and mourn their loved ones. They can provide a meaningful step in the grieving process, which is to say goodbye to the person who has passed and to recognize and accept their loss. A traditional funeral will typically take place either at your place of worship or at a funeral home near Chesterfield, VA. A memorial service may also take place in these settings, but it sometimes offers a bit more freedom when it comes to planning.

The most basic difference between a funeral and a memorial service is the presence of the body of the deceased. For a traditional funeral, the person’s bodily remains must be present, in either an open or a closed casket. This is necessary for many religious funeral rites, and it offers those attending a chance to say a final, physical goodbye to their loved ones. A memorial service, on the other hand, usually takes place after the final disposition, whether it is burial or cremation. The body is not present for the services, although in some cases their cremated remains may be present.

A funeral typically consists of several different parts. The funeral service is usually preceded by a visitation or viewing, which often takes place the day or evening beforehand. In the case of a viewing, the departed will be laid in an open casket, and visitors will be able to come up and say their final goodbyes. The immediate family is usually waiting in procession, as attendees walk through and offer their condolences. The next day is when the funeral services take place, which often includes a religious sermon, prayers, and a eulogy. This will differ depending on the religious preferences of the family. After the funeral concludes, the family will accompany their loved one to the cemetery for burial, or to the crematory for cremation.

funeral home near Chesterfield, VAA memorial service can have a lot of these same aspects, but without the viewing or visitation beforehand. It can still take place at a funeral home or a place of worship. However, many people are holding different types of memorial services. These might be something more along the lines of a “celebration of life”, in which the atmosphere is encouraged to be more celebratory and upbeat. You may choose to hold your loved one’s memorial service outside, in a place that they would have enjoyed in life. There tends to be a bit more freedom to plan when it comes to having a memorial service.

Whichever one you choose, both a traditional funeral and a memorial service are important steps in the grieving process. They provide a way for family and friends to say a final goodbye, and they offer a way for you to recognize and accept your loss. Your funeral home near Chesterfield, VA, can help you determine which type of service will suit your family better, and you can feel comfortable knowing your loved one’s memory will be upheld with dignity.


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