Memorial Service

Types of Funeral Services

There are many different types of funeral services and ceremonies. Find out what to expect at each of them and let Memoria professionals help you curate the perfect ceremony.


There are many different types of funeral services and ceremonies. It can be difficult to keep them all straight in your head, or even to differentiate between the various terms. Find out what to expect at each of them and let Memoria help you curate the perfect ceremony.

Planning a Funeral or Memorial Service

How friends and family say goodbye to the deceased is determined by the type of event you choose. You can plan for a formal affair with speakers, a more casual event with only your closest friends and family present, or anything in between.

  • A funeral service is a formal ceremony that is based on the religious and cultural beliefs of the deceased. The ceremony is for celebrating or remembering the life of a person who has died. At this type of ceremony, the deceased’s body must be present and must not be cremated, which is why it takes place within a few days of the death. Family and friends of the deceased attend and pay their last respects to the deceased and their immediate family. An officiant will typically preside over the ceremony and friends and family may eulogize the deceased. Music is also typically part of the service and can feature live or recorded music, as well as special songs that meant something to the deceased. After the eulogy, many funerals include an open mic time. This allows those gathered to tell stories of the deceased and talk about their personality. It’s a great way for loved ones to come together and remember the person they love. You may wonder how longs do funerals last – once again, this will depend on factors like culture and religion but usually expect the service to last between half an hour to one hour.

  • A memorial service is similar to a funeral with one difference: The body is not present implying the ceremony can take place before or after the body has been buried or cremated (the cremated remains may be present during the memorial service). Because the body does not need to be present, a memorial service can be held at any time after the death, from days, to a week to a year. A memorial service can be held virtually anywhere that you or loved ones prefer. If your loved one had a special or favorite place such as a park, golf course or hiking trail, consider that location as an option. The memorial service can also be held at a more traditional or religious venue such as a funeral home, church or temple.

What you will need to consider for both types of services:

  • Location of the service

  • Clothing and styling of the deceased (if body present)

  • Scripture readings

  • Music played (i.e. your loved one’s favourite song)

  • Who will be the officiant

  • Who will deliver the eulogy

  • Types of flowers

  • Who will be the pallbearers

  • Transport of the deceased

In addition to planning the funeral or memorial service, you will want to consider whether you wish to include services before and after the ceremony.

What Is a Wake

A wake or viewing is held before the funeral or memorial service as a time for close friends and family to gather together to say goodbye to the deceased.

What Is a Visitation

A visitation also happens before a funeral or memorial, but the body is typically not present during this event. People use visitations to express their sympathy and support for the family without the time constraints of a funeral.

What Is a Graveside Service

Very similar to a traditional funeral, except the service happens at the grave before the burial. You can choose to plan a funeral service first with all your friends and family, and then a more intimate affair at the graveside with only your closest loved ones. Or you can simply plan a graveside service. With this type of service, a person of your choosing will eulogize. It’s not uncommon for people to ask friends and family to speak at a graveside service. Some people include flowers at a graveside service, and many times, people lay flowers on the casket before it is lowered into the ground as a final goodbye.

What Is a Funeral Reception

It is customary (but not required) to hold a reception following a funeral or memorial service. This gathering offers friends and family the perfect way to get together and share special memories of the deceased. With funerals becoming more customized, receptions can range from casual pot lucks at a family home to full sit down meals at the deceased favorite restaurant, park, golf course, etc. The reception can be as simple or as elaborate as you like.

Funeral Homes Near Me

Do you have more questions or considerations about the funerals? Or need help finding a funeral home you can trust? Speak to a caring and knowledgeable Funeral Advisor at Memoria. We are experienced in this industry and will guide you through the many hurdles from start to finish. This is a difficult time in your life and you shouldn’t have to face it alone.