Considering a Funeral

A funeral service, sometimes called a memorial service or a celebration of life, is a beautiful way to acknowledge, celebrate and honor the life of a loved one who has passed away. A funeral can bring comfort and peace to those who mourn and bring people together to share in the sorrow of loss and the joy of having known someone.

There are many different ways to celebrate a life, and each can be tailored specifically to the individual being honored, as well as their family. If a loved one has passed, you may have questions as to what kind of service to have. You may want to understand the difference between a traditional funeral and a memorial service. Or, you may want to pre-arrange your own service to ease the burden for your loved ones and to help make sure it reflects your unique life.

Maybe you aren’t sure what kind of funeral service you want to have, whether for you or a loved one. Services may include traditional funerals, wakes, visitations, memorial services and celebrations of life. Keep in mind that many people choose to include more than one of these events when remembering their loved one. It’s all about honoring the person through a unique service that fits their personality as well as what was important to them.

Traditional funeral

A traditional funeral is often presided over by an officiant of a church or a director of a funeral home. Traditional funerals tend to be formal in mood and are traditional in their program. They may be held at a funeral home or at a religious place such as a church or temple.

Memorial service

A funeral service without a casket or urn present is called a memorial service. It is similar to a traditional funeral, and honors the life of a loved one and can take place months or even a year after someone has passed away.


The atmosphere at a wake is typically less formal than at a traditional funeral. A wake may occur at a home or at a funeral home and can happen either in the days before or in place of a traditional funeral. Often, wakes are held in an “open house” format.


A visitation (sometimes also called a viewing or a wake) is an opportunity for the family of a loved one to receive visitors and spend some time talking with and being comforted by friends. This is also a time to pay respects to a loved one and gives a sense of closure to both family and friends. Many times a visitation period occurs the day before a funeral and again immediately preceding a funeral service.

Celebration of life service

“Celebration of life” is a term used to describe a personalized funeral or memorial service which is oftentimes more celebratory in nature than it is somber and formal. These services can be as traditional or non-traditional as a family desires, from a funeral service with special photos displayed to a beachside barbecue where friends and family gather in a place loved by the person being celebrated.