Funeral services are held to give those left behind an opportunity to say goodbye to a loved one, as well as a way to provide closure and an opportunity to grieve. Tradition has been that a funeral service must be a religious ceremony and held in a church. This just doesn’t suit everyone though, which is why there has been a move towards funeral celebrants offering different types of funeral services. It is these which we will walk you through today.

6 Types of Funeral Services

There are six different types of funeral services we are going to explore:

  1. Traditional funeral service which is usually held in the deceased persons home, church, crematoriums or funeral home. This will usually be held within days of the persons death
  2. Memorial service is less formal and can be held weeks, or months after the death. It can be held at any location such as a favourite spot that the deceased loved while they were alive. The main difference is though there is no casket as the person has already been laid to rest. This can be particularly important if the close family of the deceased had a private ceremony prior, which excluded non-family.
  3. A graveside committal ceremony can be held after the funeral service or on its own. This ceremony consists of rituals that are brief in nature by a religious or non-religious person. Loved ones can place flowers on top of the casket before dirt is filled into the grave.
  4. Viewings allow a person to see the person before a funeral service, they may be viewings at the funeral home or at the deceased persons home to allow. This is the last time people can see the face of the recently deceased (unless it is an open casket funeral) in an informal setting to say goodbye, make peace and grieve the person they love and miss
  5. Ash scattering ceremony can be held sometime after the deceased person has been cremated where the ashes are scattered anywhere that had special meaning to the decease. This could be the ocean, forest or sporting ground for instance. Permission is usually required to shatter ashes.
  6. Direct burial or direct cremation occurs where there is no special service, viewing or funeral; the body is simply buried or cremated. Ashes of the deceased person will be returned after this process. This can often be an option if the family of the deceased are not quite ready to say goodbye just yet and will give them a real service later in the form of a memorial service

Working with a funeral celebrant will give you the opportunity to hold a funeral service which best meets the wants and needs of the deceased and their family. We invite you to view and select a funeral celebrant from our NZ-wide Celebrant Directory to help you through this challenging time.