Whether you’re preplanning your funeral or creating a celebration of life for someone you love, you’ll have to decide whether to hold a traditional funeral or a memorial service. While both of these services are designed to honor an individual’s life, there are a few key differences between these options. To help you determine which ceremony is best for you and your family, here’s a quick, informative comparison.
Funerals vs. Memorial Service
Presence of the Deceased
With a traditional funeral, the body is present for a viewing and through the structured service, during which eulogies and religious messages are delivered. This gathering is then typically followed by a burial, where a graveside service is provided in the cemetery. There may also be a cremation, in which the remains are interred in a plot or columbarium.
Memorial services follow many of the same traditions, but the body is not present. Instead, guests join together and follow a less structured ceremony to celebrate an individual’s life. Memorials are ideal for situations where a person may already be cremated or buried.
The amount of time between death and a funeral varies depending on the needs of the family. However, this traditional service usually occurs within about a week to better accommodate preservation needs. If more time is needed, families might instead opt for a memorial service. These occasions can be held at any time and allow for more detailed planning.
Although they can be somewhat customized, funerals tend to follow a traditional format and are hosted within a church or mortuary. Given the short amount of planning time, families may not have enough time to decide on music, catering, and other arrangements.
By comparison, memorial services provide more room for families to structure the event how and where they see fit. These services are typically lighter in mood and feature a wide range of elements and activities that honor the deceased’s life. For example, more people may be invited to share their memories, photographs and other mementos may be on display, and favorite foods of the departed may be served.
The cost of a memorial can vary, depending on how many people attend and what activities are involved. However, they tend to be less expensive compared to funerals, as they do not necessarily have to incur the cost of preparing the body and the subsequent burial.
Choosing which service is best for you or a loved one isn’t always easy. That’s why the team at Leeward Funeral Home offers compassionate support to help guide you through the process. Taking time to understand your family’s preferences, this trusted Oahu mortuary will help plan a celebration of life designed to honor the deceased. Learn more about their commitment to care online, or call (808) 455-1041 for help planning a memorial service in Pearl City, HI.