Regardless of the type of disposition you choose for yourself or loved one, certain elements of the service remain the same. You can choose any, all or none of the following elements to celebrate the life lived and begin to mourn the loss of one you loved.
Commonly called Visiting Hours or a Wake, the visitation is a time for family and friends to gather before the formal service. The center piece of the visitation can be a casket (open or closed) or an urn. This element of service should be highly personalized with music, pictures and symbols celebrating a life. Symbols can be things like a favorite hat, a fishing pole and tackle, a quilt or afghan or some wood work or craft made by your loved one. The visitation is also the place where you or your family will begin to receive the support needed from the community.
This is also the time when fraternal organizations and clubs will perform the final rituals and traditions of the individual organization.
The visitation is typically held in the funeral home chapel, simply because it has all that is needed readily at hand, however, in the past we have held visitations in churches, public buildings and private homes.
Also know as a Funeral, Memorial Service or Celebration of Life, the ceremony is a religious or secular service with a celebrant to lead the ceremony. You will meet with the celebrant to decide the elements of the ceremony, what music will be played, who will do the readings and what will be read and who will deliver the eulogy. Your religious tradition will largely influence the type and flow of the service.
Those without religious tradition should not be dissuaded from planning a ceremony. Ceremonies around death predate organized religion by thousands of years, it is part of who we are as human beings. We are honored to have been an important part of many moving secular ceremonies and can help you plan one for yourself or your loved one.
This is also an ancient tradition, when we publicly "carry" our loved one from the ceremony to their place of final rest.
The committal or graveside service is just that, a service at the graveside. It is typically a short service, led by a celebrant. It can include readings, music and religious rituals. The graveside is the most common place for military honors to be performed, although they are routinely performed in other settings.
Commonly called the reception, it's a time to eat, drink and share the company and support of friends and family. The reception can be held in a home, restaurant, church hall or banquet facility and can be anything from cheese and crackers to a pot luck BBQ to a formal catered affair. We are not able to host receptions in our facilities, but we are happy to help you with the organization and details.
For more detailed information on the elements of a meaningful funeral please go HERE.