An introduction to personalizing funeral services and celebrations of life

Arranging a funeral for a loved one is an important responsibility, and it can seem daunting. We’re here to help you understand all of the options available to you, so you can personalize the arrangements to truly reflect the uniqueness of the life they honour.

In general terms, a funeral is a gathering of family and friends after the death of a loved one that provides an opportunity to

  • Honour, recognize and celebrate the life of the deceased
  • Allow friends and family to say their last good-byes
  • Allow family and friends to share in the loss of a loved one
  • Allow friends to console the family of the loved one

Here are some of the details you might consider.

Final Disposition – Burial or Cremation

When considering final arrangements for yourself or a loved one, one of the first decisions you might make is whether you prefer burial or cremation. This decision often influences other important considerations, such as elements of the funeral service and cemetery requirements.

Visitation, Wake or Viewing

Usually held the day before or immediately prior to the funeral service, the visitation – sometimes referred to as a wake or a viewing – provides a way for friends and acquaintances to pay respects and offer condolences to your family. If there is a casket, you may decide to have it present, either open or closed; or an urn may be present. This is a perfect time to share memories in photos and memorabilia, and we can create a personalized slideshow of your photos to show at the visitation

Funeral Service

The funeral service helps to make real the death of the loved one and provides a sense of closure for family and friends. It might be a formal or informal ceremony or ritual prior to final disposition, and while your faith, culture or personal beliefs may dictate some elements of the service, you can personalize many elements of the service. We believe the funeral service is an important part of the process in the healthy grieving for such a significant loss. The casket or urn may be present.

Memorial or Tribute Service or Celebration of Life

At a memorial or tribute service, a casket is usually not present. Otherwise similar to a funeral or visitation, a memorial service gives family and friends a time to come together to share memories and celebrate the life of the deceased.

Graveside Service

As its name implies, a graveside service may be held at the grave site just prior to interment of a casket or urn and usually consists of final remarks, prayers or reflective readings and memories. The service may occur after the funeral service and include a committal service or it may be a preferred venue selected instead of the more formalized funeral service.

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