What Is a Funeral Service?

A loved one passing away is hard for many. In addition, deciding what preparations need to be made for a funeral service is even harder.

If you recently lost a loved one, you may want to learn more about planning a funeral service so that you can give them the send-off they deserve. Below is an outline of everything included in funeral services.

What Is a Funeral Service?

A funeral service is a ceremony held to commemorate, honor and celebrate the life of a deceased person. The family and friends of the deceased gather to pay their respects, offer condolences and provide comfort and support to the grieving family. The body of the deceased is usually present and attendees have the opportunity to view it. The service is often held at a cemetery, funeral home or a place of worship.

What Is Included in a Funeral Service

Funeral services vary in different parts of the world. The religion and culture of the deceased have a lot to do with what the service will look like. However, there are notable elements that are included in most funeral services, according to the experienced funeral home directors at Southern Cremations & Funerals.

1. Visitation or wake

The wake is held before the funeral. It could be a day or hours before the funeral. It’s usually held at the deceased person’s home or the funeral home. Attendees get a chance to view the body and offer condolences to the family.

2. Funeral ceremony

The funeral ceremony occurs in a place of worship, a funeral home or any other designated venue. It often happens on the day of the funeral, led by a religious leader, funeral director or both, depending on where it occurs. The following will take place during a funeral ceremony.

  • Welcome: the funeral service begins when mourners enter the church or chapel and take their seats.
  • Music: the music played or sung will depend on where the funeral is held. If it’s at a church, hymns and other religious songs may be sung and played. If it’s at a funeral home, the type of music may depend on what the deceased enjoyed and what the immediate family wants. It could be religious or secular.
  • Readings: the priest will read scripture if the ceremony is religious. If not, the speaker offers words to console and encourage the family.
  • Eulogy and tribute: a selected person reads the eulogy, which details the deceased person’s life. Afterward, several people will read their tributes which usually include stories about how they knew the deceased and any special moments they shared.
  • Conclusion of funeral ceremony: towards the end, the funeral director announces the burial location and gives a vote of thanks. For a religious ceremony, the priest will close with a prayer and a hymn may be sung as mourners leave the church or chapel.

3. Committal service

This is a short service held to say a final goodbye before the body is buried or cremated. Sometimes, it’s only attended by immediate family members.

4. Reception

A reception that comes after the body has been laid to rest or cremated. It is often held at the deceased’s home, where mourners gather to share a meal and catch up. The event allows family members to thank the guests for coming.

How Long Is a Funeral Service?

A funeral service can last from half an hour to several hours. It will depend on the length of the eulogy, the type of funeral and the number of people allowed to pay tribute. This time needs to be predetermined to avoid inconveniencing attendees; some speakers might get carried away and take more time. Moreover, a longer service could mean a higher cost for the funeral home services.


Planning a funeral can be stressful and emotional; however, this guide has covered what to expect, making things easier for you and your family. More importantly, be sure to work with the experienced funeral home directors at Southern Cremations & Funerals, who are willing to help during challenging moments.

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