Funeral, Memorial, or Celebration of Life?

By: Powers Funeral Home
Monday, August 15, 2022

Before you meet with funeral homes in Columbia, SC. about our loved one’s arrangements, you may be unsure which service to choose. With the term “funeral” often used as a general term for any type of service you may not be familiar with other options. However, there are some very big differences between server such as funerals, memorial, and celebration of life events. We are going to dive into each one so that you can have a better understanding of each as well as which one you might prefer for your loved one. 

Funeral Service

A funeral service is typically held with burials but can also be held before a cremation. These services are mostly religious in nature with a religious leader acting as the officiant. The body of the deceased is present at the service in the front of the room in a casket.

There is an order to the service and often includes things like prayers recited, hymns or other music selections sung, eulogies given, reading of the obituary, and closing acknowledgements.  

Funeral services are solemn, quiet events where the mood is that of remembrance and respect. The dress is normally formal with men wearing suits and women in nice dresses, skirts and blouses, or pant suits.  

Funerals are typically followed by the burial service as well as a funeral reception.  

Memorial Service

Memorial services are very similar to a funeral service except that they typically take place after a body has been buried or cremated. If cremated, the urn with the deceased’s ashes may or may not be present. 

Just like with a funeral, there is an order of service to the event and also includes things like music selections, eulogies given, reading of the obituary, and readings recited. These services may be religious but also are very commonly held in a more secular nature. 

The tone of this service is also very similar to that of a funeral with it being solemn and quiet. The dress is typically formal and the service may be followed by a reception.  

Celebration of Life Event 

These events are unlike a funeral or memorial service as they feel more like a celebration rather than a solemn service. Although they may include things such as music selections or eulogies given, there is much more an organic, free flowing feel to the events rathe that a strict order. 

These events are typically held after the burial or cremation and act as a way to celebrate the deceased and their life. Because of this, the mood is happy and joyful rather than quiet and somber. 

Celebration of life events are a newer trend, and as such, they don’t have as many expectations on how they should be held which allows families much freedom to hold it anyway they wish.  

You can see that there are several services you can choose from for your loved one. If you are still unsure of which one might be the most appropriate, when meeting with funeral homes in Columbia, SC, your funeral director can help you decide which service may be the best fit for you and your family.  

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