What You Need to Know About Funeral Services

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In the face of losing a loved one, grief can cloud our judgment and make even basic decisions feel monumental. Funeral services, while essential for honoring the deceased and providing closure for those left behind, can add another layer of complexity to this already difficult time.

This blog post is here to serve as a gentle guide, offering clarity and understanding as you navigate the various aspects of funeral arrangements. We'll explore the different types of ceremonies available, address common questions about costs, and other essential information you need to know to make the best decisions during this challenging time.

What Are Funeral Services?

Funeral services are ceremonies that honor, remember, and celebrate the life of a person who has passed away. These services can vary widely depending on cultural norms, religious practices, personal preferences, and budget. Typically, they involve a series of events including viewing or visitation, a formal service, and often a committal service at the burial site.

Different Types of Funeral Services

When thinking of funerals, most people picture a traditional ceremony: a somber gathering at a funeral home, with a viewing beforehand, followed by a eulogy and burial. But the truth is, funeral services have become much more diverse in recent years. This allows families to create a ceremony that truly reflects the life and wishes of the deceased. Here are the different types of funeral services available nowadays:


Traditional funeral services are a series of rituals that provide a dignified way to say goodbye to a loved one. These services usually begin with a viewing or visitation, allowing friends and family to gather in the presence of the deceased to offer their respects and support to the bereaved family. This is followed by a formal funeral service, which is typically held in a church or funeral home and includes various religious or secular rites.  

The service might include readings, prayers, eulogies, and music that reflect the beliefs or preferences of the deceased and their family. Finally, the ceremony concludes with the burial or cremation, where the body of the deceased is laid to rest either in a cemetery or crematorium. These elements combined allow for a structured farewell, providing closure to grieving family and friends.

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Memorial services are similar to funeral services but are held without the deceased’s body present. This type of service is often chosen when the deceased has been cremated prior to the service or if the body is not available. A memorial service can be held anywhere from a funeral home to a family home, or even in a more informal setting such as a community hall or outdoors. 

It provides a flexible option for families who may need more time to gather together, particularly when involving travel from distant areas. During the service, loved ones can share memories, read poems or religious texts, play music, or display photographs and other mementos that celebrate the life of the deceased.


Direct cremation is a straightforward, no-frills approach to post-death care, involving the cremation of the body shortly after death without any formal funeral or memorial service. This option does not require embalming, viewing, or even a casket if the family chooses not to have one. After the cremation process, the ashes are returned to the family, who can then decide to keep them in an urn, scatter them in a meaningful location, or bury them in a cemetery. Direct cremation offers a cost-effective and less ceremonial way to handle the deceased's final arrangements, allowing families to plan a personal memorial at a later date if they wish.


Green burials represent an environmentally sustainable alternative to traditional burial practices. This method uses biodegradable caskets and shrouds and does not involve embalming fluids, which can be toxic to the environment. The body is allowed to decompose naturally and contribute to the ecosystem in a conservation cemetery or natural burial ground. Green burials are gaining popularity among those who lived environmentally conscious lives, wishing their final disposition to reflect their ecological values. Often, the burial sites are marked with natural stones, native plants, or not at all, preserving the natural beauty of the surroundings.


A celebration of life is a contemporary approach to honoring a deceased loved one, focusing less on mourning and more on celebrating the unique personality and achievements of the individual. These gatherings are highly personalized and can vary widely in format, from traditional memorials to more festive events, such as a gathering in a beloved park or family home, where stories and memories are shared. 

Music, photos, and favorite foods of the deceased can play a central role in the celebration, making the event feel more like a joyous occasion rather than a somber farewell. This type of service is particularly suited to those who want to remember the deceased with happiness and laughter rather than through more traditional, solemn rituals.

How to Plan a Funeral Service

Planning a funeral can be challenging, especially if you're not familiar with the process. Grief can make clear thinking difficult, and the seemingly endless decisions can feel overwhelming. However, with some guidance and a step-by-step approach, you can create a meaningful service that celebrates your loved one's life. Here’s an overview of the process:

1. Choose a Funeral Service Provider:

Research and select a funeral home that meets your requirements in terms of services offered, pricing, and cultural and religious considerations.

2. Decide on the Type of Service:

Consider the wishes of the deceased and the needs of the family when choosing between a traditional funeral, memorial service, or other types.

3. Budgeting:

Understand all costs involved, including fees for the funeral service provider, costs for ceremonial elements, and any cemetery charges.

4. Personalize the Service:

Decide how you’d like to personalize the service with music, readings, or any special ceremonies to reflect the life of your loved one.

5. Logistics:

Arrange for transportation, flowers, and catering, and notify friends and family of the details.

6. Legal Requirements:

Ensure all legal paperwork, like death certificates and permits, are handled.

How Much Do Funeral Services Cost?

According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the average cost of a traditional funeral services cost $8,300, while a funeral with cremation is $6,280. But that's just the starting point. These figures already include basic fees, body preparation and the use of facilities for the ceremony. But even though the average price already includes other services, additional costs can add up quickly as the final price depends on your preferences.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a funeral and a memorial service?

A funeral service is held with the deceased's body present, typically within a week of death, while a memorial service can be held without the body and even weeks or months later.

Can I pre-plan my funeral service?

Yes, many people choose to pre-plan their funeral to ensure their wishes are respected and to relieve their family of the burden of planning and decision-making during a time of grief.

Is it possible to customize a funeral service?

Absolutely. Today, funeral services can be customized in numerous ways to reflect the unique life of the deceased.

Final Thoughts

Planning a funeral can be an emotional and complex process, but understanding your options and planning ahead can ease the burden during a difficult time. Whether you choose a traditional funeral, a green burial, or a more personalized celebration of life, the most important thing is that the service reflects the wishes of the deceased and brings comfort to those who are mourning.

If you are planning a funeral or seeking to pre-plan your own, reach out to our compassionate team at Maloney Funeral Home. We offer funeral services and are here to support you through every step of this important journey. For more information or personalized assistance, contact us today!