What Are The Different Types Of Funeral Services

Every family is different, and not everyone wants the same type of funeral. Funeral practices are influenced by religious and cultural traditions, costs, and personal preferences. These factors help determine whether the funeral will be elaborate or simple, public or private, religious or secular, and where it will be held. They also influence whether the body will be present at the funeral, if there will be a viewing or visitation, and if so, whether the casket will be open or closed, and whether the remains will be buried or cremated.

The diversity of funeral, burial, and memorial rites and rituals across different country regions has led to the establishment of various different types of funeral homes. As society’s views on death and mourning have changed over time, various new types of funeral homes evolved to supplement and replace the historic funeral parlour with the modern funeral home.

A number of factors can classify funeral Homes. The most important distinctions can be made based on the facilities available, services offered, any religious affiliation, and the firm's ownership. Check out our extensive list of Melbourne Funeral Services to help you arrange a funeral for your loved one.

Types of Funeral Services

Organizing a funeral can be difficult, especially as it comes at a difficult time. Although it can be stressful to plan an event for someone you just lost, holding a funeral service remains the best way to honour their memory. And knowing the types of funerals available can be helpful.

Thankfully, your funeral director will assist you with most of the funeral arrangements leaving you to mourn their passing in your way.

Whatever your preference, we will work with you to deliver a funeral service that reflects the deceased’s beliefs and personality. There are many types of funeral service options you can choose from. These include

Traditional Funeral Service

The traditional funeral service is still the most common funeral ceremony held in many parts of the country. At a traditional funeral service, the casket or urn is usually present. Friends and family may sing or play songs in memory of the deceased, and someone may also deliver a eulogy. Traditional funerals are often religious, so a pastor will most likely give a sermon.

A hearse will transport the remains to the cemetery for burial immediately following the traditional funeral if there is a casket. There may or may not be a short graveside (or “committal”) service, at which the casket is buried, or the urn is inurned. Following this, the family may host a reception or lunch in memory of their loved one.

The funeral service is typically preceded by viewing or visitation (usually the night before) and followed by a graveside service. See below for more details on each of those types of funeral services.

Graveside Service

A graveside service is a funeral service at the cemetery, where family and friends pay their final respects before the casket is lowered into the ground for burial.

Because loved ones commit the deceased back to the earth, this intimate service is also called a committal service. A graveside service often follows a traditional funeral, but sometimes maybe the only service a family chooses.

Often a pastor will speak a few words of comfort (think “ashes to ashes and dust to dust”), or the funeral director may share a few remarks at the family's wishes. Still, otherwise, this service is usually fairly short and simple.

Direct Burial?

Sometimes a family desires to bury their loved one but does not plan a funeral or other formal ceremony. In this case, they may choose a direct burial option.

With direct burial, there is no visitation, funeral, or even graveside service. The funeral home simply buries the casket. Sometimes, a family will choose this type of funeral with plans for a memorial service later.

Direct burials are a more affordable option for the family that will not be having a formal funeral but still wishes to have their loved one interred in a cemetery. Often, direct burial happens when the family does not live near the decedent.

Direct Cremation

Similar to direct burial, direct cremation is a stand-alone event. It is simply a cremation; there is no formal visitation or funeral. Following cremation, the funeral home or crematory returns the remains to the family, who may or may not choose to have a memorial service later on down the road.

Direct cremation is usually the least expensive option for final disposition. Read more about direct cremation here.

If you choose a direct cremation for your loved one, the funeral home or crematory will most likely return the remains to you in a very basic container. But you may choose to have the remains transferred into a permanent urn (the facility serving you will be happy to do this for you).

If you are searching for the perfect urn, you may want to browse through our beautiful collection of funeral urns.

Memorial Service

The memorial service is one of the most common types of funeral services. It is very similar to a traditional funeral, except that the body or cremated remains are not present.

The beauty of memorial services is that they do not have to occur within a certain time frame following a death. They can occur a day after interment or inurnment, a year later, or whenever. The remains are not at the centre of this service, only the precious memory of the deceased.

Celebration of Life

A celebration of life is a unique ceremony on its own. While it can take the place of a traditional funeral service, it’s common for the celebration of life to occur days, weeks, or even years following the funeral. This means that the remains are often not present. However, this can vary depending on the family’s preference.

Celebrations of life are exactly that: celebrations! Personalization is important in a celebration of life, and it is usually more joyful than sad. Depending on the region and culture of the family, a celebration of life may include food, dancing, and happy memories shared of the deceased.


Awake is the solemn service usually occurring just before the funeral. The origins of traditional wakes are in Catholicism, so the faithful may say the Rosary during the wake.

Traditionally, wakes take place in the home, but many funeral homes now serve as the venue. People sometimes call wakes visitations or viewings. During the wake, loved ones come together to comfort one another and pay their final respects to the deceased. The remains may or may not be present.

For more information on wakes, including etiquette and expectations, please see here.


The term viewing is often used interchangeably with wake and visitation, but it does have an official meaning all its own. It is fairly straightforward: at a viewing, the body is usually present to be viewed by mourners. The funeral home usually hosts the viewing the night before the funeral service.

For information about viewing the funeral (which is entirely different from a formal “viewing”), see this article on witnessing a funeral.


As mentioned above, people generally use the terms visitation, wake, and viewing interchangeably. But the body is usually not present at the visitation, which most likely takes place at the funeral home. The emphasis is placed on visiting with grieving family and friends, so it will be less formal than the funeral.

Scattering Ceremony

A scattering ceremony occurs when a family chooses to scatter the cremated remains of their loved ones rather than keep or bury them. Usually, the family scatters the ashes into the wind at a location that was especially important to the deceased. Here at Peter Tziotzis Orthodox Funerals, we provide religious and traditional funeral services

Scattering ceremonies can be simple or elaborate. The family may release the ashes silently and serenely into the ocean… or incorporate them into a spectacular firework display.

The ceremony itself is usually similar to a graveside or committal service. It is an appropriate time to say a few words to honour the departed loved one. Consider reading a favourite quote or Scripture, saying a prayer, or singing a hymn.

Remember that, depending on the state you’re in, laws are surrounding where ashes may be scattered.

3 Benefits of Holding a Funeral Service

Funeral services are common as people choose to hold them in honour of loved ones who have died. But even though this is the case, not everyone truly appreciates the benefits of funeral services.

Read on to learn about 3 of the benefits of holding a funeral service for a deceased loved one.

Acknowledge that a Loved One Has Passed Away

Funerals provide a way to acknowledge a loss. It can be hard to accept that a relative has indeed died. But holding an event where the chief purpose is to honour the deceased is a good way to demonstrate that your family accepts that a loved one is no more. The funeral will also provide a way for friends of the deceased and other supports to acknowledge the death.

Get Support and Give Support

Another reason why funeral service is so important is that they allow people to receive support from others and give support to others. Everyone in attendance will be going through something similar. No two people indeed mourn the same way. But people who are hurting over the same situation can empathize with one another and comfort one another in a beneficial way to everyone at the funeral service. So, you don’t want to skip a funeral service since you will, by so doing, miss out on an important benefit.

Reflect on Life

Funeral services provide the opportunity for people to think about life and death. In other words, the event offers the chance for individuals to take stock of their own lives, to feel grateful for the blessing of life, and even to realize how soon life can come to an end. When the event is over and everyone goes back to their respective homes, each person should feel empowered to live the rest of their lives to the fullest extent possible. Life can all too quickly come to an end, so thinking about what life and death mean can be a helpful exercise.

How do funeral insurance works

To be covered by funeral insurance, you’re required to pay a premium regularly (e.g. fortnightly, monthly, annually etc.) – the cost of which is influenced by your age, gender and your policy’s sum insured (i.e. how much your beneficiaries receive in the event of your death). Typically, cover in Australia ranges from $5,000 to $15,000.

Your eligibility for funeral insurance varies between providers, with the usual entry age ranging for Australian residents between 18 to 79. Again, depending on the provider, you generally do not need to undergo medical or blood tests to take out cover. Need help in planning a funeral service? Check out Peter Tziotzis Orthodox Funerals in Melbourne.

If a claim is made on your funeral insurance, the benefit amount will be paid to your nominated beneficiary (like your spouse or child) to assist with your funeral expenses.

What are the similarities and differences?

Both funeral and life insurance are designed to pay out a lump sum of money to your chosen beneficiaries when you pass away. On top of this, both types of insurance may be available with either level or stepped premiums:

  • Stepped premiums are based on your age, gender, and the sum insured. These premiums differ from level premiums, as they are recalculated after your birthday each year. This means premiums start cheaper than level premiums but can become increasingly expensive as you age.
  • Level premiums are typically greater at the beginning of your policy; however, they remain more constant throughout the life of your cover. Unlike stepped premiums, level premiums don’t increase with your age.

This is where the main similarities between a funeral and life insurance end.

Unlike funeral insurance, which usually pays out around up to $15,000, life insurance pays a significant amount – sometimes up to the millions of dollars – to your loved ones. On top of this, life insurance policies cover a range of needs you generally won’t find in a funeral insurance policy.

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