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What Is Funeral Service Pre-arrangement?

Pre-arrangement is the planning of a funeral service before the need arises, often years before death occurs. A funeral director records your wishes for the type of service desired, people, involvement, religious preferences, and other details. You and your family will keep a copy of these preferences, and the funeral home will also keep a copy. Many people use preplanning as an opportunity to personalize their funeral services and may choose to:

  • Hold a candlelight service, fly kites, or plant a tree in memory of their loved one
  • Select keepsakes with special meaning for their family and loved ones
  • Hold their ceremony in a special place
  • Request friends and families to share personal stories
  • Display photos, videos, or objects that honour their life

A major concern for those making funeral or memorial service arrangements involves making decisions. At the time of death, these are often decisions only the family can make; however, it is possible and increasingly common for a funeral, memorial service, or life celebration to be planned to reduce stress. People make plans in advance for many reasons:

  • They have definite ideas about the funeral service or merchandise they want at their funeral.
  • They want their families to understand their wishes.
  • They want to save their survivors the pain of having to make funeral decisions at a difficult and confusing time.
  • They wish to spare their own family from having to go through any indecision, guessing or anxiety. Check out our extensive list of Melbourne Funeral Services to help you arrange a funeral for your loved one.

9 Different Types of Funerals & Memorial Services

You probably don’t sit around and think about your eventual funeral if you’re like most people. However, we’d like to challenge you to think about the unthinkable. Consider each different type of funeral or memorial service you’d like to have, whether you want a celebration of life or a direct cremation without an accompanying funeral.

If you want to have a service at the end of your life, consider some of the following options. Here are nine of the most common types of funerals.


What kind of service do you envision when you hear the phrase “traditional funeral?” Do you think of a Catholic Mass with an accompanying graveside service? A religious ceremony at your place of worship, where people gather to sing hymns and offer prayers? Or do you think of a group of people gathered in a funeral home without religious undertones? All of these scenarios would be considered a “traditional funeral” by most people.

Funerals can act as standalone services, or visitations and/or graveside services can accompany them. They can be religious or secular, and they can take place indoors or outdoors. You can have a traditional funeral for a person buried in a cemetery, or you can have a traditional service for someone who is cremated. 

The most common characteristics of a traditional funeral include a solemn atmosphere, a gathering of mourners, music, and religious or secular readings. 

If you have a specific wish regarding your funeral, make sure you share it with your family members. Here at Peter Tziotzis Orthodox Funerals, we provide religious and traditional funeral services.

Memorial Service

Most of the time, a memorial service takes place without a body or cremains present. It may also occur well after the death of the individual. The absence of the body or cremains may be the defining characteristic that best describes a memorial service. The body may be missing because it’s the family’s choice. It may also be absent from the service because of problems with the weather or travel.

A memorial service may be held in addition to another more intimate service for family and close friends. For example, when celebrities die, memorial services may be held so fans can express their grief.

Like a traditional funeral, memorial services can be religious or secular in tone. They can be held at a place of worship, a community venue, or a funeral home. 

Every once in a while, the phrase “memorial service” will be used to describe a traditional funeral. That phrase may be preferred as a less harsh alternative to the word “funeral.”

Celebration of Life

Celebrations of life are growing in popularity. There are no rules regarding when this phrase should be used — it’s sometimes used to describe a more celebratory service than a traditional funeral.

Of course, the service is not meant to celebrate that the person is dead. Instead, it may be used to share happy stories regarding the person’s life or celebrate that they are now in heaven.

Celebrations of life can be formal or informal and religious or secular. They can be held immediately following death or months after the fact. Celebrations of life can be held as a standalone service or a huge extravaganza following a more serious ceremony.

Some celebrations may even be held at restaurants, bars, or other entertainment venues. 

Graveside or Committal Service

You may opt to have a graveside or committal service. These take place at a cemetery and can act as standalone services or follow a traditional funeral. 

Graveside services are usually formal in nature. Typically, a minister or officiant leads the ceremony, and the attendees listen to readings, offer prayers, and sing hymns — even though the service may also be secular.

Graveside services are usually held outside, and in view of the general public, they are generally shorter than a traditional funeral.

This service may be called an entombment ceremony if the body or cremains are entombed in a mausoleum or columbarium niche.

Scattering Ceremony

Cremations are gaining in popularity. This means that more people have scattering ceremonies. 

A scattering ceremony occurs when the deceased’s cremains are released back to nature. Since they are held outside, these services are rather short in length. 

Scattering ceremonies can occur near bodies of water, on private land, or in public parks (as long as permission is acquired.) They can be religious or secular ceremonies. Because of their length and location, they are often informal.

Many times, a scattering ceremony is accompanied by a traditional funeral. Sometimes the scattering takes place weeks, months, or years after the death of the individual.

Some scattering ceremonies have been accompanied by a release of helium balloons in the past, but this is generally frowned upon as not being environmentally friendly. Instead, you may consider purchasing a large selection of monarch butterflies to release into the atmosphere.


Visitations almost always occur in conjunction with a traditional funeral, even though there are times when they act as a standalone event. 

Visitations usually provide a place for mourners to say their last goodbyes to the departed. Sometimes these gatherings are referred to as “viewings.” They also function to allow those attending to express condolences to the family members present.

If the service is labelled as a “viewing,” this would imply that the body will be present to display.

During a visitation, sometimes the family will arrange for photos or other memorabilia to be displayed. At times, a light meal or refreshments may be available, depending upon the duration of the event.


You may have heard of the practice of sitting with the dead throughout the night. This practice was commonly referred to as a wake or vigil. In the past, this was done at the home of the deceased. Currently, they are usually held at funeral homes or places of worship.

Awake or vigil is usually religious — usually Catholic or Orthodox. They are similar to visitations, except they are sometimes interrupted for prayers, recitations, or readings.

Green Funerals

A green or environmentally friendly funeral is not a specific type of service, but we will go ahead and put it on our list since it is gaining in popularity.

There are several different ideas on what types of “burials” are the most environmentally friendly. Examine the most current research to see if it is better to be buried in a biodegradable container or cremated and scattered. 

A Combination of Several Types of Services

As we mentioned earlier, some of these services are held in combination with other services.

For example, you may choose to have a visitation (or wake) during the evening. This would allow those with daytime commitments the opportunity to attend a service to express condolences. This could be followed by a traditional funeral the next morning, with a graveside service immediately following. 

Some people choose to have multiple types of service on the same day. For example, you may have a visitation that lasts several hours. Following the visitation that same afternoon, you may choose to have the funeral service at the same place.

The Benefits of Preplanning a Funeral Service

Planning a funeral is expensive. With the sudden death in the family, many times, family members of the deceased are confused regarding where to arrange the fund for planning a funeral. Expenses are generally determined by some of the close family members only, but making all the arrangements at very short notice can be very difficult at times.

Today, people are comfortable with the idea of death and dying and realize the fact that death is the ultimate reality of this materialistic world. At the same time, the funeral has a lot of significance in our society. This is why there are many people who try to preplan their own funeral service.

By funeral preplanning, it means taking care of funeral service details in advance before the time of need arises. It is basically up to you whether you want simple or detailed preplanning. Here you can decideon regarding the type of funeral service, music, funeral flowers, venued guest li,st, etc. All your wishes have complied on a file. At the time of need, just a call to the funeral home is required to make, and all the wishes will be carried out as planned.

Preplanning a funeral service is a meaningful gift one can give to their family members. This way, the family members do not have to worry much regarding funeral funds and how important arrangements will be made at very short notice. When all the planning is done in advance, the survivors will not suffer from a financial strain. It is important to be aware of the benefits of preplanning funeral services so that you can make a wise decision during your lifetime. Need help in planning a funeral service? Check out Peter Tziotzis Orthodox Funerals in Melbourne.

There are many benefits of preplanning a funeral, such as:

  • It allows a person to make sound decisions regarding funeral service. Here no decisions are made out of emotions.
  • It allows the family members to be aware of all your wishes which they can carry out without thinking much.
  • It allows you to personalize your funeral service as everything is done according to your preferred level.
  • It lightens the emotional and financial burden on the surviving family members.
  • It keeps a record of all the important vital statistics required for legal paperwork. This saves times, and everything is done in a systematic manner.
  • It allows you to discuss your wishes with your family and consider their thoughts in your planning.
  • It relieves your family from the emotional burden of making the arrangements.
  • It gives you the assurance and peace of mind that every detail has been taken care of just the way you want.
  • Also, it allows you to be aware of the funeral costs. If you want, you can even go for a funeral pre-funding. This way, you can take care of funeral expenses today only and choose to make the payments according to your budget.
  • It offers flexibility, which means you can change your mind at any time if your preferences change.

Many funeral homes in the US offer the facility of preplanning a funeral. There are licensed funeral directors and certified preplanning consultants who help plan a funeral service that is in accordance with the wishes of a person. You can do the preplanning at your own home or the office of the funeral home.

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