Traditional Funeral Services

Burial Services

Traditionally, a burial service involves a visitation, followed by a funeral service in a church, or other place of worship.  The casket is typically present at both these events, and it is your decision on whether to have the casket open or not.  You have the option of having the remains interred (earth burial), or it may be entombed in a crypt inside a mausoleum (above ground burial).  Family or religious traditions are often a factor for choosing burial.  Decisions need to be made on whether the body needs to be embalmed, what kind of casket to use, what cemetery to use and what to put on the gravestone.

Cemetery Types

Monumental cemetery: A monumental cemetery is the traditional style of cemetery where headstones or other monuments made of marble or granite rise vertically above the ground.  There are countless different types of designs for headstones, ranging from very simple to large and complex.

Lawn cemetery: A lawn cemetery is where each grave is marked with a small commemorative plaque that is placed horizontally at the head of the grave at ground-level.  Families can still be involved in the design and the information contained on the plaque, however in most cases the plaques are a standard design. 

Mausoleum: A mausoleum is an external free-standing building constructed as a monument enclosing the interment space or burial chamber of a deceased person or people.  A mausoleum may be considered a type of tomb or the tomb may be considered to be within the mausoleum.  The most famous mausoleum is the Taj Mahal in India.

Columbarium: Columbarium walls are generally reserved for cremated remains.  While cremated remains can be kept at home by families or scattered somewhere significant to the deceased, a columbarium provides friends and family a place to come to mourn and visit.  Columbarium walls do not take up a lot of space and it is a cheaper alternative to a burial plot.

Natural cemeteries: Natural cemeteries, also known as eco-cemeteries or green cemeteries is a new style of cemetery set aside for natural burials.  Natural burials are motivated by the desire to be environmentally conscience, although natural burials can be performed at any type of cemetery, they are usually done in a natural woodland area.  Conventional markings such as headstones are generally replaced with a tree or a bush or a placement of a natural rock.


The Basics of Traditional Funeral Services

Traditional funeral services include:

  • Visitation: This is often called a viewing or a wake. Guests come to pay their respects to the deceased by viewing their casketed body and spending time with the grieving family. A visitation can occur at any time before the funeral service.
  • Funeral Service: This event commonly takes place at the funeral home, a church, or at the graveside. It can include music, the reading of literary or religious passages, a eulogy, prayer, and the singing of hymns.
  • Committal Service: If the family plans to bury the deceased, this stage involves the vehicle procession to the cemetery.
  • Funeral Reception: Many choose to host this post-service gathering (or repast) at a reception hall. This is considered a time to share memories, laughter, and support.

funeral service, whether traditional or more modern (memorial service or celebration-of-life), has two functions: to acknowledge the death and lifetime achievements of an individual and to bring grieving family members and friends together in support of one another during this difficult time.

If you are interested in making funeral arrangements for a loved one, we invite you to call us at (585) 720-6000 to begin.

Online Sources:
Rostad, Curtis, "The Basics of Funeral Service", Indiana Funeral Directors Association, 2014