A traditional funeral usually consists of a visitation or viewing, followed by some sort of service, then burial (or less traditionally, cremation). A visitation or viewing is a gathering of family or friends prior to the funeral service. Some cultures call this a wake as well. The difference between the often-interchangeable terms of “visitation” and “viewing” is whether the casket is closed or open, respectively. Typically, families choose to have a visitation or viewing the day/evening prior to the service. This allows for people to choose what is most convenient for them. Elderly folks may not want to drive at night, and likely don’t work during the day, so they can come to the earlier 2-4 pm visitation. While friends of the loved ones who work or need to fly into town can opt to come to the later 7-9 pm visitation. The break between offers the family a chance to have dinner and recuperate. It must be noted that the family can set their own days and hours depending on their needs.
With a traditional service, embalming is NOT required automatically. Many people assume the funeral home must do this process in order to have a casket present. We do insist on embalming only if the casket is to be open to the public at any time during the services. Regardless of whether the casket is open or closed to the public, the family is always allowed to see and spend time with their loved one privately. The funeral service can be held at the funeral home or a church of the loved ones’ choice. With a “funeral service” or Catholic “Funeral Mass”, the casket is normally present. If the body is not present, it is termed a “memorial service”. Services usually last less than an hour, with guiding words from the officiant (whether it be clergy or family), music or hymns, poetry, eulogies, stories, and possibly a video. Once the service has concluded, the casket will be transported to the cemetery in procession, or with the family meeting the funeral home there on their own accord. At the cemetery, there is a brief “committal service” whereby the ground is sanctified, kind words are shared, and anyone who would like to witness the lowering of the casket is welcome to do so.
After the burial, most families congregate at a local restaurant, lodge, or at a private home for a repast to share stories, memories, and food. You can view restaurants and other resources near us in our helpful links section located under “Resources” on our website.
If there are to be additional services provided by the VFW, Masons, Fire Department, Ladies Auxiliary, or military honors for veterans, they can be coordinated by the funeral home and performed during or after the service or at the cemetery.