What Is The Difference Between A Funeral And A Memorial Service And Which Is Right For You?

Realistically, after you die, your funeral is more designated for the living. Obviously, it is nice that people want to mourn you — but that doesn’t mean that they always have to go the traditional funeral route. Funerals can cost upwards of $10,000 or more, and to some it is worth it to honor their loved one. But there are other options available. Many people are opting to forego the full funeral and have a memorial service instead. Which is right for you? Only you can decide.


The traditional way that America deals with the death of a loved one is by holding a funeral. When someone dies, a funeral home is called, and the funeral home removes the body from wherever the death occurred. Once the funeral parlor is in possession of your body, they prepare it. The body is prepared by embalming and dressing it before the wake or viewing of the body.

A wake or “viewing” has long been a tradition, with the thought that people need time to grieve and to see that the person is gone to come to terms with the loss. Often during the viewing, there is a sermon or a family member or close friend says some words about the person who is deceased. A Winnipeg funeral home obituaries service is normally the time and place when this done.

Usually, either immediately following the viewing or the day after, there is a procession that follows the body to the cemetery or burial grounds. Typically, the family will arrange a “service” by the grave site where everyone is allowed to say goodbye, and then there is a gathering afterward for everyone to support each other and tell their stories about the one who has passed on as a way to keep their memory alive.

Funerals have long been a tradition in American culture. As a way to deal with the loss of a loved one, it allows the community to get together to lean on one another and to try to find closure.

Memorial Services

A memorial is slightly different from a funeral, but the general idea of a community gathering to mourn is the same. Memorials are typically held in churches or other locations where large groups can gather, but there are no set “standards.” A memorial service can be held anywhere. Memorial services can be held either in the days after the death, or they can be set for a later date to allow family members who live far away time to make travel arrangements.

As more people choose the option of cremation, memorial services have become increasingly popular. Whether the ashes are left as a symbol at the memorial service or are scattered at the place of the deceased person’s choosing, what is left is the memory of the lost one — not the physical body.

During a memorial service there is usually a eulogy or sermon, and often family members are allowed to share stories, say a few words, or just address the crowd to thank them for attending. Memorial services are highly individualized for the person who is gone, which makes them an appealing option for many grieving family members who want a less “somber” way to mourn their loved one’s passing.

Memorial services usually cost less money because there are no costs for embalming, viewing, or a casket. There also is no gravesite cost, although some people opt to have their ashes buried. In this case, a burial plot is bought and the person’s ashes are marked. That allows mourners to “visit” the gravesite when they want to show respect or to remember someone.

A memorial service is a much more economical way to say goodbye, but it is not for everyone. In reverse, a funeral is more expensive, but it is the traditional way that people choose to say goodbye. If you have a preference in how you want to be buried, it is important that you make those wishes known. If you want to have a traditional funeral, there are ways for you to make arrangements ahead of time, so that your loved ones aren’t left paying the bill.

The idea behind both memorial services and traditional funerals is to give those left here on earth a way to say goodbye and mourn. The choice of which is right for you and your loved ones should be made ahead of time so that your wishes can be carried out.