A graveside service for a direct burial is a funeral service with no formal viewing or ceremony except for that performed directly at the gravesite. It can be a warm and informal way for friends and loved ones to pay their last respects. A graveside service may be the right decision for your family’s personal needs, especially if you are on a budget and want a low cost funeral, or would prefer a non-religious ceremony. A graveside service can be done in many ways in order to memorialize a loved one and provide closure to family members and friends.
Some choose to have a formal funeral first, followed by a graveside service at the place of burial. This option can include coordinating with the funeral home to create a specific package or be done independently. When planning a graveside memorial service, weather must be taken into account on the day of the burial. Since all aspects of the funeral will be outdoors, mourners, the deceased, and equipment must be protected from the elements. Any graveside memorial service that is held outdoors should be coordinated to provide the best possible memorial memories and aid in the closure and healing of those involved.
During the graveside ceremony, special music is often played or poems/verses read that are especially important to loved ones. Any equipment used should be in good working order so that guests can clearly hear all portions of the service. Graveside messages are an important tribute to those who have passed. Graveside messages may include remembrances, a eulogy, or an appropriate Scripture reading or poem. The funeral director can help with planning, and assist a family in their decisions of what to include in the funeral and in the graveside services. When asking for direction from the funeral home about the graveside service, it is important to inquire about burial rites and burial prices. Funeral directors can guide you on these two important aspects and offer suggestions based on your needs.
Although graveside services provide advantages, there are disadvantages as well. Traditional ceremonies allow loved ones to reunite and socialize more than graveside services do. The eulogy is shorter at a graveside service, and families might not have the opportunity to share photographs, stories or other more personalized tributes. Additionally, if your family is particularly religious, this service may not be appropriate, as a graveside funeral service is usually informal and without funeral rites. Carefully weigh the pros and cons of a graveside funeral with your family before making any arrangements. When faced with the loss of a loved one, making decisions for their remembrance can be difficult. Weighing the options between a traditional indoor funeral and an outdoor graveside service or considering both, it is helpful to speak to professionals in the field for a well-planned, meaningful graveside memorial service. Consult with family members so that everyone is comfortable with the decisions made for a loved one's graveside services.
Graveside Service Outline
If you decide that this type of service is best, a graveside service outline should be made. Use the following as guidelines to help:
• Choose a time and a date.
• Decide how formal and religious you would like the graveside committal service to be. If it is formal, a pastor, priest, rabbi, or other speaker can conduct a traditional service. An Informal graveside funeral is often friends and loved ones sharing their memories of the deceased.
• Time may allow arrangements of special musical pieces or songs favored by the departed, or music meaningful to your family’s traditions or faith.
• Notify family and friends of the exact time, date, and location of the graveside memorial service as soon after death as possible. Include the name of the cemetery, instructions, and a map if possible. Ask those close to the deceased if they would like to participate in the funeral service as a pallbearer, reader, singer, or musician, or by offering a prayer, sharing a story about the deceased, or giving the eulogy.
• Be prepared for extreme weather conditions with a canopy or tent. Chairs for the immediate family and the elderly should be available.
• Keep the graveside service relatively brief, as some people will stand during the entire service.
The extent of a graveside service is often limited by the cemetery 's rules and timeline or a faith leader's schedule. Plan carefully to incorporate those elements--a eulogy, a hymn perhaps--that are most meaningful to memorializing and saying goodbye to the departed. Consult with a funeral director for help with graveside service planning .