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What’s the Difference Between a Funeral Service, a Memorial Service and a Celebration of Life?

Whether you’re planning for yourself or for a loved one, the Service of Remembrance is one of the key elements of a person’s final arrangements. The most important part of a funeral, memorial service, or celebration of life is in the “coming together” of friends and family to share memories and receive comfort from one another.  It can be a very simple ceremony or one where their unique personality and lifetime achievements are showcased. 

Regardless of whether you or your loved one have opted for burial or cremation, the Service of Remembrance fulfils an important role.  It can:

  • Honor, recognize, and celebrate the life of the deceased
  • Allow friends and family to say their last goodbyes
  • Provide closure after the loss of a loved one
  • Allow friends to console the family of the loved one
  • Set the stage for the healing process which follows

The Funeral Service  

A formal or informal ceremony or ritual prior to burial, a funeral service often provides a sense of closure to family and friends.  Your faith or culture may dictate some elements of a funeral service. You can also personalize other elements of the service.  At a funeral service, the casket is present, and you may choose to have the casket open or closed.


Typically held the night before, or immediately prior to the funeral service, the visitation may also include a viewing of the deceased if the family wishes, and provides a way for friends and acquaintances to pay their respects and offer condolences to your to your family.

The Memorial or Celebration of Life Service

At a memorial or celebration of life, a casket is not present, however an urn holding the cremated remains of the deceased may be present.  A memorial service gives family and friends a time to come together to remember and celebrate the life of the deceased.

Personalizing a Service of Remembrance



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