Posted on May 20, 2020 by jhcadm
Helpful Terminology to Know When Planning a Funeral Service
For the majority of people, funerals are not something we attend or have to plan on a regular basis, and, as a result, there may be funeral terms that you’re not familiar with. Or, perhaps you find it difficult to distinguish certain services apart. That’s perfectly okay; we’re here to help.
When it comes to funeral services, there are some key terms you will want to be able to identify and understand. Whether you are part of the funeral planning process for a loved one or you will be attending a funeral and want to make sure you understand these terms and customs before you go, being familiar with these key concepts is sure to help.
Funeral Service Terms
Obituary. An announcement, traditionally found in the newspaper (though many obituaries are now posted online), announcing the death of the deceased. An obituary often describes the deceased’s life, surviving family members, and funeral details (i.e. date, time, location, etc.) The obituary is often read aloud at the funeral service and included in the funeral program.
Viewing/Visitation. A gathering of friends, family members, and associates where individuals pay their respects to the deceased after the body has been prepared by a funeral home or mortician. A viewing typically involves an open-casket, while a visitation may include an open or closed casket, or, in the case of cremation as the choice of disposition, an urn with the deceased’s ashes may be present. Compared to a funeral service, a viewing is often more informal. At James H. Cole Home for Funerals, viewings and visitations are offered at both our Main Chapel and Northwest Chapel locations.
Wake (Family Hour). This is an older term used to describe a greeting time that occurs 30 to 60 minutes before the funeral service takes place. This is the time for families and loved ones of the deceased to greet guests who are coming to extend condolences. Today, this is more commonly referred to as “Family Hour.” Family Hour takes place prior to the service and can occur at the family’s home or at the location of the funeral service. Family Hour may even take place the evening before the service. At James H. Cole Home for Funerals, Family Hour is offered at both our Main Chapel and Northwest Chapel locations.
Traditional Funeral Service. A traditional service is often what most people think of first when they hear the word “funeral.” This typically entails a casket, preparation of the body by the funeral home, viewing/visitation, and the funeral service itself. At James H. Cole Home for Funerals, traditional funeral services are offered at both our Main Chapel and Northwest Chapel locations.
Memorial Service. A memorial service is a service of remembrance at which the body of the deceased is not present. Instead, families may choose to have photographs or possibly an urn with the deceased’s ashes if cremation is the choice of disposition. At James H. Cole Home for Funerals, memorial services are offered at both our Main Chapel and Northwest Chapel locations.
Eulogy. A speech given at a funeral service to honor the life of the deceased. This can be delivered by a close friend or family member, or by a religious figure chosen by the family. At James H. Cole Home for Funerals, eulogies can be performed by our on-staff minister or by an officiant of the family’s choosing.
Committal Service. A brief service that typically occurs at the conclusion of a funeral service prior to disposition. It is conducted by a minister or funeral director. Depending on the choice of service for the deceased, this service may take place at the cemetery, church, or funeral home.
Repast. A meal that takes place after the conclusion of a funeral or memorial service. Family and friends are able to join in mourning and celebrate the life of the deceased. This may also be referred to as a “luncheon” and can take place at a family member’s home or at a restaurant.
Have questions regarding proper funeral terminology and etiquette? Need help planning the funeral of a loved one? Feel free to reach out to us by phone or email. At James H. Cole Home for Funerals, we have been family-owned and operated for more than 100 years, so we understand the importance of high-quality service during these difficult moments. We are here to assist you in your time of need.