Generally speaking, families have two methods of ceremonies to choose from when deciding on how they want to memorialize their deceased loved one. The first method is the one most commonly known; the funeral, the second is one slowly gaining traction; a celebration of life.

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Both are beautiful ceremonies; filled with bittersweet memories, kind words, powerful memorials, and intense emotions. Both ceremonies can be done for burials or cremations. However, before deciding which ceremony is best for you, it’s important to understand the differences between a celebration of life and a funeral.

 

With a funeral, one of the biggest distinctions is the presence of the body. At funerals, the body is typically embalmed and prepared by funeral home staff. This preparation usually precedes the organized viewing. For some, this can provide closure, providing the opportunity for final farewells. A viewing can also be done for someone who will be cremated- this may require embalming depending on the funeral home.

 

An urn may be present at the viewing so as to let those attending know the person will be cremated. Since, after cremation, funeral homes only offer a temporary box for the ashes, a family can opt to purchase an urn ahead of time to have it present at the funeral.

 

Additionally, funerals are often a more religious or faith-based ceremony.  The process of laying a loved one to rest might require prayer, rosaries or special rituals defined by a religious denomination or specific culture. The tone of these ceremonies is somber, serious, and is to reflect the state of mourning and sadness endured by the family and friends.

 

It is important to those who follow a specific faith, but it can also be crucial to those who are spiritual or seeking an experience that reflects their heartbreak.

 

By comparison, a celebration of life is a ceremony that reflects a vastly different tone, that of reflection and remembrance.  With a celebration of life, family and friends are hoping to do just that- celebrate the best living days, the wonderful memories made, the loving nuances and mannerisms.  It is a tone of sobering recollections, often leaving people with feelings bittersweet but jovial moments.

 

Celebrations of life are often a less formal ceremony, where invitees might come wearing colors, rather than black.  At a celebration of life, they might laugh a bit more or engage in conversation about memories had, sharing stories or their own happiest memories.  There is a greater sense of freedom in how one wants to remember and honor the deceased. Whereas a funeral might take place in a cemetery or at a church, a celebration of life can be in a home or at a park, perhaps at the beach or some other special location with a connection to the loved one who has passed.

 

A great benefit to celebrations of life with cremation is the deceased can be involved in the festivities! Instead of the visceral presence of a body, the cremated remains of the deceased can be placed inside an urn and presented to the attendees. Here at GetUrns.com we have a selection of subtle urns that don’t look like urns at all!

Butterfly cremation urn

 

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Both a funeral and a celebration of life can offer solace, comfort, and closure to those in mourning. They serve to honor the deceased and bring together families and loved ones. 

One is not more important than the other, they simply cater to different intents, they function in different ways, and they can be based on one’s religious, spiritual, cultural, or personal needs when it comes to a final farewell. Deciding on one might not be easy, but regardless, the choice you make should be the one that you want for your loved one.

 

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