A burial service, or graveside service, is a funeral that takes place in the cemetery at the grave of the deceased person. It is performed as an alternative to a memorial service, which includes a ceremony at a funeral home or church as well as a burial. At a burial friends and family gather at the grave. A minister or chaplain conducts the service, which involves saying some words about the deceased and a few prayers. Friends and family may be asked if they would like to contribute a few words of their own. The casket is then lowered into the grave and people at the service may throw flowers in the grave onto the casket.
A burial service is chosen instead of a funeral service for a variety of reasons, with the most common being the lower cost and simplicity. The following list explains in more detail the burial services pros and cons when compared to a funeral service.
Burial Service Pros and Cons
Time – A burial service often only takes 30 minutes. This is more convenient for friends and family to attend. A funeral that includes a burial will take 4 to 6 hours and will require attendees to take an entire day off work if the service is during the week. The graveside service is less stressful for a grieving family, because it will be finished quickly.
Simplicity – A burial service is far easier to organize. You may want to have flowers at the grave, but other than that no other funeral products are required. A funeral service will often include funeral stationery, a video tribute, decorations, and more.
Cost – Because a burial service is simpler it is also far cheaper. The cost of using a funeral home, paying for food, flowers, and everything else included with a traditional funeral service is very expensive. Families will often choose a cemetery service to save money.
Eco-Friendly – A reason for a burial service that has become more popular recently is because it is greener. Families will have a natural burial at a green cemetery in an effort to protect the environment. The simplicity of a natural burial means that fewer natural resources are used when compared to a traditional funeral service.
Less Social – One of the benefits of a funeral service is that it gives friends and family an opportunity to get together and share memories and help each other through the grieving process. A burial service does not have time for this interaction. If a family choses to do a burial instead of a funeral, they will often have a gathering at their house afterwards where everyone can socialize.
Less Personalized – A burial service is far less personalized than a funeral service. A funeral includes eulogies from friends and family. Furthermore, songs, prayers and hymns, video presentations and other tributes are part of a memorial service. A cemetery service is very simple and rarely includes speeches other than the family saying a few words.
Less Religious – Depending on your faith, a funeral service may be necessary. It is difficult to include the prayers, hymns and other religious ceremonies that are part of a traditional funeral at a burial service.
The reasons listed above are the most common pros and cons for choosing a graveside burial service instead of a traditional funeral service. The decision on whether or not to have a burial, funeral, or both, will primarily depend on your budget and beliefs.
Updated: May 25, 2013