Talking About Funeral Home Products and Services

Traditional Funeral or Memorial Service: What's the Difference?

When a loved one dies, the family wants to make the process of saying goodbye heartfelt and memorable. While many people still opt for the traditional funeral service, the alternative of memorial service is gaining popularity.

Before deciding which service is right for your family, it's best to learn the differences between a traditional funeral and a funeral memorial service.


A traditional funeral takes place within a few days after a loved one dies, and the body is often present at the service so loved ones see the person and pay respects.

A funeral memorial service often takes place after the body is buried or cremated, so the deceased's body is not present at the service. The memorial service is often held at a later date and can be months after a loved one dies.

Some people require more time to deal with grief and planning a memorial service at a later date allows the family this time to prepare. It also allows for more time for family and friends to organize schedules and make travel arrangements to attend.


Traditional funerals can be pricey. For families wanting a memorable service but don't have a great deal to spend, a memorial service is often under $1000.

This is because the memorial location and service can vary by what is best for the family. A memorial gather often includes some photographs and other items of remembrance on display for family members and friends.

Religious Themes 

A traditional funeral is often based on religion and is structured. A memorial service can have a master of ceremonies to lead the service. It also allows for more guest participation in sharing stories and reminiscing on the life of the deceased.

Since a funeral memorial service is less structured, it can be as informal as the family wishes and include a celebration of the life lost.


Unlike traditional funerals, memorial services are not confined to funeral homes. Families have the flexibility to choose another location, including parks, beaches, restaurants, hotels, etc.

The only limitations are the size of the venue needed and availability. For smaller memorial services, a family home is often a good option.

Choosing how and when to say goodbye to a loved one is a personal choice for the family. And whatever method chosen has to be the one that is comfortable for those left behind and allows them the most comfort in a difficult time.

For more information, visit a funeral memorial service near you.