Funeral vs. Memorial Service: Difference

funeral is to bury the deceased in their final resting place

Life is full of memories. We all remember a loved one after their passing away. They are in their loved one’s memories long after they are gone. The family conducts the funeral and the memorial service as thinking about them brings us a smile.

When a loved one passes away, the family must make several decisions. The family’s decisions hold especially true when the deceased person did not document their last wishes. After the demise, it is vital to consider how to honor the dead’s life.

Each family will have its way of honoring its loved one. You need to choose the exemplary service; it can be a funeral service only or along with a memorial service. There are quite a few differences between these two types of services: memorial service vs. funeral. We shall briefly highlight the difference between a memorial service and a funeral.

What Is In A Funeral Service?

The primary purpose of a funeral is to bury the deceased in their final resting place. It is traditionally in the form of a burial. The funeral mainly occurs within a couple of days of the person passing by. The deceased body is placed in a casket and kept at the designated gathering place. It could be a church, funeral home, or any area designated by the family. 

The attendees are allowed to view the deceased. The family decides whether it will be an open or closed casket funeral. With close friends and family members attending a funeral service, this service is a much more personal service when compared with the likes of a wake or a memorial service. With no funeral services the same, it enables the loved ones to say goodbye privately.

What Is In A Memorial Service?

A memorial service is quite similar to a funeral service. The significant difference is that the deceased’s body is present at a funeral, but in a memorial service, it is not. Typically, the family places a framed photograph of the one who is no more. If the family decides to cremate, an urn containing the ashes could be kept in a memorial service. 

The deceased’s family hosts a memorial service as part of the healing process. It makes it easier to accept that someone they loved is no more. This service allows family members, friends, and colleagues to mourn the loss. 

A memorial service may not be a formal service. This form of memorization helps in the path of healing. It is not necessary to host it immediately after the funeral. The family can take time to plan it and host it even weeks after the funeral. Many families host a memorial service on the first death anniversary of the loved one. 

These statistics are a testament to the power of memorialization. While individual circumstances may determine the type of service you choose, there is a universal need for a ceremony of some kind, formal or informal, grand or small.

What's The Difference Between A Memorial Service And A Funeral?

What Is In A Memorial Service?

A memorial and a funeral are similar, yet they vary. The significant difference between these two services is that in a memorial service, the body is not present, while in a funeral service, the body is present in a casket. 

There are four major sections in a funeral consisting of visitation, funeral proceedings, committal, and reception. The memorial services will also likely have sections in the services without the body being present. 

The other difference between a funeral and a memorial service is that there is no wake before the memorial service. Another significant difference between a funeral and a memorial service is that the funeral occurs a few days after the death. In contrast, a memorial service can occur weeks, months, or years after the person’s passing. 

If the family decides to cremate, the ashes could be present in the memorial service per the family’s wishes. Then, the funeral service has a role of religion paved into it with the presence of clergy persons, while the memorial service might not necessarily be so. Additionally, in a memorial service, all the attendees can participate to some extent, while in a funeral service, the attendees’ participation is minimal. 

How To Choose A Memorial Service vs. Funeral?

One might often wonder whether to choose between a funeral vs. a memorial service. The grieving family needs to decide to conduct the memorial service, if after all, after the funeral services. Families who want a more extensive gathering of friends and family members who could not attend the funeral for specific reasons can opt for a memorial service post the funeral service. The memorial service can be held weeks after the funeral. Hence it can be planned much more in detail. Some families also opt to have a memorial service on the first anniversary of the death of the loved one. 

Is A Celebration Of Life The Same Thing As A Funeral?

Though they appear to be similar, a celebration of life and funerals differ in their execution. The similarity between these services is that they are a gathering of people experiencing the loss of a loved one. Both these services also aim to support the grieving family. 

So, what is the difference between a celebration of life and a funeral? They differ in the fact that the former is a more casual affair when compared to the latter. Many families who conduct a celebration of life service have a party-like atmosphere, while the funeral service is structured and somber. 

A celebration of life service celebrates the deceased individual with personal touches. Attendees can share memorable experiences with the dead. The family can host the service at varied locations like beachside or by having a barbeque session. It depends on the family to choose how they wish to celebrate the deceased’s life.


Family and friends can celebrate the deceased’s life in various ways. You can have the funeral, a memorial service, or a celebration of life after the funeral. Each person is a separate individual in a lifetime and should be celebrated as an individualist when they pass away.  

But if given a chance, how would you like to be remembered? Leaving a video message for your loved ones to cherish after you bid farewell to this world is a beautiful way to get it done. So is leaving behind a digital legacy that will help you remain with your loved ones till eternity. 

We at Clocr understand the emotional attachment that comes to mind when one talks about the inevitable. We offer splendid services such as Time Capsule that will help you draft a future message for your loved ones. Our other services, like Social Media Will help you to leave behind a digital legacy like never before. It is now possible to stay with your loved ones forever.