What is a Graveside Funeral Service Program?

A funeral is a ceremonial way of remembering and celebrating the life of a loved one. It helps the grieving family cope with their loss and say their final goodbyes. A traditional funeral usually takes place in a funeral home or a church. Often, there is also a brief graveside service at the cemetery prior to interment.

Sometimes, people decide to have a graveside funeral as a standalone service. The entire service takes place at the graveside, and it is scaled back from a traditional funeral. Visitation is typically omitted, along with music, long sermons, and numerous prayers. More often, a clergy, funeral director, family member, or friend will deliver a short eulogy to complete the service.

In some cases, the service is limited to family members and friends. Others are open to the public for anyone who wants to pay their respects. There might be seating for a smaller number of attendees or guests might have to stand.

There are no rules for most graveside services. It’s a matter of choice for whoever is planning the service and what they believe mattered most to the deceased.


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Why People Choose a Graveside Funeral Service Program

The most common reason for choosing a graveside funeral service is the cost. A graveside program can cost thousands less than a traditional funeral. It’s a more affordable option for people with few or no family members left and no burial insurance. Some expenses you avoid include renting a chapel or church, the use of the funeral home, and the embalming required for visitation. There is also no need to pay for flowers or musicians.

Others prefer the intimacy of a graveside service. Often, people don’t have a lot of remaining family members. Paying for a traditional service isn’t necessary for the small number of mourners. For those who aren’t especially religious or who don’t have a particular church affiliation, a graveside service might make more sense too.

Types of Graveyard Services

Masonic Graveyard Services

 – A masonic funeral is one of the few services performed by Freemasons in public. It is a rite given to Master Masons in good standing when requested by another Master Mason or his family. At the graveside service, the Master Mason reads the last rites, says prayers, and commends the deceased’s soul to God.

Military Services

 – A military service usually takes place in a committal shelter at the cemetery instead of the gravesite. These services are reserved for Veterans or service members. Like other graveside services, those performed for military members are relatively short. The family might request special readings by a clergy or from a friend or family member. Military funeral honors include:

  • Playing Taps

  • A Color Guard

  • A Rifle Detail

  • Presentation of the Burial Flag by Uniformed Service Members

The idea behind a military graveside service is to show dignity and respect to our servicemen.

Family Member Readings

 – Graveside services limited to family members might include readings. These might be favorite poems, Bible verses, or non-religious readings. Some families prefer to have a clergy available for readings while keeping the service on the small side.

A graveside funeral service isn’t the right choice for every situation. So, consider your reasons for choosing a graveside service. Create a graveside funeral service program before making plans. Planning a personal tribute to your loved one is a good way to help friends and family get through the grieving process.


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