Memorial services vs funerals: understanding the difference

When you lose a loved one, it can be difficult to know how best to honour them. Funerals and memorial services are both meaningful ways to commemorate someone’s life, and both can be personalised to reflect the spirit of your loved one. A caring Funeral Specialist can help you decide what’s right for you and your family.


What is a funeral?

A funeral is a ceremony that marks someone’s passing. The service typically involves a gathering of family and friends in a designated place, like a church, chapel or funeral home, and is held within a few weeks of someone passing. A casket of coffin is usually present, and the service tends to follows a structured format, which might include religious or cultural rituals, eulogies and music. It may also include a procession to the burial plot or crematorium.

However you wish to honour your loved one, we can make it happen. We’ll help you personalise the service in a way that feels special and unique.

What is a memorial service?

A memorial service is a heartfelt commemorative gathering held without a casket or coffin. Unlike a funeral, a memorial service can be scheduled several weeks or months after death. It’s an opportunity for friends and family to come together again, after the initial shock has passed.

If your loved one was cremated and you chose to inter their ashes at a memorial park or garden, you might hold a memorial service there to feel connected to them. You can also hold a memorial service at your loved one’s grave or somewhere special, like a favourite beach, park or venue. Let us know what you’d like to do, and we’ll take care of the details.

Other ways to memorialise a loved one

There are plenty of ways to remember and honour your loved one after they’re gone.

Each option encourages people to gather, connect and celebrate the life of your loved one. You might even choose to do all three.

Memorial service

If you plan on purchasing a plot in a dedicated memorial garden, why not hold a service to mark the occasion? Memorial plots come in a range options, from plaques and rose gardens to pergolas and fountains. You can invite family and friends to visit the spot and say a few words to commemorate their final resting place. Find a nearby memorial park or garden at My Memorial.

Online memorials

Virtual memorials have become very popular in today's digital age. There are many online platforms you can access that allow friends and family from all over the world to come together and share memories, photos, and messages, creating a lasting digital tribute. We recommend using Memories – your Funeral Specialist can help you get started.

Commemorative events

Organising a commemorative event that honours your loved one’s favourite past-time is a brilliant way to celebrate their life and contribute to causes they cared about. Whether it’s a charity run, an art exhibition, or a musical performance, they will be remembered for the things they were passionate about.

Ready to start planning?

No matter what your preferences for an end-of-life celebration are, our dedicated team of Funeral Specialists are here to help you every step of the way. If you want to pre-plan a service or if someone has just died, please get in touch with us any time.