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It is customary to have a funeral, memorial service, or other gathering for friends and relatives after a death.

The body and casket are present at a funeral service. A memorial service is held without the body present. Other types of services include a celebration of life, graveside service, and specialized observances hosted by fraternal or other organizations.

Location of the Service

For those with a religious affiliation, the service is often held at their place of worship. Many funeral homes also have a small chapel for services or gatherings of friends and family. An event could also be held in a rented hall, or at a location that was special for the person who has died or for their family.

Traditional Services

Most religious traditions have a standard ceremony to honor the dead, with a member of the clergy leading the service. Some elements of the service may be planned in advance or chosen by family members, including songs, readings, the eulogy, and sharing of memories.

Open or Closed Casket

At a funeral service the casket can either be open or closed. An open casket can be helpful for family members and friends who wish to see the body one last time. The casket is placed at the front of the room, allowing those who want to see the body to come forward and view it before or after the service.

Celebration of Life

Those who prefer to have a more informal or personalized gathering can create their own celebration of life. These events are often designed around the career, talents, hobbies or a favorite place of the person who died.

Online Service

A new option is to video stream the funeral or memorial service on the Internet. This lets those who aren’t able to attend in person see and hear the service live as it happens. The video can also be stored online, providing the opportunity to view the service at a later time. This can also be valuable for close friends and family members, allowing them to watch the funeral or memorial service as many times as they like.

Budgeting for the Service

Due to the emotional shock of losing a loved one, people sometimes spend more on a funeral than they can really afford. And the amount could be much more than the deceased would have wanted them to spend.

The best way to avoid overspending on a funeral or memorial service is to plan it before you die. Pre-planning can help ease the emotional and financial burden on the survivors, while ensuring that you have the kind of service or celebration that you would be comfortable with.

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