How To Plan a Graveside Service

A graveside service is a funeral service that is held at the gravesite at a cemetery. A graveside service can follow a traditional funeral or can be a stand-alone event. It is a type of service that can be held for either burial or interment of cremated remains.

Location

A graveside service is held at the place of interment in a cemetery: at a grave, mausoleum crypt, or columbarium niche (in the case of cremation).

Graveside service features

A graveside service can be thought of as a pared-down funeral. Many of the features of a traditional funeral are present, but minimized. For example:

  • Viewings and visitations are either very brief or not held at all.
  • The funeral conductor/officiant can be a member of the clergy, a funeral director, or a friend or family member. However, the service in general is much shorter, requiring less of the officiant's time.
  • Pallbearers are generally not used at a graveside service, as the casket is usually in place by the time service attendees arrive.
  • Usually only one eulogy is delivered rather than multiple eulogies, and there tend to be fewer readings and/or prayers.
  • There are usually fewer flower arrangements or no flower arrangements, which can save money.
  • Musicians and/or soloists do not usually perform at a graveside service.
  • Photo slideshows and video tributes are not part of a graveside service, as the location generally cannot accommodate them.

Attendees

Graveside services may be limited to only family members or may be open to all. If you are having a graveside service after a traditional funeral, you can invite everyone who attended the funeral service to attend the graveside service, or you can let people know that you'd like to keep the service private.

Cost

Holding only a graveside service can be less expensive than holding a funeral or memorial service. Some costs that a graveside service avoids are:

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