Four Key Considerations When Planning a Memorable Graveside Service

graveside eulogy

There are many ways to honor and celebrate a departed loved one. A graveside service is one option and there are several reasons it might be the best choice, either as a companion to a funeral service or on its own.


When preparing for your loved one’s final farewell, it’s important to understand what graveside services entail and how they differ from traditional funerals. In this article, we will share some basic information about graveside services along with some important distinctions and considerations.


What is a graveside service?

This type of memorial event is set at the graveside or the mausoleum where the cremated remains will be interred. Traditionally, graveside services are relatively short and may include religious or non-religious elements like poems, hymns, or prayers, and someone may give a eulogy, as well. If you are considering a graveside service for your loved one, it should be personal and reflect their religious and spiritual beliefs. It’s important to note that the graveside service can follow a funeral or it can stand on its own. It may also be followed by or preceded by a memorial service. As you can see, there are numerous options for customization available when planning this type of end-of-life ceremony.


Here are four ways that graveside services differ from funerals:

Outdoor location

Graveside ceremonies are held outside, either at the burial site or by the mausoleum where the cremated remains will be interred. By contrast, a funeral is most often held inside. Common sites for funerals include religious organizations, funeral homes, community centers, or other gathering locations.  Depending upon the details, funerals can become quite costly. Graveside services are simpler and less expensive. The downside to the outdoor location is that weather can significantly impact the service.


Shorter in duration

A funeral service can last for several hours or in some cases, all day, so that guests can pay their respects to the departed and their family. There are often video tributes and musicians, and speeches or eulogies are often given, as well. At a graveside service, there may be a service with a eulogy and some readings of scripture or poems, but it is typically a brief ceremony. If you want to have a graveside service but would also like the opportunity to share stories and celebrate your loved one’s life, you might consider having a memorial service afterward. Memorial services are informal events that give people time to gather and fondly remember the departed.


There’s no visitation

One of the most common elements of a funeral service is the visitation. During this time, guests share condolences with the family and friends of the deceased, and there is usually a social element with food and drinks afterward. Spending time collectively is a wonderful way to celebrate the life of the one who passed on and for the bereaved to find healing. Because graveside services are much shorter, it leaves little time to speak with friends or family members.  This is one reason why it is common to pair a graveside service with a memorial celebration afterward. 


Less complex and lower cost

Graveside services don’t require food, flowers, presentation equipment, or decorations. If you are planning arrangements on a budget, it can be a wise choice for honoring a departed loved one at a reasonable cost. These events are also less complicated to plan. When a loss occurs, there are many emotional and logistical challenges that must be navigated. Amid deep grief, a simple graveside service can be a good option.


At Evan W. Smith Funeral Services, we are here to offer the resources you need to create a meaningful memorial tribute for your departed loved one. If you have questions about graveside services or wish to make arrangements, please reach out to us anytime.


About Evan W. Smith Funeral Services: Since 2009, residents of Wilmington, Dover, and the surrounding Delaware community have relied on the caring staff at Evan W. Smith Funeral Services to help them through their darkest hours. Family-owned and operated, the company offers an array of elite funeral care services, including traditional funerals, cremations, memorials, pre-planning, and more. With decades of experience in caring for families from all cultural backgrounds and diverse walks of life, Evan W. Smith Funeral Services is committed to creating memorable, uplifting experiences that always exceed expectations. For more information, please visit

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