A Guide on What to Expect at a Funeral

Cremation services in Westmont, PA, are a topic that many people don’t think about. Statistics show that only 14% of Americans ever talk about funerals with their friends and family until they have to visit one. This fact shows why many people are unaware of what to expect in a funeral beyond a couple of basic traditions.

You can make your experience of attending a funeral less awkward if you have prior knowledge of what happens at a funeral.

A Quick Overview of Funerals

Here is the breakdown of the phases a traditional funeral in America entails:

The arrival of the Body at the crematorium or church

Your funeral director will prepare the deceased’s body in a coffin – and may place it in a chapel of rest (a remembrance room) or your home – for you to pay one last tribute before the final service.

When the day of the funeral arrives, the coffin is placed in a hearse and driven to the church for final services. Mostly, a procession of mourners in cars or bikes – lead by close friends and family – follow the hearse.

Overtaking or beeping the horns in a hearse is strongly discouraged.

The Ceremony

The Funeral Ceremony depends on whether the body is to be buried or cremated – the two most common types of funeral in America and elsewhere.

  • Direct Cremation

The trend of cremating bodies is on the rise in America. It involves burning the body with or without the presence of visitors. Many funeral homes offer cremation services in a church or any other place of worship, but you can choose a special site to cremate yourself or get the services of any professional company.

If you’re invited to cremation, your stay would be from 30-45 minutes – but it can be longer depending on the family rituals.

For cremations, the coffin is carried to the church by the pallbearers (or the close ones) and a celebrant or a member of clergy leads the funeral service there. The bereaved family often customize the service as per the last wishes of the deceased.

Finally, the coffin is brought to the cremation site. The family collects the ashes after a few days.

  • Burial

After the memorial service at the church, the pallbearers carry the body out of the church to the hearse for another procession towards the cemetery (the burial site).

The burial site could be near the church, in that case, no need for a hearse, but mostly the natural burial ground is far away from the church.

The coffin is placed for some time at the site to let visitors pay their final condolences and view the messages and floral tributes sent to the lost loved one.

Then, the celebrant says the final few words before the coffin is lowered into the grave by the pallbearers. The final few moments may include a short prayer if it’s a religious funeral.

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The Reception or Wake

Many families choose to arrange a catered reception for the close family and friends to gather together and give One Last Tribute to the deceased. This ceremony can happen at the funeral home or in the house of the deceased, generally a few hours after the funeral. But the family can arrange it at a later date.

Cremation services in Westmont, PA, do not have to follow rules, but there are patterns and traditions that people often stick to.