Funeral homes in Greenbelt, MD can help you plan and choose to have both funeral service and a graveside service, or just a graveside service for your loved one. But since more people attend funeral services than attend graveside services, people may not know exactly what to expect at a graveside service.
A graveside service takes place at the plot where the deceased will be buried. This service is often religious in tone, but is much shorter than a funeral service or memorial service, because it is essentially a service to commit the deceased person’s remains to the ground.
A graveside service is almost always a much more intimate service than the funeral service, simply because fewer people attend graveside services. It can also be a much more emotional service than the funeral service as well.
While some families opt for private graveside services, many graveside services are public in the sense that anyone who would like to attend can attend.
Graveside services begin at the funeral home. After the funeral service, drivers who will be going to the graveside service get their vehicles in line for the funeral procession that makes its way from the funeral home to the cemetery.
With the hearse in the lead, the funeral procession will slowly take the deceased to its place of final rest. If the cemetery is located next to the funeral chapel, then mourners will simply follow the family out to the burial plot.
A graveside service can be held for either the burial of a casket or for the interment of cremated remains (whether in a columbarium niche, a mausoleum, or in a cemetery plot). A clergy member will usually offer a prayer for the deceased and a prayer for the family before the deceased is interred (some cemeteries wait until the family is gone before they lowered the casket into the burial plot, since this can be very difficult to watch).
At a graveside service, the family of the deceased always sits right in front of the casket. The funeral home will have chairs set up under a canopy, so that once the family is seated, other people can sit in the chairs behind them until they are all occupied. It’s good form to leave these chairs for extended family and close friends. The general rule of thumb in this situation is that the more distant your relationship to the family, the farther away you are from the casket and the burial plot.
Knowing what to say after a graveside service can be difficult. Sometimes the family is allowed to leave first, especially if there’s no reception planned, so you may not even have an opportunity to speak with them at the graveside service.
But if there’s a reception afterward, be sure to express your condolences to the family and then you can leave, unless everyone who attends the graveside service is invited to the reception and you decide you want to attend.
Be sure to leave in a way that honors the deceased. Do not arrive at the graveside service nor leave it with music blaring and bass thumping. If you listen to the radio on the way to the cemetery, be sure to turn it off before you get to the cemetery.
If you’d like to know more about graveside services at funeral homes in Greenbelt, MD, you can talk with our knowledgeable team at Donald V. Borgwardt Funeral Home, P.A. You can visit our funeral home at 4400 Powder Mill Rd., Beltsville, MD, 20705, or you can call us today at (301) 937-1707.