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Memorial service vs a funeral: What’s the difference?

Memorial service vs a funeral: What’s the difference?

Saying goodbye to a loved family member or friend can be both overwhelming and deeply meaningful. At Heritage Brothers Funeral Services, we understand the importance of honouring your loved one in a way that best respects their life and brings comfort to those left behind. 

Let’s take a look at the different options available for commemorating the lives of your loved ones. 

What is a funeral service? 

A funeral service is a ceremony that honours the life of a deceased loved one. It is generally held a few days after the person’s death and includes their burial or cremation. All funerals are different, with some incorporating religious or cultural traditions. At Heritage Brothers Funeral Services, our Gold Coast funerals and Tweed Heads funerals can be held at a church, at our funeral home or at another location that is significant to your family. 

At a funeral service, it’s common for your loved one’s body to be present with either an open or closed casket to allow people to say their final farewells. The funeral service may include eulogies, readings, and prayers – all depending on the preferences of the deceased. 

What is a wake? 

A wake is another way to pay your respects to the life of your loved one. A wake occurs after a funeral service. Wakes can be held at the home of your loved one or in a funeral home or other venue.  A wake doesn’t follow a structured program, it’s more informal with food and drinks and gives people a chance to remember the persona and pass on their wishes to the family. 

What is a memorial service? 

A memorial service is more informal and personalised than a funeral service and is often held in a place that was significant to your loved one. It’s a way to commemorate the life of your loved one that often includes eulogies and activities that were important to the deceased. While there may be photos or memorabilia, the body of your loved one won’t be present. Their ashes may be present after a cremation. 

What is a viewing? 

A viewing gives family and friends time to view the deceased and is normally held prior to the funeral or in the proceeding days to the service. 

The differences 

Funeral services, memorial services, wakes and viewings are all very unique and different. While funeral services provide a formal opportunity for mourning and religious observance, wakes offer a chance for informal gatherings and support. Memorial services focus on celebrating the life of the deceased in a more personalised and reflective setting and viewings give families the chance to view the deceased and say goodbye in a more personal way. 

Making the right choice for your loved one

The type of goodbye you plan for your loved one will depend on both your loved one and their family. It’s important to take your time to think about the type of service you’d like so that it best reflects the life and personality of your loved one while also providing comfort and closure to family and friends during their time of grief. 

To help you, Heritage Brothers Funeral Services offers personalised guidance and support every step of the way. Our experienced team understands the importance of honouring your loved one in a way that feels meaningful and authentic to you and your family. We are here to assist you in planning a service that celebrates their life and provides solace to those who mourn.

Types of services available at Heritage Brothers Funeral Services

Heritage Brothers Funeral Services offers cremation services at our own crematorium at Melaleuca Station Memorial Gardens at Chinderah, or a crematorium of your preference, including the Gold Coast-based facility at Nerang or facilities at Tweed Heads, or Duranbah in the Northern Rivers. Heritage Brothers Staff will assist in all preparation for cremation including cremation permits, death registration, transportation and a full explanation of the costs involved.

For burials, The Gold Coast, Tweed Heads and Northern Rivers areas have a range of cemeteries, including privately owned and council-operated options. Heritage Brothers regularly work with council cemeteries at Mudgeeraba, Southport, Coomera, Pimpama, Tweed Heads, Duranbah & Murwillumbah, as well as private facilities such as Allambe Gardens Memorial Park in Nerang. Heritage Brothers will always work with the facility of your preference.

Heritage Brothers staff will assist in booking the cemetery and service venue, arrange for certificates, celebrant, flowers, press notices, printing and design of service sheets and any music or media requirements.