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What Happens at a Burial Service?

After the funeral service, whether this is at a church, crematorium, or other venue, if you have opted for a burial for the deceased, you might be wondering what to expect. See our guide to what happens during the day of the funeral to find out more about what to expect before this takes place, or read on to understand the burial process.

What happens at a burial?

When the main service has ended, the priest or celebrant who conducted the service will usually guide those who attended outside, following the pallbearers and the coffin to the graveside. At the side of the grave, if there is space, there might be seats for the closest family members of the deceased; otherwise people will congregate while standing.

What is a committal service?

At the grave side, the priest or celebrant will usually say a few words, possibly including a prayer or biblical reading; this is known as a committal service. After the reading, family members might be invited to say a few words, and then traditionally these same people will scatter the first handfuls of soil on top of the coffin.

The lowering of the coffin

Next, the coffin will be lowered into the ground, and other attendees will be invited to place flowers or tributes at the graveside. Family and friends then pay their final respects, before leaving to make their way to the reception or wake if there is one.

What happens after a burial?

After the day of the funeral, most burial grounds stay open continuously – enabling visitors to see the grave of their loved one at any time. Some might be locked during the night, so you will need to find out the opening times from the groundskeeper or priest.

Can you be buried if you are not religious?

Yes, while traditionally graveyards are associated with churches, and at one time you had to be baptised to be buried, today this is not the case. Most cemeteries are non-denominational, meaning anyone can be buried there. As well as this, more and more people are opting for ‘green funerals’, at which the deceased is buried in a biodegradable coffin in a meadow or woodland. In this instance, the deceased will not usually have a headstone.

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What Happens at a Burial Service?

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A Few Kind Words...

“Dear David and Hannah,
Just a quick note to say thank you so much for all your help and support over the last month or so.
The funeral was just as it should have been.
Your staff were lovely and the day went without a hitch.”

Michele & Caroline

“I cannot believe that a month has passed since we first met, the day after Brian died. Within a short time of our encounter, I know that an occasion I had always dreaded would be transformed into a positive, memorable occasion – and so it was!

Your warm and practical attitude, as well as highly professional advice, immediately instils confidence. Every detail of the proceedings is meticulously explained and I felt completely relaxed. Thank you Jess for making everything work so well. You are a remarkable lady with a definite vocation and I wish you all the very best for the future. I felt I found a real, new friend, just when I needed it most.”

Irene

“Dear Beth,

Just a short note from all of us to say “Thank You” for all the effort that you applied to ensure that Sarah’s funeral passed so seamlessly.

If it can be described as a “Great Day” (which I know will sound odd) I mean it purely in terms of the balance between sadness and celebration was met – that also the weather was perfect, the co-ordination between service and committal was excellent, the flowers so beautiful and everyone played their part so well. It was largely down to you that it did work so well.

So a “Big Thank You”

Barry, Jemma, Matthew, Josie and William

“You make an extremely difficult time easier. Dad’s service was very fitting and I was so pleased to see him dressed in his uniform and hold his had one last time, Jess you did a lovely job. Thank you so so much.”

Clare

“We would like to thank you very much for looking after Mum and for all the arrangements you made for her funeral last Thursday. Your professionalism, help and ready advice together with your sensitivity at such a difficult time was much appreciated by us all. Our best regards.”

Nigel, Colin Ian & Coraine Ferguson

“We would like to thank you for a friendly and professional service and especially Adam who made a good job of the service, and a big thanks to Jane who was a great help and showed much kindness. We would recommend your company.”

Chris & Mike Whalen

“Thank you so much for the care, support, compassion and understanding you showed with helping Chris and us to plan his funeral. You made a very difficult time for us more bearable for which we are very grateful. Thank you also for enabling all Chris’s plans to come to fruition. His ‘send-off’ was exactly what he wanted. Malcolm did a brilliant job too. Thank you, Jane, With love and sincere, thank you.”

Kathy, Samantha, Rosie and all the Sayer Family

“How can we say thank you for all you did to make Robert (Bob’s) funeral so lovely? We felt you worked so hard ,with your company and the Church to make everything so nice. So once again thank you.”

Wendy Dennis & Brenda

“The family would like to thank you and the whole team at Greenwood’s for your warm and professional service. We were delighted with your attention to detail and the relaxed but respectful manner of the Attendant and Bearers on the day itself. Many of our friends commented on the ‘dignity with lightness of touch’ and said it was one of the best-organised funerals they had attended. It was certainly a very different experience from my father’s funeral twelve years ago, and we shall recommend you wholeheartedly to others.”

Carole Day and Family

“We just wanted to say a huge thank you for everything you did for us. You certainly made a very emotional and difficult time so much easier to bear. We are so grateful for the support you gave us and your gentle guidance along the way. Everything was perfect thanks to you and we would highly recommend you to all. With very best wishes.”

Family of Stanley Stearman

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