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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...

“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 Judy,

Thank you for all your hard work and great communication for the arrangement of mum’s funeral. Even though the restrictions limited certain things, everything ran so smoothly. We were able to celebrate mum’s life with a lovely service and great help from you and all at Alan Greenwood funeral services on the day.”

Yvonne and Peter Richardson

“Thank you for all your kind attention during the funeral of my husband John on the 24th May. The arrangements were so efficiently and sympathetically handled that it lifted a huge burden from my shoulders. I enclose a cheque in favour of the Alzheimer’s Society in memory of my beloved John.”

Catherine Waterman

“Would you please pass on our thanks to the young lady who conducted the burial of Joyce Ashby last week. She was so kind to Jean my very elderly cousin especially on the ride back in the Limo taking us through Richmond Park and chatting all the way. We then went on to have a family picnic in Jean’s garden in the sunshine a lovely way to remember Joyce and the perfect day for Jean. Very many thanks from all of us in North Wales.”

Sheila, Keith & Rhoada Ashby

“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

“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

“Just a wee note to say a huge thank you for your amazing support, care and friendship when helping us to arrange my dad’s funeral. Although it was such a difficult time for us as a family, you ensured that we were so well looked after & that everything went perfectly. Our tears often turned to laughter in your company & that’s because you helped us remember the good times.

Thank you for everything from the bottom of our hearts. We would also like to thank the whole team involved in helping before, during and after my dad’s funeral. You truly are amazing, showing such dignity, compassion, care and professionalism. Thank you.”

Karen, Anna & family

“I just wanted to drop you a line to say a massive thank you for everything you have done over the last two weeks. When I walked into Alan Greenwood’s on the 5th November I didn’t know where or how I was going to organise my lovely Mum’s funeral and the thought of it horrified me, you made a daunting job so much easier and were there to guide me all the way until the day of the funeral.”

I can’t thank you enough for your kind words, thoughts and help during this very difficult time. Losing someone as precious as mum is very hard but you helped so much. Thank you for everything you have done for mum, myself and my family.”

Sue, Mundy, Luke and Faye

To Lisa and all at Greenwood’s
Thank you for all the care and professionalism you have shown whilst caring for my Dad.
Thanks also for being so wonderful whilst looking after Diane and me, we are so grateful,
you took the pressure away from us during a very stressful time.

Sally and Diane

“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

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