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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...

“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

“Thank you for the care and support you gave to us all at the funeral of Annette Streetley, we did appreciate you kindness as we first stepped through the door at your Claygate branch and the days following. I know Tony, Rachel & Andrew were extremely grateful”

David & Betty Wakeford

“Dear Jo,

Thanks so much for all you did leading up to the funeral. None of us could have got through it without your support.

Many thanks for everything you did for us, for all your help and for making a very sad day so easy. Your support has been amazing.

A huge thank you. Your dedication made saying farewell to Mum all the more bearable.”

Sue, Vicki, Clare & Richard

Dear Cindy,

I just wanted to say thank you for yesterday and please thank all the gentlemen who helped us. Everything ran very smoothly and they were excellent.

I was also very happy with the service booklet and photographs.

Lyla

“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

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

“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

“Dear Donna,

Just a little something to say thank you very much for all of your kind support during a very difficult time.

You really went above and beyond to help us and it was truly appreciated.

Thank you for helping us organise such a personal and fitting service for Margaret and everything else that you did for us.”

Bill, Sandra, Vicki and Family

“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 Fran

I just wanted to drop you an email to thank you for all your care and support in the arrangements for my dad, John.

I know that my Mum, Valerie, was most grateful for your support and care, particularly last Friday which was a difficult day for her. Mum said to me that you went over and above in her eyes, making sure she was ok before you would let her leave.

Dad would have highly approved of the day yesterday, and that’s all we could have asked for. It really was the celebration of his life that he would have wanted.

Again, my sincerest thanks and gratitude to you all.”

Helena

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