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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...

“Thank you very much indeed for all your professionalism, support and guidance throughout the whole process involved in caring for my mother.

From the moment we met the staff at Holmwood Nursing Home until my collection of thank you notelets for my father to use I felt that everything was conducted in a most efficient and sensitive manner. I know that Clive spent a good deal of time with you and I was so pleased that we were able to have such a beautiful service very soon after the passing of our dear mother and wife. With thanks once again”

Jane Reg & Clive

“Thank you so much for the way you took care of Loui’s funeral for us. You really went the extra mile, we are really grateful for all your help with the arrangements with Louis and Mum.”

Sheila, Kenny & 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

“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

“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

“As a family we cannot thank you enough for all your care and support of us on the passing of our mum – Peggy Hart on October 19th and her funeral on October 31st. As we know from the past, you do a wonderful job and all the staff are so caring and compassionate. Carol you are a rock (dare I say Star!) as you guided us through so much and helped keep us on track.

The day went off so smoothly and well. Mum looked good and would have so enjoyed her last ride in the jag! Also she would have been pleased at Alan leading the way, as Dad – Bill thought so highly of him and always spoke of him in glowing terms when he was alive and said he was a great guy to work with.

Thank you, thank you, what more can I say. I just wish you had offices in Canada so when my time comes, I know I would be in such excellent caring hands.”

Maggie & Mike Raftery

“Lynn, Bruce and I thank you so much for the wonderful understanding and help you have given us over the past days.It has been a difficult time but made so much easier by your guidance. With your kindness, we feel we managed to say our goodbyes to ‘Roger’, ‘Dad’ and ‘Grandy’ – showing our love and thanks to him for looking after us so perfectly over the years.”

Pat Clark

“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

“I would like to say a big thank you for everything. I had nothing to worry about, it all went so smoothly from the day of his death to the end of the funeral and in the circumstances could not have been better. Thank you so much.

I don’t have a great deal of experience in these matters, but compared to the other funeral directors I had to deal with, Greenwoods are the tops and you personally were a pleasure to deal with, you hit absolutely the right note.”

Ann Bishop

“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

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