Understanding public and private funerals

Published: 21/3/2023

Planning a funeral: Public vs private service 

A public funeral is a service open to anyone who wants to attend and pay their respects. It's often held in a public space such as a funeral home, church, or community space. Public funerals are often decided upon when the deceased was well-known in the community.

Benefits of a public funeral

A public funeral allows anyone who knew the deceased to attend and pay their respects. This can be particularly comforting for family members and friends who want to feel supported during this difficult time. It can also be a nice way to honour the deceased's life and their accomplishments, especially if they were well-known and actively involved in the community.

Drawbacks of a public funeral

For some, it can be overwhelming to have a large number of people in attendance, especially if the deceased was a private person. It can also be emotionally draining to greet and interact with so many people during a time of grief.

Planning and Costs of a Public Funeral

A public funeral may require more planning and coordination to ensure that the venue can accommodate a large number of people. A public service may also be more expensive due to the cost of renting a venue, hiring staff and providing refreshments.

Private funeral

A private funeral is a service that is only open to a select group of people, typically family members and close friends. This type of funeral is often used when the family wants to keep the service intimate and personal. The service might be held in a private home, chapel, funeral home, or even a special place that holds special significance to the deceased.

Benefits of a private funeral

A private funeral allows for a more intimate and personal experience. Family members and close friends can share memories and stories without feeling nervous talking in front of a larger audience. This can be a more comfortable and healing experience for those who are grieving.

Drawbacks of a private funeral

However, there are potential drawbacks of a private funeral. If the deceased was well-known in the community, some people might feel hurt or left out if they aren't invited to the service.

Planning and costs of a private funeral

A private funeral may be more cost-effective and easier to plan, as it only involves a small group of people.  

Public Vs private funeral

The decision between a public or private funeral can also be influenced by cultural or religious beliefs. In some cultures, it is customary to have a public funeral that involves specific rituals and traditions. In other cultures, a private funeral may be more appropriate.

Both public and private funeral

It's worth noting that some families choose to have both a public and private funeral. This can be a way to honour the wishes of the deceased while also providing a more intimate experience for close family and friends. A public viewing or wake may be held to allow anyone who knew the deceased to pay their respects, followed by a private funeral for family members and close friends.

Making the decision

The decision between a public or private funeral is a personal one that should be based on your unique circumstances and needs. Take the time to consider all of your options and to communicate openly with your family members and loved ones about what feels right for you. 

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