Chapter 2: If you are planning a service

Types of services

My husband and I had not practised in our church regularly, but he made it clear before he died that it was very important to him to have a traditional church funeral. And that is what I did.

Services are influenced by cultural and religious traditions, family preferences, and costs. Many funeral services in Canada are held between one and four days after the person’s death; however, sometimes it may happen later to accommodate people who need time to travel. Many services were also postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and took place later, when friends and families could gather.

Traditional funerals

Click the arrows below to see what a traditional funeral offered by a funeral home usually includes.

Funeral homes are almost always involved in making these arrangements, but families can make their own arrangements if they wish.

Funeral services

Funeral services often happen in a funeral home or a religious building, but they can be held anywhere the family chooses. After the funeral service, the person’s body may be transported to a public cemetery or mausoleum. In the case of cremation, some families may choose to bury the ashes, while others may keep them in an urn or scatter them on private property.

Other options

Some families choose to bury or cremate the person’s body soon after death, without a viewing or funeral service. They may choose to have a memorial service, sometimes called a “Celebration of Life,” and this can be held anywhere, such as a hall or home, or by a gravesite if the family wishes.

Helpful resources
For a listing of provincial funeral boards and associations, see the resources at the end of this module.