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Should Our Loved One’s End-of-Life Service Be Public or Private?

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Public_Private_FuneralWhen it comes to planning final arrangements, many families opt to have a service to honor the life and legacy of the deceased.

If you’ve already decided that you would like to have a funeral, wake and/or memorial, the next step is to determine whether you want a public or private service.

A private service is limited to those invited by the family, whereas a public service is open to anyone—friends, colleagues, neighbors and more. Generally speaking, a private service will be noted in an obituary.

To help you decide which service is right for you and your family, continue reading below.

1. Determine your need for privacy during this time.  

Funerals and memorial services are important opportunities that allow bereaved individuals to gather in support of one another as they begin the journey of grief together. While we strongly encourage family members, friends and others to attend services to pay respects and show support, we also understand that privacy is sometimes preferred.

When planning final arrangements, always put your needs before others. While friends or distant relatives of the deceased may want to attend, it’s ultimately your decision whether to invite guests to the service.  

Restricting attendance at the service can save families worry and stress. The passing of a loved one can bring sensitive subjects to light, sometimes causing tiffs between close family members and friends. If you’d like to place a limit on who is and isn’t invited, consider a private service. Keep in mind that it’s best to prevent conflicts from unraveling at the service.

You may elect to have time set aside for a private viewing before allowing for a public viewing. Or, you may choose to plan a private service now and a public service later, once you’ve had time to say final goodbyes.

If you and your family need time to process your loss without the intrusion of others, a funeral home will be more than happy to accommodate your need for privacy.

2. Take into account your level of comfort.

When discussing final arrangements with a funeral director, families are given the choice to have the body present, which can affect your decision on a public or private service. Similarly, the family has the right to choose whether the casket is open or closed.

Some factors to consider include your level of comfort with the proceedings or the cause of death. If you plan to have an open casket at a public service, are you comfortable with others seeing the body? What religious or cultural customs are present? Are financial resources limited?

Whatever your reasoning for a public or private service, it’s also important to take into account any documented end-of-life wishes if any were made prior the passing.

>>> Related Resource: Unsure whether to attend a funeral or wake? Here are 5 ways to help you decide.

3. Review your loved one’s preplanning wishes.

If your loved one chose to preplan and/or prepay funeral arrangements, you’ll want to review his or her final wishes. Many times, documented final wishes can give you a better understanding of what he or she would have wanted, as well as peace of mind. 

A funeral director can help you design a meaningful and memorable tribute that reflects documented final wishes, while also adhering to your needs.

>>>Related Resource: Download the Seniors’ Guide to Funeral Arrangements to learn how preplanning can save you time, money and worry.

Plan a Meaningful End-Of-Life Celebration

The caring staff at Busch Funeral and Crematory Services offers the highest level of care, comfort and compassion to each family it serves. If a death has occurred in your family, please contact us. Our caring staff will help you create a personalized tribute as unique as the life lived.

Contact us for funeral planning.

Image credit: Unsplash


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